Vegetarian Keto Diet - How to Follow, Benefits, Food List

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 19 December 2023| min read
Vegetarian Keto Diet - How to Follow, Benefits, Food List

Quick Summary

The vegetarian keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is similar to the standard keto diet. However, it excludes meat and fish, and instead relies on plant-based sources of protein and fat. This diet can be a healthy and effective way to lose weight and improve your health. However, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients, and to consult with a doctor before starting any new diet.

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, has become immensely popular recently. The vegetarian keto diet blends elements of both vegetarianism and the keto diet. 

Most vegetarians eat eggs and dairy but avoid meat and fish. This blog will look at the best vegetarian keto diet plan. Furthermore, we will provide a food list to help you succeed on your keto journey!

About Vegetarian Keto Diet

The Vegetarian Keto Diet is a dietary approach. It combines the principles of a vegetarian lifestyle with the low-carbohydrate, high-fat nature of the ketogenic diet. 

The ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams daily. This minimal carb intake triggers ketosis, a metabolic state where the body shifts from using glucose to burning fat for energy. While a standard keto diet emphasizes fat sources like meat, fish, and dairy, the vegetarian keto diet omits these. 

Instead, it relies on alternative healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocados, eggs, nuts, and seeds. This approach has been studied for potential benefits in weight management and blood sugar control. 

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Benefits of the Vegetarian Keto Diet

While low-carb diets might not suit everyone, they can bring significant health advantages for individuals. It includes people who suffer from obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and specific neurological conditions.  Below are the benefits of the vegetarian keto diet plan:

  1. Ethical and Environmental Considerations: By excluding meat and fish, the vegetarian keto diet adheres to ethical standards. This diet promotes animal welfare and can help minimise your carbon footprint.

  2. Reduced Saturated Fat Consumption: Traditional keto diets can be heavy in saturated fats from animal sources. The vegetarian keto diet typically relies on plant-based fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds. They are lower in saturated fats and can improve heart health.

  3. Fibre and Nutrient-Rich: Plant-based foods are often high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables, leafy greens, and other plant foods are rich in nutrients and support digestive health.

  4. Reduced Risk of Red Meat-Related Health Conditions: Individuals on a vegetarian keto diet may lower their risk of some health conditions connected with high red meat intake. This includes colorectal cancer and heart disease.

  5. Improved Gut Health: The high fibre content of plant-based foods in this diet can aid in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. It improves digestion, immunological function, and mental health.

  6. Lower Cholesterol Levels: The vegetarian keto diet may help lower LDL cholesterol levels. This isdue to a reduced intake of saturated fats and cholesterol from animal products.

Getting Started With a Vegetarian Keto Diet

A vegetarian keto diet can be a wise decision while maintaining a plant-based lifestyle. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Educate Yourself: Before getting started, it's critical to understand the fundamentals of the ketogenic diet. Understand concepts such as ketosis, macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), and how the diet affects your body. 

  2. See a Healthcare Professional: Consulting a doctor or trained dietitian is best before starting on any new diet. They can assist you in tailoring the diet to your unique needs and monitoring your progress.

  3. Determine Your Macronutrient Objectives: Calculate your daily macronutrient goals based on your specific characteristics, such as age, gender, and weight loss goals. 

  4. Choose Quality Ingredients: Look for whole, unprocessed foods that are high in quality. When feasible, choose organic and non-GMO options. Healthy fats, low-carb vegetables, and plant-based proteins are essential to a vegetarian keto diet.

  5. Plan Your Meals: Meal preparation is essential for success. Make a weekly meal plan that corresponds to your macro goals. This allows you to stay on schedule, avoid temptations, and ensure you're getting enough nutrition. Plan ahead of time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

  6. Portion Control: Although you are recommended to consume healthy fats, portion control is still necessary to avoid overeating. To maintain a calorie balance, pay attention to serving sizes.

Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan

A vegetarian keto diet plan involves carefully selecting low-carbohydrate foods while emphasising plant-based fats and proteins. Here's a sample one-week veg keto diet plan to get you started. Please remember that portion amounts and specific meals can vary to match specific dietary demands.

Day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snacks

Day 1

Paneer (cottage cheese) bhurji cooked in ghee with spices

Cauliflower rice pulao with mixed vegetables and paneer

Palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) cooked in cream and spices

A handful of almonds or walnuts as a mid-morning snack

Day 2

Coconut chia pudding with cardamom and saffron

Cabbage and capsicum stir-fry with a side of minty raita

Tofu tikka masala with a side of sautéed spinach

Sliced cucumber or radishes with mint chutney as an afternoon snack

Day 3

Spinach and fenugreek (methi) paratha made with almond flour

Cucumber and tomato salad with a yoghurt-based dressing

Eggplant (baingan) curry cooked in coconut milk and spices

A serving of full-fat yoghurt

Day 4

Moong dal chilla (lentil pancakes) with avocado salsa

Palak (spinach) and paneer soup

Vegetable jalfrezi with a side of cauliflower rice

A small bowl of mixed berries

Day 5

Coconut milk smoothie with spinach, flax seeds, and a pinch of cardamom

Masoor dal (red lentil) with broccoli and a dollop of ghee

Paneer tikka with mint chutney and a side of sautéed cabbage

A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds

Day 6

Cabbage and onion uttapam (savoury pancake) made with coconut flour

Mixed vegetable raita with cucumber, tomato, and spices

Mushroom and bell pepper stir-fry with Indian spices

A serving of homemade keto-friendly dessert

Day 7

Omelette with bell peppers, onions, and cheese

Keto-friendly salad with lettuce, radishes, and paneer, dressed with olive oil

Cauliflower rice biryani with paneer and aromatic Indian spices

A small portion of dark chocolate or a keto-friendly dessert

Vegetarian Keto Food List

Creating a vegetarian keto food list involves concentrating on vegetarian protein sources and vegetables that are low in carbs. Include the following food in your vegetarian keto diet:

Vegetables with Low Carbohydrates:

  1. Spinach: Multipurpose, nutrient-dense leafy green

  2. Kale: High in vitamins and fibre

  3. Cauliflower: Great for making keto-friendly rice, mashed potatoes, and other dishes

  4. Broccoli: Rich in fibre and low in carbohydrates

  5. Green Beans: This low-carb veggie can be utilised in various recipes

  6. Asparagus: A vegetable high in vitamins and minerals

Sources of Protein:

  1. Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese): A protein and fat-rich mainstay

  2. Tofu: Soy protein source

  3. Tempeh: Nutty-flavoured fermented soy food

  4. Lentils: Eat in moderation because lentils include carbohydrates, yet they are an excellent source of vegetarian protein

  5. Eggs: Source of protein and good fats

Healthy Fats:

  1. Ghee: A type of clarified butter

  2. Coconut Oil: High in healthful fats 

  3. Avocado Oil: A multipurpose oil with a mild taste

  4. Olive Oil: Excellent for salad dressings and sautéing

Seasonings and Spices:

  1. Turmeric: Provides colour as well as anti-inflammatory effects

  2. Cumin: Versatile spice that may be used to flavour various foods

  3. Coriander: A common ingredient in Indian curries

  4. Garam Masala: A spice blend 

  5. Fenugreek: Gives a distinct flavour

Dairy and Dairy Substitutes:

  1. Heavy Cream: Commonly used in creamy Indian recipes

  2. Full-Fat Yoghurt: Use unsweetened yoghurt occasionally

  3. Coconut Milk: Dairy-free alternative

Seeds and Nuts:

  1. Almonds: Flexible and healthy snack

  2. Walnuts: High in healthy fats

  3. Chia Seeds: These fibre-rich seeds can be used in puddings and smoothies

  4. Flaxseeds: A good source of fibre and nutritious fats

Low-Carb Flours:

  1. Almond Flour: Used in keto-friendly dishes such as almond roti

  2. Coconut Flour: Gives recipes a coconut flavour

Beverages:

  1. Water: Stay hydrated with good water intake

  2. Herbal Tea: Keto-friendly herbal teas are unsweetened

  3. Black Coffee: Contains no additional sugars or syrups

Challenges With Vegetarian Keto Diet

The vegetarian keto diet has various health benefits and coincides with specific dietary choices. However, it also has several drawbacks that people may face. Here are some of the most common challenges linked with a vegetarian keto diet plan:

  1. Limited Food Choices: Eliminating meat and fish from the keto diet can severely limit eating options, perhaps leading to dietary boredom. It can be difficult for people accustomed to a more diversified diet.

  2. Getting Enough Protein: Vegetarians may have more difficulty meeting their protein demands on a keto diet, especially if they don't consume dairy or eggs. Identifying suitable plant-based protein sources that do not exceed carbohydrate limitations can be difficult.

  3. Deficiencies in Nutrients: A poorly designed vegetarian keto diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This can include key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians must take additional care to gain these nutrients from non-animal sources or supplements.

  4. Digestive Issues: Some people may experience digestive discomfort, such as constipation when starting a low-carb diet. Getting enough fiber and staying hydrated can help alleviate this problem.

  5. Keto Flu: As with any ketogenic diet, certain individuals may have "keto flu" symptoms during the first adaption phase. As the body adjusts to using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, this might cause fatigue, headaches, and irritability

Takeaway

A vegetarian keto diet can efficiently meet your health and weight loss goals while maintaining a plant-based lifestyle. Remember to listen to your body and change your diet to ensure you get enough nutrients.

Before starting any new diet, always contact a doctor, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns. Get in touch with HexaHealth if you need any more information. HexaHealth will help you through your keto journey by making recommendations tailored to your specific needs.  So, why wait? Book today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

This is how you can begin a vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Research and educate yourself

  2. Consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian

  3. Determine your daily macronutrient goals 

  4. Create a vegetarian keto diet plan

  5. Stock your kitchen with keto-friendly ingredients

  6. Plan meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks

Here's a summary of what's typically included in a vegetarian keto diet plan:

  1. Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)

  2. Low-carb fruits (berries in moderation)

  3. Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds)

  4. Plant-based proteins (tofu, tempeh, seitan)

  5. Full-fat dairy or dairy alternatives (if desired)

  6. Eggs

  7. Low-carb condiments and spices

  8. Low-carb flours (almond flour, coconut flour)

Here are specific guidelines for an Indian vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Include spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini.

  2. Rely on paneer, tofu, tempeh, and eggs.

  3. Use ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados.

  4. Season dishes with turmeric, cumin, and coriander.

  5. Snack on almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

  6. Choose full-fat dairy or dairy alternatives like almond milk.

Here are the benefits of a vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Weight loss

  2. Improved blood sugar control

  3. Enhanced fat burning

  4. Appetite control

  5. Improved heart health

  6. Mental clarity

  7. Reduced inflammation

Yes, here are the challenges to watch out for in a vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Limited food choices

  2. Meeting protein needs

  3. Nutrient deficiencies

  4. Digestive issues

  5. Social challenges

  6. Keto flu symptoms

  7. Increased food preparation time

  8. Potential for overeating fats

The vegetarian keto diet is differentiated by its high-fat, low-carb strategy emphasising plant-based foods. It contrasts with other diets, such as the Mediterranean, Paleo, vegan, and low-carb diets, which emphasise different carbs and food groups.

Yes, here are some recommended supplements for a vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Vitamin B12

  2. Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., algae-based supplements)

  3. Iron (especially for menstruating women)

  4. Calcium

  5. Magnesium

  6. Vitamin D (if deficient)

Yes, a vegetarian keto diet can be tailored to meet the demands of each individual. It can aid in addressing dietary choices and needs.

Yes, vegetarians can follow a keto diet. Vegetarians can customise the keto diet by focusing on plant-based sources of fat and protein.

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


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  2. Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan: Benefits, Risks, Food Lists, and More [Internet]. Healthline. 2019 [cited 2023 Aug 28].link
  3. Helms N. Ketogenic diet: What are the risks? [Internet]. www.uchicagomedicine.org. 2019. link
  4. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Khan Suheb MZ, et al. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2023 Jun 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.link
  5. Crosby L, Davis B, Joshi S, Jardine M, Paul J, Neola M, Barnard ND. Ketogenic Diets and Chronic Disease: Weighing the Benefits Against the Risks. Front Nutr. 2021 Jul 16;8:702802. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.702802. PMID: 34336911; PMCID: PMC8322232.link
  6. Shah UA, Iyengar NM. Plant-Based and Ketogenic Diets As Diverging Paths to Address Cancer: A Review. JAMA Oncol. 2022 Aug 1;8(8):1201-1208. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.1769. PMID: 35797039; PMCID: PMC10184023.link
  7. Gupta L, Khandelwal D, Kalra S, Gupta P, Dutta D, Aggarwal S. Ketogenic diet in endocrine disorders: Current perspectives. J Postgrad Med. 2017 Oct-Dec;63(4):242-251. doi: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_16_17. PMID: 29022562; PMCID: PMC5664869.link
  8. Dowis K, Banga S. The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2021 May 13;13(5):1654. doi: 10.3390/nu13051654. PMID: 34068325; PMCID: PMC8153354.link
  9. Ludwig DS. The Ketogenic Diet: Evidence for Optimism but High-Quality Research Needed. J Nutr. 2020 Jun 1;150(6):1354-1359. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz308. PMID: 31825066; PMCID: PMC7269727.link
  10. Bracci EL, Milte R, Keogh JB, Murphy KJ. Developing and implementing a new methodology to test the affordability of currently popular weight loss diet meal plans and healthy eating principles. BMC Public Health. 2022 Jan 6;22(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-12447-4. PMID: 34991538; PMCID: PMC8734134.link
  11. Garneata L, Stancu A, Dragomir D, Stefan G, Mircescu G. Ketoanalogue-Supplemented Vegetarian Very Low-Protein Diet and CKD Progression. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016 Jul;27(7):2164-76. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2015040369. Epub 2016 Jan 28. PMID: 26823552; PMCID: PMC4926970.link

Updated on : 19 December 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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