Few vegetarians would say the reason for their choice of diet was weight loss. Yet on average, vegetarians eat roughly 500 fewer calories a day than meat eaters. And much less fat.
Vegetarians can be grouped into types depending on what, if any, animal-derived foods they eat:
And finally, many people call themselves vegetarians while in fact they eat all foods except red meats.
Have you considered becoming a vegetarian? Giving up meat, or even reducing the amount you consume, is not only associated with weight loss, but also a lower incidence of numerous chronic diseases.
But be careful -- becoming a vegetarian doesn't automatically equate to weight loss or improved health. You still have to choose foods wisely. In fact, many foods marketed as vegetarian are heavily processed and high in fat, sugar and calories.
If you're thinking of switching to a vegetarian diet but aren't sure how to begin, make a list of meatless meals you already prepare such as pasta and stir-fry. Next, pick out dishes that could easily become meat-free with a few minor changes. Like making vegetarian tacos by substituting black beans for beef.
You may not choose to go completely vegetarian, but by replacing some of the meat you currently eat with a good variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, you can reap the rewards of a trimmer, healthier body.
Megan Porter, RD