Vegetarians Can Do Low-Carb Diets TOO

A Skinny-Rules reader asked a good question about what to do as a vegetarian!  Thank you for this question!

The Skinny-Rules follows mostly a Paleo diet, but it is basically a high-protein, low carb diet.  So, this can be done as a vegetarian.


Being a vegetarian is a sticky issue with weight loss.   You have to eat veggies that are lower on the carb scale. Here is a site that shows vegetables from lowest to high in the carbs.

Also, remember that starches that grow underground have a lot of sugar/starch. And stick with vegetables highest in protein, like broccoli and spinach.

Watch soy. It is genetically modified. ALL of it. You can have beans, but watch the carb content.


  • A good protein for vegetarian is eggs.  6g of protein per egg and less than 1g of carbs per egg.
  • Another good source is Greek Yogurt at about 18g of protein per 6 oz, lower in carbs.  Also, UNSWEETENED almond milk is low in carbs (less than 1g of carbs per cup, but only 1g of protein…but still lower in carbs than milk.
  • Cheese is a good source of protein (low-fat).  A skinny cheese stick is about 6 grams of protein, and only 1g of carb.
  • Nuts are high in carbs, but also high in protein.  Just count out what you are eating.  For example, a cup of almonds is 20g of carbs, but it is also 20g of protein.  You have to read labels.
  •  Look at almond butter, etc– as well.  2 tablespoons is 6g of carbs and 7g of protein.
  • Low-carb protein shakes and bars, as I have blogged about many times.   Trader Joes and other health food stores carry protein powder to put into shakes.
  • Trader Joes has a low carb, high protein shake that I recommend.  Vanilla or Chocolate with a whopping 35g of protein and only 4g of carbs.  This is a GREAT way to get in your needed protein.


Everyone is different in their protein needs.  For someone my size, I need about 43-97g of protein per day.  You can calculate your own needs with an online calculator.

So, learn about what foods are high in proteins and make sure you get them daily.  I would think that if you had Egg Beaters or egg whites mixed in with regular eggs (Egg Beaters 3 tbsp is 5g of protein, less than 1g of carbs)….you could make a nice spinach and low-fat cheese omelette and get a lot of protein in that.  In a small omelette, you can get about 13 grams of protein and only a few carbs.

Remember:  The meat-eater has to eat 6 times a day, every 3-4 hours to keep the metabolism going.  The vegetarian might have to do it even more often to keep up with the need of protein to keep the metabolism going.

Veggie Patties Good For A Diet?

A friend of mine was eating at a restaurant that I go to with my husband, and she commented that she ate a veggie patty in a lettuce bowl, instead of a burger bun.  She wants to lose weight and felt she was being really healthy.  Well, perhaps a veggie burger  is healthier regarding fat issues with meat and keeping your arteries clean.  However, this is not always the case.

The healthy reasons to choose a veggie burger:

One of the best reasons for choosing a veggie burger is to cut saturated fat. Depending on its size, a regular hamburger’s 4-7  grams of saturated fat are a significant part of the recommended daily limit of 15 to 25 grams, which varies from person to person. Most veggie burgers contain from 0 to 1 gram of saturated fat.  However, a burger made of extra lean ground beef (90% lean) reduces saturated fat, but only to 3-5 grams. Chicken, turkey and salmon burgers are better options. At 2-3 grams, their saturated fat can be almost as low as a veggie burger.

(So, you can eat meat and still be healthy, if you go for low-fat options!)

The size of a veggie burger affects its nutrition content, and its size is another reason why it is a healthy choice.

If you choose veggie burgers for the benefits of soy, check that you’re getting what you want. Veggie burgers with soy contain soy protein that can help reduce blood cholesterol, but not all the protein is from soy.

Some people choose veggie burgers over traditional hamburgers to boost their dietary fiber intake. Others want to cut back on red meat, since too much of that may increase the risk of colon cancer.

Others simply like the convenience of being able to cook a frozen veggie burger in one to two minutes. Others fear E. coli bacteria in meat, although the risk is minimal when the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Try not to choose a veggie burger with over 300 mg of sodium per serving, if you eat a lot of processed foods. If you limit your meat consumption, look for veggie burgers with more iron than others (aim for at least 10 percent of the Daily Value) and fortified with vitamin B-12.

Sometimes people think a portobello mushroom can replace a burger nutritionally. If you eat plenty of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetarian protein, a mushroom “burger” is fine. If you don’t, accompany your mushroom burger with a soup or salad containing beans or low-fat cheese. A veggie burger made with soy, nuts, or other proteins is a nutritional replacement for meat because it provides protein, iron and other nutrients that a mushroom lacks.




Now, as far as keeping the carb count down in your diet, you need to know this!  Veggie burgers are high in carbs.  So, they might be good in many ways, but they are not so kind to the waistline.  The friend I ran into, who had the veggie burger in the salad bowl–she had about 48g of carbs just in the veggie patty.  And with dressing and other things in her salad, she probably had at least 15g of carbs more.  So, she had her allotment of her 50-100g of carbs in her food just at dinner.  I would say for sure that she didn’t lose weight that day and that she might have put some weight on, depending on what she ate the rest of the day.  And here she thought she was eating light.  I had the lean meat burger patty, which had 0 carbs.  So my salad was about 20g of carbs and hers was more like 65g of carbs.

So, if you want to lose weight, unless you look at labels, look online and check for carbs and are VERY CAREFUL, the vegetarian option might not help with weight loss.  Sorry, but that is just the way it is.  You have to make SMART choices!  If I was a vegetarian,  personally, would have chosen the salad bowl and added egg to it as my “protein”.  Less than 1g of carb per egg and 6g of protein per egg.  Sometimes I have an egg or two in my salad anyway.  They are tasty.


Can Vegans and Vegetarians Stay Skinny?

It is easy to do a low-carb diet if you eat meat, but not so much if you are a vegetarian, and especially a vegan (no milk or eggs)–especially if you want to stay skinny.

So, if you want to be a non-meat eater, there are things you can eat that are high in protein and you NEED protein to maintain energy and keep your metabolism balanced–and still stay skinny.

You can eat certain berries, vegetables leafs that contain protein.  It  is your job to research online about how much protein you are getting.  I meet so many non-meat eaters who just eat whatever and never consider what they are eating and if it is enough to satisfy their body’s requirements.  You have to do some extra work if you decide to eat no dairy, eggs or meat.


Keep in mind that you can eat beans and nuts too, but they are higher in carbs, so be careful and keep a check on how many carbs you are getting in a day.  You can’t just eat Beans and Nuts and lose weight.  You will have to eat a lot of grasses, lettuce, kale, etc.  And avocado is great, but high in carbs, so monitor yourself.

Spinach, for example, varies on the variety and if it is fresh or canned.  Some can be 1g of protein per cup and some can be 7g of protein.  Being a vegetarian requires homework!

Pasta has little protein, so don’t think you can be a vegan and eat pasta all day and stay thin.  It ain’t gonna happen!  You have to eat a lot of low carb vegetables and you can have fruit, but not a lot!  And watch Jamba Juice type smoothies.  LOADED in carbs.  Fruit, sherbet, milk–carbs!  You want fruit, eat one!  It is better for you, lighter in carbs and takes longer and lets you get satiated so you don’t eat a lot.  Have you ever eaten an apple and thought, “I want another!”  No!  But, you could drink 6 apples in a smoothie, no problem!!

So, be careful non-meat eaters!