Food Ideas

Can You Be Vegetarian & Low Carb?

The Answer is Yes!

What does it mean to be eating Low Carb Healthy Fat when you are a vegetarian? The short answer is, LCHF is perfect for vegetarians. In fact, our clinic ‘Nutrition for Life Healthcare’ has a Dietitian who specialises in working with clients on a weekly basis that follow a Low Carb Vegetarian approach.

There is really no fixed definition of exactly what ‘Low Carb’ is and there is a lot of different ratios out there. However here are some basic general guidelines:

How many carbs should you eat?

  • 100-150 grams per day: For those who may exercise a lot
  • 50-100 grams per day: For those who do not really exercise
  • 20-50 grams per day: The lowest range possible – Suitable for Ketosis

It is feasible for Vegetarians to go into the lowest range above, but such a diet may be impractical for vegans. The 100-150 gram range would easier achieved by vegans. It’s best to track your dietary intake with the help from an app for a few weeks to fine-tune your carbohydrate intake based on your own goals and preferences. This will also help make sure you are eating enough protein and fat as well as other micronutrients.

“We recommend Easy Diet Diary for your food tracking app. We use this because it allows you to send your food diary straight to us where we can use our Food Works software to analyse the data for making the best adjustments to your diet. It’s Australian and FREE.” 

You can download the app for free on our Website here.

“Foods to focus on as a vegetarian”

Eggs: Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients.
Vegetables: Most vegetables are low in carbs. Above ground veggies are usually the lowest as a general rule.
Fruits: Berry fruits are the lowest in carbs but other fruits may be acceptable depending on level of carb restriction. Fatty fruits like avocados and olives are also great options.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are low in carbs, but high in protein and fat.
Legumes: Beans, chick peas and others will provide protein but may not be suitable on stricter low carb diets.
Dairy foods: Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cream.
Dairy alternatives: Coconut milk/cream/yogurt or almond milk.
Soy: Foods like tofu and tempeh are acceptable as a source of protein.
Chia seeds: Super low carb seed full of fibre.
Dark chocolate: If you choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70-85%+), it will provide healthy fats with minimal sugar.
Cook with Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and coconut oil. Butter, Ghee, Lard Tallow.

“How to be a healthy vegetarian”

  • Have regular monitoring of nutritional blood markers especially Vitamin D, iron, b12, and zinc. Wait for blood results before rushing into supplementation. When eating a variety of food, all the necessary nutrients can be obtained, in its most pure form and in the best combinations, from diet alone. Unless vegan (then b12 supplement is a must).
  • Eat as much real food as possible — limit your consumption of fake meats and overly processed soy products
  • Take an omega 3 DHA+EPA supplement.
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables like kale to get enough Vitamin K2.
  • Maximise your iron absorption eating many vitamin c rich foods.
  • Keep your thyroid in good shape by eating iodine-rich food like seaweed and increasing selenium intake.

If ever in doubt, we always recommend that you speak with a Dietitian about meeting your individual nutritional requirements.

Looking for Low Carb Vegetarian food and recipe inspiration?

Check out our 21-Day Vegetarian Meal Plan eBook.

low carb lchf diet 21-day

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