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The Best Vegan Foods For Weight Loss – Our Healthy & Vegan Diet Guide 2024

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Vegetarianism has gained massive popularity over the years. This diet is linked with a lower risk of chronic disease and may assist with weight loss. However, losing weight on a vegetarian diet can be challenging- especially if you’re on too many refined carbs or junk foods. This article talks about the best vegetarian food for weight loss.

The Best Vegan Foods For Weight Loss

  • Kidney Beans
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Almond Butter
  • Leafy Greens
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Brown Rice

What Non Vegan Foods Look Vegan?

Certain foods may appear vegan at a glance, but they can actually contain hidden animal ingredients. Take, for instance, store-bought veggie crisps that may seem plant-based but often include dairy-based toppings. Likewise, fruit-flavored gummy candies seem harmless. Many of them contain gelatin made from animal collagen. This serves as a reminder to always read labels and check ingredient lists carefully to make sure you’re making a genuinely vegan choice while shopping for food.

What Should I Be Aware Of In General When Following A Vegan Diet?

There are several important things to be aware of when following a vegan diet. Firstly, it is important to ensure a balanced intake of nutrients such as protein, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium, as these may be less abundant in a plant-based diet. Second, familiarize yourself with vegan sources of these nutrients, such as beans, nuts, fortified cereals, and leafy greens.

It’s also crucial to remember that processed vegan foods might not provide nutritional value. It’s best to focus on including unprocessed foods in your vegan diet. Remember, staying hydrated and seeking guidance from a healthcare professional will help ensure your vegan journey is nourishing and satisfying.

The Best Foods To Eat On A Vegan Diet For Weight Loss

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a fantastic choice for those on a vegan weight loss journey due to their high protein and fiber content. They are an excellent meat substitute in your favorite vegan recipes, offering satisfying texture and versatility. The fiber in kidney beans helps keep you full, making weight loss on a vegan diet easier.

Pair them with rice to create a protein-rich meal that supports muscle maintenance and aids in reducing body fat. Kidney beans are also affordable and can be easily found at supermarkets. When properly seasoned, they offer an alternative to animal-based products like ground beef or chicken, satisfying cravings in a delightful manner.

Chia Seeds

When it comes to superfoods, chia seeds are at the top of the list. They are rich in healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, packed with B vitamins, offer nearly ten grams of fiber, contain a substantial amount of antioxidants, and boast an impressive five grams of protein per serving. Remarkably, these tiny seeds are only slightly larger than poppy seeds! Chia seeds are also remarkably versatile when incorporated into a vegan diet.

Chia seeds, when in their form, can be sprinkled over oatmeal or cooked grains to add a delightful touch to green salads. If you grind them up, they make an addition to smoothies, providing a nutritional boost akin to wheat germ. When soaked in water or plant-based milk, chia seeds become soft, resulting in delicious vegan puddings that can be flavored for a healthy dessert choice, much like rice or tapioca pudding.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to vegan-friendly foods. They are high in fibre and packed with essential vitamins, including A, B6 and C. Their low glycaemic index makes them a healthier alternative to regular potatoes.

When a food has a glycemic index, it is broken down and absorbed more slowly by the body. This slower digestion allows for the absorption of the nutrients it contains and helps prevent sudden increases in blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes are also quite versatile. It can be used as a substitute for white or yellow potatoes in various delicious recipes.

For example, mashed sweet potatoes are a satisfying substitute for traditional mashed potatoes, while baked sweet potatoes, drizzled with a touch of healthy fats like olive or coconut oil, are a delicious way to incorporate essential nutrients into a vegan diet. Sweet potatoes are lower in calories than their regular potato counterparts, making them a valuable ally in your ongoing weight loss journey.

Almond Butter

Almonds are among the types of nuts found on trees. However, when they are transformed into creamy almond butter, their desirability increases even more. Almond butter is a source of monounsaturated fats that contribute to heart health. Furthermore, almonds contain protein, calcium, vitamin E, and magnesium. As a spread, almond butter pairs perfectly with juicy fruits like apples and strawberries.

Almond butter can be seamlessly added to smoothies for an extra dose of creaminess and flavor or mixed into oatmeal with a touch of cinnamon for a delicious breakfast treat. It’s important to be careful, though, as almond butter is relatively high in fat, and the calories can add up quickly. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick to the recommended serving size on the label.

Leafy Greens

Garden-fresh leafy greens are a treasure trove of nutrients and serve as a fantastic, healthy way to increase your fiber intake. A fiber-rich diet can help you feel fuller while reducing calorie intake. Leafy greens offer a wide variety of choices, but it’s a good idea to eat darker varieties more often. Dark leafy greens are packed with essential phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein, contributing to overall well-being.

Spinach and kale are options for obtaining folate, iron and calcium, all of which are important for promoting fat-burning and aiding in weight loss. Additionally, leafy greens have a calorie content, making them an ideal choice for vegans. You can enjoy them in salads, wraps, and smoothies. Incorporate them into various cooked dishes.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have gained attention and recognition for their robust nutritional profile, including protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin E. These seeds are derived from the cannabis plant but do not produce the mind-altering effects associated with the plant’s leaves. Hemp seeds are best known for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

Because hemp seeds are similar in size and composition to chia or sesame seeds, they can be incorporated into your diet. For example, you can use them when baking vegan goodies to enhance flavor and provide a crunch. Another option is to sprinkle them over fruit and coconut yogurt parfaits for added texture. Additionally, they work wonders when blended into smoothies, providing a nutritional boost to your fresh fruits and vegetables. This can help support your weight loss journey!

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a nutritional gem for healthy grains for your vegan diet. Although it contains slightly more calories than white rice, its added protein and complex carbohydrates make it valuable to your vegan dietary arsenal. Brown rice also plays an essential role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, helping to control appetite and curb cravings between meals.

Including rice in your vegan weight loss plan is an essential element. It perfectly complements different kinds of beans, allowing you to create a wide range of flavorful dishes that represent various cultures. Whether you’re going for Mexican, Greek, or Turkish-inspired flavors, the choice of vegetables and spices will determine the outcome.

No matter how you prepare your brown rice and beans, combining these two foods provides a complete spectrum of amino acids. Nutritionists recognise this combination as a complete protein source because it contains all the essential amino acids needed to build and maintain your body’s proteins.

Can Vegan Foods Help You Lose Weight?

Following a vegan diet properly can undoubtedly enhance the nutritional value of your eating habits. However, you might be wondering how vegans can effectively shed pounds over time. Well, the key lies in the fact that plant-based foods naturally contain calories compared to animal-based ones. This makes it easier for vegans to achieve a calorie deficit while also increasing their consumption of fiber, vitamins, and minerals—all of which are crucial for weight loss.

It’s worth noting that the ever-expanding range of vegan options has introduced many processed vegan foods to the market, and not all of them prioritize health and wellness. Therefore, the most effective strategy for losing weight on a vegan diet is to follow a regimen of fresh and minimally processed whole foods.

What Supplements Are Appropriate For A Vegan Diet?

Including supplements in a vegan diet can be beneficial to ensure you meet all your requirements. Vitamin B12 is crucial for vegans since it is primarily found in animal products. Additionally, considering supplements like vitamin D if you have limited exposure to sunlight and omega-3 fatty acids obtained from algae-based sources can be helpful.

Iron and calcium supplements may also be necessary for some people, depending on their dietary intake and needs. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the specific supplements appropriate for your particular dietary needs.

Vegan Meals For Weight Loss

If you’re interested in incorporating rich vegan foods into your diet to aid in weight loss, here’s a simple one-day vegan meal plan to help you begin. These recipes allow for the inclusion of vegetables, spices and healthy toppings according to your preferences, which may slightly affect the provided nutritional values.


Oatmeal With Almond Butter And Hemp Seeds

Stir a tablespoon of almond butter into ½ cup cooked oatmeal seasoned with a pinch of cinnamon and ginger. Sprinkle a teaspoon of hemp seeds over the top and stir. This combination of flavors and textures is a delicious, satisfying and mildly sweet way to start your day, providing nutritious, fiber-rich energy to keep you going. One serving provides

  • 420 calories
  • 11.5 grams of protein
  • 33 grams of carbohydrates


Rice And Bean Bowl

Combine ½ cups of cooked rice with ½ cups of cooked kidney beans. Add a sprinkle of garlic and onion powder. Mix well. For a burst of flavor and nutritional value, incorporate some chopped red pepper and green onion. To kick it, squeeze a little lime juice over the top. This wholesome and fiber-packed vegan lunch will make you feel like you’re treating yourself while still staying on track with your weight loss journey. A single serving will be sufficient.

  • 213 calories
  • 10 grams of protein
  • 72 grams of carbohydrates


Sweet Potato With Quinoa And Spinach Salad

Begin by baking a sweet potato of a specific size until it’s cooked through. Once done, top the potato with one cup of cooked quinoa and diced vegetables. Season it with your desired amount of garlic and onion powder. Prepare a salad using one cup of spinach mixed with various fresh vegetables from the garden as a side dish.

Sprinkle the salad with a teaspoon of chia seeds and drizzle with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. This harmonious blend of fiber, vitamins and minerals makes for a satisfying and delicious meal. It will also keep you feeling full while supporting your ongoing weight loss journey. One serving provides

  • 356 calories
  • 17 grams of protein
  • 87 grams of carbohydrates


Apples And Almond Butter

Spread a tablespoon of smooth almond butter onto slices of fresh crisp apple and gently dust them with a sprinkle of fragrant cinnamon. This delightful vegan indulgence offers a hint of the decadence found in desserts and provides ample protein and fiber to keep you feeling satiated between meals. Enjoying this treat can effortlessly meet your calorie and nutrient requirements for long-lasting weight loss success. Each serving is packed with goodness.

  • 193 calories
  • 3.4 grams of protein
  • 28 grams of carbohydrates

Healthy Vegetarian Foods For Weight Loss

Unlike the vegan diet, the vegetarian diet includes dairy products, providing a wider range of meal options for those trying to lose weight. Here are some foods to consider when following a vegetarian diet:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Dairy milk
  • Non-fat ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • Kefir

What Are The Undesirable Side Effects Of A Vegan Diet?

Although following a vegan diet can have health advantages, it is crucial to be mindful of potential adverse effects. One common issue is the possibility of facing deficiencies, specifically in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. These deficiencies can result in fatigue, anemia, and complications relating to bone health.

Some people may also experience initial digestive changes as they adjust to higher fiber intakes. In addition, drastic dietary changes can affect weight, so it’s important to maintain a balanced vegan diet to avoid unintended weight loss or gain. To mitigate these side effects, careful meal planning and supplementation as needed can help ensure a healthy and thriving vegan lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a vegan diet, and how can it help me achieve my weight loss goals? 

A vegan diet is an approach that solely consists of plant-based foods while excluding animal products. It aids in weight loss by emphasizing the consumption of rich foods, controlling calorie intake and fostering healthier eating practices.

Can I still enjoy delicious foods while following a vegan weight loss program?

Of course, you can! Many delicious vegan recipes and substitutes exist, from hearty vegetable soups to plant-based burgers and even vegan-friendly ice cream. It just depends on your culinary creativity!

Are there any vegan foods to avoid when trying to lose weight?

While it’s not necessary to eliminate any particular food, it’s a good idea to be mindful of how much highly processed vegan foods, sugary snacks, and excessive vegan oils you consume. The key is finding a balance in your diet.

Are there any specific vegan foods known to be effective for weight loss?

There are undoubtedly many! Foods such as leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, fruit and lean plant proteins such as tofu and tempeh are excellent choices for weight loss due to their high fiber and protein content.

Is it possible to gain weight on a vegan weight-loss diet?

Yes, it is possible if you consume excess calories, even from vegan sources. To prevent weight gain, prioritize portion control, choose nutrient-dense foods, and maintain a balanced diet.

Bottom Line

It’s important to maintain a calorie deficit when following a vegan diet to successfully lose weight. If you’re considering going vegan, make sure your meal plan includes protein and healthy fats. For example, incorporating coconut oil into your meals can be beneficial for managing weight.

While following a vegan diet can aid in weight loss, you can still gain weight if you don’t maintain a balance of nutrients or consume more calories than you burn. To make the most of your plant-based diet for weight loss, limit your intake of vegan foods to occasional treats and prioritize the nutritional benefits of consuming nutrient-dense foods.


  1. Tran, E., Dale, H.F., Jensen, C., and Lied, G.A. (2020). Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Weight Status: A Systematic Review. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, Read Article
  2. USDA ARS (2013). Dark Green Leafy Vegetables. Read Article
  3. Mariotti and Gardner (2019). Dietary Protein and Amino Acids in Vegetarian Diets—A Review. Nutrients, 11(11), p.2661. Read Article
  4. Bonnema, A.L., Altschwager, D., Thomas, W., and Slavin, J.L. (2015). The Effects of a Beef-Based Meal Compared to a Calorie Matched Bean-Based Meal on Appetite and Food Intake. Journal of Food Science, 80(9), pp.H2088–H2093. Read Article
  5. Rodriguez-Leyva, D. and Pierce, G.N. (2010). The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7(1), p.32. Read Article
Master of Science and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at University of California

Paul Piepenbrok is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 12 years of experience. He’s passionate about the health sciences and writes extensively about nutrition and chronic disease. He holds a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and has completed post-graduate work in the Nutrition Sciences. The author has experience working in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and public health departments. They’ve worked as a Health Facility Surveyor and a WIC Program Manager in Plano, Texas. Before they became a full-time freelance writer, they were helping people to achieve their health goals in a telehealth wellness clinic. They helped clients to lose weight, control their blood sugar, improve their liver function and enhance their overall health.

Health Coach
Brittany Hernandez has a particular interest in assessing supplements, health technologies, and applications. She is continually developing her skills as a health copywriter. With a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Communication and a background in linguistics, Brittany is well-placed to convert complex research into accessible, high-quality content. She is highly regarded in the health industry for her attention to detail and ability to identify high-quality health and wellness products.

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