When you are trying out a vegetarian diet plan, the key word is “plan”. You’ve already made the decision to take care of yourself, to lose weight and be healthy. And just like you’ve heard countless times, the most effective way to lose weight is to make a real, sustainable change in your lifestyle. That means changing the way you eat, and exercising more.
And to make sure you do both of those things, planning is required. It’s a little easier to budget some time on your schedule to go to the gym, or go for a walk. When it comes to eating a healthy vegetarian diet plan, the good news is you only need an hour a week to do it! When you take just one hour for yourself to plan, you can eat in a healthy way, and not drive yourself crazy in the process!
Here is an example of what can happen to your vegetarian diet if you don’t plan ahead. Say you’re running late after work and there’s nothing to eat at home. You go to a popular chain and order a veggie burrito, with black beans, rice, vegetables, cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and guacamole. That tasty, totally vegetarian package adds up to almost 1000 calories!
As you can see, if you are trying to lose weight, not all vegetarian food is created equal! And when you want to lose weight, eating this many calories just for one meal pretty much means you’ve busted your calorie limits for the day.
To avoid pitfalls like this with your vegetarian diet plan, the best thing you can do is to set aside an hour once a week when you can plan out your meals for that week. (I like to do this on the weekend.) During this important time:
1. Get your shopping list out so it’s ready to go!
2. Look in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets to see what needs to be used up this week, or what you haven’t had in a while.
3. Look for recipes or other inspiration, either in cookbooks or online (vegetarian food blogs are a great resource for recipes and ideas). Especially look for low carb vegetarian options, like meals that involve a lot of vegetables or whole grains, rather than a bunch of heavy pasta dishes.
4. Pick out some recipes you’d like to try: a rough guideline is 1-2 for breakfast (to give you some variety), 2-4 for lunch, 3-5 recipes for dinner (including a few that will leave leftovers for lunch), and perhaps a few healthy snacks. In addition to finding recipes that use up things you already have, also look for recipes that share some ingredients, so you’ll use up what you buy at the store.
5. Assign times during the week when you’ll prepare each recipe. For example, you may cook several meals on Sunday so you don’t have to cook from scratch every night.
Once you’ve spent this hour on creating your healthy vegetarian diet plan, you just need to go shopping to pick up the ingredients!
That’s it — one hour a week to a healthier, fitter you! And there’s even a bonus: you’ll also be saving money in the process, because you’ll be stretching your food and your food dollars further.
Jessica is a life coach who helps her clients achieve their amazing dreams. She recently lost 20 pounds by switching to a vegetarian diet plan and adding daily exercise to her routine. She is excited to share her success with others!