Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Foods for Weight Loss
By Hollis Templeton
I’m going to venture a guess that your resolution—or one of your resolutions—involves dropping a few pounds. If you’re like me, part of that resolution involves expanding your healthy recipe repertoire—stir fry gets old, fast—and eating more plant-based foods.
Conveniently, a vegetarian diet and successful weight loss go hand-in-hand. A roundup of 87 studies published in Nutrition Reviews shows that vegetarians and vegans tend to weigh 3 to 20% less than meat-eaters, and they experience lower rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension. The same study found that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet can help you lose 1 pound per week without serious exercise or calorie-counting. While we don’t recommend ditching the gym, these five meat-free recipes will help you cut calories and stay satisfied as you work toward your 2012 weight loss goal.
Green Tea and Blueberry Smoothie Not only does this liquid breakfast taste delicious, it’s also packed with fat-fighting ingredients. Gulping two to four cups of green tea each day can boost your metabolism and help you torch an extra 50 calories daily—that’s 5 pounds a year! Then there’s low-fat yogurt, which contains a hearty helping of calcium, which may promote weight loss. Finally, ground flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may help keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Spinach Omelet (Above) Research shows that egg eaters lose more weight than those who enjoy all-carb breakfast foods, like bagels. Nutrient-packed spinach delivers plenty of volume for very few calories—you’d have to eat 15 cups to top 100 calories.
Bean Salad Beans are one of the best sources of low-calorie fiber you can find, and this salad has six different varieties of ‘em! While it looks pretty on a picnic table, we have no problem enjoying this super-filing side year-round.
Tomato Soup This 80-calorie cup is waistline-friendly because it’s packed with lycopene-rich cooked tomatoes, which studies show can help blast belly fat.
Grilled Tofu You wouldn’t eat a chicken breast sans seasoning, so don’t expect your tofu to be tasty without giving it a little TLC. Enjoy this filling entree with a side of wild rice and steamed edamame for a meal that sets you back only 400 calories.
photo: Mitch Mandel