Eating low-carb as a vegetarian is hard enough, but sticking to a diet for vegans can seem downright impossible!
Most diets and guides will recommend that you switch out meats for other filling substitutes like grains, which are high in carbohydrates, and can cause weight gain.
So with meat and dairy products also off the table, what’s left for vegetarians and vegans to eat?
Read on to learn 9 ways to eat low-carb as a vegetarian or vegan.
What’s the Difference Between Being Vegetarian or Vegan?
Both vegetarian and vegan diets avoid eating meat, poultry and fish. That’s because both believe eating animals is wrong.
Where they differ is vegetarians are still willing to consume products that don’t cause the death of an animal. For example, they will drink milk or eat eggs. Vegans, on the other hand, believe any use of an animal for products is exploitative and wrong, so they don’t eat animal by-products either.
What is a Low-Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet is a way of eating that limits your carbohydrate intake. Instead, it focuses on increasing your intake of healthy fats and proteins.
Vegetarian and vegan low-carb diets are often used for weight loss, but they can also help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of certain health conditions.
Why is Eating Low-Carb Important for Vegetarians and Vegans?
For vegetarians and vegans, finding low-carb options can be a challenge, as many plant-based foods are high in carbohydrates. For example, grains and legumes are often suggested as good substitutes for meat based products, despite their high carb content.
This means to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight, it is essential they find low-carb alternatives to incorporate into their vegan or vegetarian diets.
9 Ways to Eat Low-Carb as a Vegetarian or Vegan
1. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds make for a great snack on the go and are a good source of healthy fats and protein. They're crunchy, satisfying and you can enjoy them on their own or sprinkle them on your favourite dishes. They are simply unbeatable for a low-carb vegan diet treat.
To make sure you're getting your two serves of fruit a day, enjoy berries as a low-carb luxury. Not only do they taste great, but they’re also loaded with antioxidants and fibre. They can make a fantastic smoothie if you want to have them throughout the day, or you can combine them with a protein shake before workout.
3. Cooking Oils
A lot of the time we don’t take much notice of our choice of cooking oil. The truth is, different oils can really change how a meal tastes, and whether it is healthy or not. For a low-carb oil option in your vegan or vegetarian diet, try using coconut, olive or avocado oil.
4. Non-Starchy Vegetables
Vegetarians should eat vegetables, right?
Some vegetables are deceptively high in carbs, especially corn, potatoes, carrots and pumpkins.
To be safe, stick to leafy greens, like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and kale. They are low in carbs, and high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Tofu and Tempeh
Soy-based tofu and tempeh are brilliant meat substitutes for vegetarians and vegans. They add protein and volume to a dish while remaining low-carb. They are also incredibly versatile to cook with, and can be repurposed to make all different kinds of meals, or different kinds of portion sizes.
6. Vegan Meat Alternatives
These go by all sorts of different names, from ‘mock meats’ to ‘faux meats’. Basically they are imitations of popular meat ingredients like mince, burgers and sausages. While you may need to experiment to find ones you like, they are mostly made of low-carb ingredients and will be perfect for your vegan or vegetarian diet.
7. Herbs and Spices
Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious food with a lot of flavour!
Herbs and spices can pack a lot of punch with a very small amount of carbs. With the vast range available, you won’t struggle too much to find some that you absolutely love!
8. Hot Drinks
There’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or curling up with a nice cup of tea after a long day. The best thing about these drinks is you can enjoy them with alternative milk, like almond or oat, and not ruin your low carb diet. Just remember to limit the sugar!
9. Dark Chocolate
Okay, bad news first…you’re always going to crave delicious desserts. That’s part of being human.
The good news? Dark chocolate (as long as it’s over 70% cocoa) is delicious and vegan!
Have You Considered Delicious Ready Made Meals?
If figuring out how to incorporate all these fantastic vegan and vegetarian diet substitutes still feels like a head scratcher, we’ve got the perfect solution.
At Activate Foods, our range of fresh, homemade ready meals cater to low-carb vegetarian and low-carb vegan diets. We also cater for other dietary conditions, like gluten-free. Simply visit our website to learn more about our fantastic range, and to make dieting easy and delicious!
To begin shopping, register at Activate Foods today.