If you're eating a plant-based diet to lose weight and finding that you're hungry all the time, sticking with this healthy way of life can feel like a challenge. After all, mo one likes to feel deprived. The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to go hungry, or sacrifice your weight loss goals, thanks to these tips for making WFPB meals satisfying.
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The amazing thing about eating WFPB foods is that even when you a LOT of them, you never really feel nauseous, groggy, or achey, like you probably felt after a big Standard American Diet meal. Whole plant-based foods just don't seem to sit as heavily in your stomach.
Yep, the food coma is a thing of the past — and so are the meat sweats. Heartburn? See ya later, too! Think of plant-based foods like top tier fuel for your car. They keep you energized, cleansed, and all systems (i.e. your organs) running smoothly! And because WFPB foods are naturally much lower in calories and fat than animal products and processed foods, it makes sense that they don't really bog you down, like say, a double bacon cheeseburger, might.
This is why so many folks turn to a plant-based diet for weight loss. Essentially, you can eat tons of food and still lose weight (not to mention you'll reap the many other health benefits of a plant-based diet). That said, when you're new to a WFPB eating, you might feel like you're hungry all the time, which isn't fun, nor is it conducive to weight loss because it can lead to binge eating!
So with that in mind...
If you’re anything like me, hunger means hanger!
One way to avoid this is by snacking. And yes, this applies even to those who are on a plant-based diet to lose weight.
I keep a bag of almonds in the car, and one in my bag at all times. Snacking on almonds doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to increase your calorie consumption for the day either. Portion out a snack-sized amount to keep on hand (a handful or about 1/4 cup).
Need other healthy snack ideas that can keep hunger at bay? Here are 15 of our favorite WFPB snacks.
Another way to fend off hunger on a WFPB diet is to make sure you’re eating meals with extra protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied for longer. These heartier meals tend to "stick to your ribs," so you won’t be thinking about dinner just after you’ve finished lunch.
1. Add Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are relatively tasteless and can be added to smoothies, salads, grain bowls, sauces, or sprinkled on practically anything. They will give you an extra splash of protein, and a bit more calorie density that can help you stay fuller, longer, which helps keep cravings at bay.
2. Add Nut Butter
While some folks try to stay away from nuts and nut butters when they're eating a plant-based diet for weight loss, you can enjoy it in moderation and still lose weight. And nut butters are a great way to "bulk" up a meal if you're struggling to stay full.
One of the best things about nut butter in particular is that it's so versatile. Peanut butter and almond butter can add flavor and protein to a smoothie, almond butter or cashew cream brings richness to your soup or pasta sauce, and tahini or cashew butter gives that oil-free dressing the creamy deliciousness you crave. And the extra protein, calories, and fiber make your plant-based meal nice and filling.
3. Switch to Whole Grains
Think you have to give carbs the boot just because you're on a plant-based weight loss diet? Not so fast! Simply choose whole grains over refined ones.
Why? Refined grains, like white rice and white flour, are stripped of much of their nutrients, including protein and fiber. Whole grains, however, have everything still in tact, which is why after eating a big ol' bowl of whole grain pasta, or a bran muffin, folks usually feel fuller and more satisfied than if they'd eaten its refined grain counterpart.
Try swapping out your white rice, white pasta, white bread, and refined and processed snacks with brown rice, whole grain or legume pasta, whole grain bread and whole grain and seed crackers and snack foods. You will notice a huge difference in satiety AND still meet your healthy weight loss goals.
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Navy Beans
- Rolled oats
- Garbanzo bean flour
- Chia seeds
- Nut butterFlaxseed
- Oat flour
- A plant-based diet for weight loss doesn't mean you have to go hungry! Snack often, and eat often (even if you're trying to lose weight!)
- Bulk up your WFPB meals with high protein and high fiber ingredients.
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.