July 24, 2013
High-Protein, Vegetarian-Style

The 20/20 Lifestyles meal plan follows a ‘High Satiety’ concept- meaning, you feel full, energized & balanced when following it.  It relies on a moderate-high protein intake, and a healthy amount of carbohydrates and fats through the day. Meeting your protein, calorie and other requirements can be tricky when you are not a meat-eater. But don’t worry, it is far from impossible- and here’s how to make it happen!

  • Follow the Plate Model

Carnivores and vegetarians alike can benefit from maintaining a healthy ratio of carbs, protein and fat at their meals and snacks. Following the “Plate Model” can help. The plate model is essentially 1/3 of your plate (say, lunch) filled with protein, 1/3 with carb and 1/3 with non-starchy veggies. Healthy fats are included but sparingly, due to their high calorie content. Learn more about the plate model here. For vegetarians, it is key to choose the right portion size for protein & carbs and meet a few guidelines for each (below.)

  • Include Protein

Vegetarian protein options are abundant, if you know where to look. If you choose to include eggs and dairy in your meal plan, keep in mind that these can be proteins, too. Ex: hardboiled eggs / egg whites, Greek or Icelandic yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese or whey protein powder are all great protein options. Non-dairy or egg options can include: high-protein tofu, Textured Vegetable Protein, soy burgers/crumbles/patties, vegetarian ‘chicken’ products or seitan.

  • Make your Protein Choices Count

Look for vegetarian protein options that have between 35-55 calories per 7 g protein, and that have a maximum 140 mg sodium per 7 g protein. A few of my favorite brands of veggie proteins include: Gardein, Lightlife, Bob’s Red Mill, Trader Joe’s, Morningstar Farms and Boca.

  • Include High-fiber and/or Protein Sides

Your carbohydrate accompaniments to every meal can boost your total fiber and protein intake, which can help with feeling full on your meal plan. Examples include: beans or lentils, whole-grains, starchy veggies with the skin (like sweet potatoes) and whole fruit. Just make sure you fill only 1/3 of your plate with these for optimum fullness.

  • Track Your Meals

The best way to make sure you are meeting your goals for great balance in the high-satiety vegetarian meal plan is to track. That way you can check that your totals look great (protein, carbs, fat, sodium, calories, fiber, etc.) day-to-day. It also lets you know what needs improvement. Notice your lunches are consistently low protein? What options could you add to make this more balanced? If the calorie goals are spot-on, what do you reduce when you add protein in to keep this on track? Register for our free tracker here.

Ex: 1 c brown rice, 1.5 c mixed veggies, 1 oz. tofu and 1 oz. low-fat cheese could become ½ cup brown rice, 1.5 c mixed veggies, 2 oz. high protein tofu and 2 oz. low-fat cheese for better balance.

  • Supplement, If Necessary

When adjusting your meal plan, it can be a good idea to consult a dietitian and your Primary Care Physician to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need. A general multivitamin can help during this time as well.


Remember, you can be vegetarian and see your weight loss & health goals be met with the 20/20 Lifestyles philosophies!

Written by Erika Brown

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