7 Day Vegetarian Meal Plan that Work Wonders for Your Health
In recent past years, a vegetarian diet has gained widespread popularity. Some research studies found that 18% of the global population are vegetarian and there are various factors (motivational factors) due to which people have turned towards a vegetarian diet by avoiding non-vegetarian products. Read more about the vegetarian meal plan, factors promoting it and the benefits of a veg diet in this post.
Factors Promoting Vegetarian Diet
Factors promoting vegetarian diet are
- Ethical factors relating to animal rights advocacy.
- Environmental benefits by avoiding meat and other similar products with the belief that livestock production increases greenhouse emission contributing to climate change and requires large amounts of water, energy and natural resources.
- Health benefits which help to reduce the risk of chronic disease, weight gain, and others.
- Religious factors that promote only a vegetarian diet.
- A vegetarian diet leads to a quality healthy diet. The concept of a vegetarian diet also referred to as vegetarianism is the practice of restraining oneself from the consumption of meat which includes red meat, poultry, seafood and flesh of any other animal. Also, the vegetarian diet includes abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.
Types of Vegetarian Diet
There are various types of vegetarian diets that are followed, each of which differs in their restrictions.
- Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian Diet: People following this type of diet eliminate meat, fish and poultry products but they allow dairy products and eggs in their diet.
- Lacto-Vegetarian Diet: People following this type of diet eliminate meat, fish, poultry, and eggs but allow dairy products in their diet.
- Ovo-Vegetarian Diet: People following this type of diet eliminate meat, fish, poultry and dairy products but allow eggs in their diet.
- Pescetarian Diet: People following this type of diet eliminate meat and poultry but allow fish and sometimes eggs and dairy products in their diet.
- Vegan Diet: People following this type of diet eliminate meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and all animal-derived products example, honey.
Health Benefits of Vegetarian Meal Plan
Vegetarian meal simply includes that vegetarian diet in which people don’t eat meat, fish or poultry. Also, depending on the type of vegetarian diet, there are variations involved in the inclusion and exclusion of eggs, dairy, and other animal products.
The vegetarian meal plan involves several health benefits which includes
1. Enhances Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight, then switching to a vegetarian diet is the best strategy you can apply. Data from the Adventist Health Study (AHS) have shown that BMI increases as the amount of animal foods in the diet increases, such that vegans had the lowest BMI, followed by veg, pesco-veg, semi-veg, and omni diets. Moreover, findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford) study, have shown that vegans gain significantly less weight as they age compared to omnivores (1).
2. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Research studies suggest that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of cancer( including breast cancer, rectum, and stomach cancer. But there are no current proofs that can prove this cause and effect relationship and hence more research is needed to understand the link of a vegetarian diet with a low risk of cancer (2).
3. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Vegetarianism promotes heart health by reducing the risk of various heart diseases. Vegetarian diet lowers the levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and specifically bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). These are the risk factors that lead to heart disease when their level is elevated in the human body.
Other research studies have shown that vegetarianism is associated with lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is the major risk factor for heart disease that can be eliminated through a vegetarian diet (3).
4. Stabilizes the Blood Sugar Level
Several studies have referred that vegetarianism helps to control blood sugar levels. Hence, the vegetarian diet keeps diabetes away from people. Through the research studies, it is being found that people switching from a non-vegetarian diet to a vegetarian diet lowers the risk of diabetes (4). Research studies have proved that vegetarians tend to have better diet quality then non-vegetarian eaters. Also, they are known to have a higher intake of essential nutrients like fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and magnesium.
Foods for a Vegetarian Meal Plan
- All cereals, buckwheat, oats, corn, fonio, maize, millet, quinoa, hemp seed, rice, sorghum, triticale, rye, wheat, and wheat-derived products such as flour, bread, baked products, cornflakes, dumplings, granola, muesli, pasta, etc (5).
- All vegetables whether fresh, canned, frozen, pureed, dried or in pickle form, derived products such as vegetable sauces like chili sauce and vegetable oil, etc.
- Legumes and beans (including soybeans and soy products such as miso, soy milk, soy yogurt, tempeh, tofu, etc.), chickpeas, lentils, peas, peanut, and peanut derived products like peanut butter
Fruits (whether fresh, canned, frozen, pureed, candied or dried) and derived products like jam, marmalade, etc.
- Tree nut and seeds and their derived products like nut butter.
- Edible fungi like mushrooms (whether fresh, dried, fresh, canned or pickled).
- Herbs, spices and wild greens such as dandelion, sorrel or nettle, etc.
- Beverages like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, wine, etc.
Foods Avoided in a Vegetarian Meal Plan
Although many variations are there depending upon the needs and preferences, the following are the foods which are generally avoided in a vegetarian diet:
- Meat (beef, veal, and pork) and meat-based ingredients (Gelatin, lard, carmine, isinglass, oleic acid, and suet).
- Poultry (chicken and turkey).
- Fish and shellfish.
- Animal-based products like dairy products(milk, yogurt, cheese), eggs, honey, beeswax, etc.
7 Day Vegetarian Meal Plan
We will provide you seven days vegetarian plan which you can follow or you can prepare the one on your own including all the above food items and also depending on the type of vegetarian diet you are following
Breakfast: Overnight baked eggs bruschetta
Lunch: Arborio Rice and White bean soup
Soup is the ultimate comfort food and also it is healthy, serve it with arborio rice which is low in fats and it is prepared quickly within 30 minutes
Snack: Fruit and cheese kabobs
This is the best snack for summer keeping you healthy, hydrated and at the same time providing all the nutrients
Dinner: Garden fresh grilled veggie Pizza
This garden pizza contains a lot of veggies and hence it turns out to be a great appetizer. Also, you can add veggies of your choice which will be healthy and tasty.
It is a dish made of poached eggs with onions, tomatoes, and cumin. A great start in the morning adding extra protein-rich food into your meal.
Lunch: Roasted sweet potato Salad with Honey-maple Vinaigrette
It’s a perfect combination of sweet potato with honey maple making it delicious fiber-rich food
Snack: Portobello Bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli
Caramelized onions with the broiling peppers and whipping up a homemade aioli with fresh herbs is the perfect light and full of flavors for snacks.
Dinner: Farmers Market enchiladas
This is an absolute tasty vegetarian enchiladas prepared using a lot of garden favorites.
Read More: Healthy Salad Recipes for Weight Loss
Breakfast: Powerhouse Protein Parfaits
Parfaits taste marvelous but they are loaded with sugar. Hence, you can try preparing it with yogurt, fruits, and nuts
Lunch: Mediterranean Bulgur Bowl
It cooks fast and it has a chewy texture. You can prepare it with quinoa instead of bulgur to make it light and in case if you are dieting quinoa makes a great choice
Snacks: Horseradish deviled eggs
These are tangy flavourful deviled eggs. The great combination of ground mustard, dill and horseradish is very appealing and tasty
Dinner: Tasty lentil tacos
If you are finding a healthy, tasty and low-fat dish then this is great to prepare. This dish can be prepared and eaten by people who have high levels of cholesterol.
Read More: Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss
Breakfast: German apple pancake
This breakfast has low carbs and it is high in dietary fiber. Brown sugar can be preferred if you are calorie conscious person. It would go great with the fruits of your choice.
Lunch: Roasted Sweet potato and chickpea pitas
If you love Mediterranean food, then this is great lunch prepared in pockets with sweet potatoes tucked inside
Snacks: Broccoli and Chive-stuffed Mini peppers
It is a great combination of crunch and cream in an appetizer. If you love chives then this is great and broccoli adds extra fiber content to your meal
Dinner: Pepper ricotta primavera
Great combination of herbs, peppers, and garlic topped on creamy ricotta cheese
Breakfast: Oatmeal waffles
This is healthful and good-tasting waffles especially made from oats keeping your tummy healthy. It can be combined with fruits and nuts of your choice
Lunch: Mozzarella Mushrooms with Garlic toast
Great choice especially for lunch and It is a little heavy but packed with nutrition. Hence, must try once a week.
Snacks: Roasted Beetroot and garlic hummus
Tasty roasted beetroot with garlic hummus is the best pink snack. It is packed with essential minerals like manganese, potassium, copper, and iron. It is a good recipe for weight loss and supports digestive health
Dinner: Vegetarian pad thai
Vegetarian pad Thai is a French tasting recipe simple and quick to prepare loaded with crisp vegetables and zesty flavor.
Read More: Best Pre Workout Foods
Breakfast: Portobello Mushrooms Florentine
Portobello mushroom is a nutritional powerhouse with low calories, fat, and sodium. This breakfast will provide a lot of antioxidants, B vitamins and nutrients like selenium, copper, and potassium.
Lunch: Quinoa stuffed squash boats
Since this recipe includes quinoa it is rich in protein and fibers, hence good for a healthy intestine and easy to digest
Snacks: Honey-granola bars
Granola bars with the crunchiness of raisins, sweetness of honey will provide 1-10 grams of protein and 1-7 grams of fiber in a single serving. Also, it is full of B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Dinner: Black bean tortilla pie
Tortilla pie prepared with black beans lacks cholesterol and it is good for heart health.
Breakfast: Black bean and white cheddar frittata
Lunch: Spinach quesadillas
Spinach is rich in iron and good for the body system. You can combine it with whole wheat quesadillas to low down the calories and prepare in a healthy way.
Snacks: Homemade guacamole
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip that can be combined with nachos or any other of your choice. It is rich in healthy fats and rich in nutrients making it a superfood
Dinner: Grilled bean burgers
Grilled bean burgers containing juicy veggie patties have a major flavor of cumin, garlic, and little chili powder. You can prepare the one with whole wheat turning it into healthy food.
Some Common Nutritious Vegetarian Meal Plan Recipes
1. Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
- Whole wheat fettuccine,
- one tablespoon vegetable oil,
- 4 cups of sliced mixed mushrooms,
- 4 cups of sliced Brussels sprouts,
- 1 tablespoon minced clove garlic,
- half cup of dry sherry,
- 2 cups of milk,
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour,
- salt to taste,
- half teaspoon freshly ground pepper and
- 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- Cook fettuccine in a pan with boiling water till it becomes tender (approximately 8 to 10 mins). Drain the excess water and keep it aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add mixed mushrooms, garlic, Brussels sprouts and saute till it gets semi-cooked. Add sherry, bring it to boil and cook till it gets evaporated.
- Mix milk with all-purpose flour and add it to a pan, let it boil and then add asiago cheese, pepper, and salt. Let the mixture thicken and add it to the pan in which veggies are cooked. Add the fettuccine to it and serve hot.
Calorie Content and Nutritional Facts
348 calories per serving
This nutritious food is the healthy version of creamy pasta primavera as it contains Brussels sprouts and mushrooms which cook quickly in a homemade cream sauce adding additional nutritional benefits.
This food is a good source of fiber, protein, Vitamin C, folate, and calcium.
2. No-cook Black Bean Salad
- half cup thinly sliced red onion,
- 1 avocado pitted and roughly chopped,
- 3-4 cilantro leaves,
- half tablespoon lime juice,
- 1 clove garlic(minced),
- 8 cups mixed salad greens,
- 1-pint grape tomatoes,
- 15 ounce canned black beans,
- 2 medium sweet corn grains and
- salt to taste
Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve cold.
Calorie Content and Nutritional Facts
322 calories per serving
This salad is simple, tangy and delicious prepared by combining canned black beans, leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and sliced red onion with creamy avocado-cilantro dressing.
Provides 10.6 g of protein, 45mg Vitamin C, 4mg iron, 79 mg magnesium
You can serve this salad with baked sweet potato topped with 1 tablespoon shredded Cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 tablespoon salsa (138 calories)
3. Mexican Cabbage Soup
- 2 cups of chopped onions,
- 1 cup chopped carrot,
- a cup of chopped celery,
- 1 cup chopped poblano,
- 4 large cloves of garlic,
- 8 cups sliced cabbage,
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste and minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce,
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin,
- half teaspoon ground coriander,
- 2 tablespoon lime juice,
- half cup chopped cilantro,
- 2 cans low-sodium pinto or black beans,
- extra-virgin olive oil and
- salt to taste
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add all the ingredients to it one after another.
- Let it get cooked completely then cool it and puree the mixture.
- Heat the puree in a pan, add water if required to adjust the consistency. Serve Hot.
Calorie Content and Nutritional Facts
167 calories per serving
This soup provides 8.7g fiber, 6.5g protein, 47mg vitamin C, 48 mcg folate, 115 mg calcium, 2mg iron, 15mg magnesium
Potential Drawbacks of a Vegetarian Meal Plan
- Although a well-rounded vegetarian diet is healthy and nutritious, it increases the personal risk for certain nutritional deficiencies.
- Fish, meat, and poultry provide a good amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin B12.
- Other animal products like dairy products and eggs are a rich source of calcium, Vitamin D and B Vitamins.
- Hence, finding alternate food products and including it in the diet is important otherwise it will lead to nutritional deficiency showing up symptoms like fatigue, weakness, anemia, bone loss and thyroid issue.
Hence, a well-balanced diet and including supplements will help to prevent the deficiencies.