What a Vegetarian-Friendly 1,800-Calorie Day Looks Like

Danielle Omar, RD
by Danielle Omar, RD
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Vegetarians enjoy a diet full of whole foods and fiber in the best-case scenario. But when you’re a vegetarian, it can be a challenge to create balanced meals that are satisfying and delicious. One way to increase the odds of getting in all the macronutrients you need is to meal plan.

Vegetarians may find it a little harder to eat on the fly because oftentimes the veg options on the menu aren’t the most creative or flavorful. If you’ve ever been forced to have a condiment sandwich for lunch, you know what I’m talking about. When eating out, look for menu options that include fiber-rich whole grains and vegetables alongside satiating protein sources like beans, eggs, nuts and seeds.

If you’re cooking all your meals at home, this sample day combines some of MyFitnessPal’s best recipes for a healthy 1,800-calorie day.






About the Author

Danielle Omar, RD
Danielle Omar, RD

Danielle is an integrative dietitian, culinary nutritionist, author and consultant, frequently lending her love of creating to high-profile food and nutrition media outlets. She’s a regularly featured blogger and founder of foodconfidence.comwhere she inspires men and women on their journey to become their healthiest self. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.


53 responses to “What a Vegetarian-Friendly 1,800-Calorie Day Looks Like”

  1. Avatar Lizi says:

    Vegetarians don’t eat Parmesan because it contains animal rennet.

  2. Avatar Heather Alberro says:

    The issue with this article is the erroneous notion it pedals that it’s ‘difficult to be vegetarian’ and the suggestion that it’s much more difficult for vegetarians to eat healthy and nutritious foods than omnivores. That’s just false. The recent meteoric rise in vegetarian and vegan interest has led to a range of options at restaurants, products at markets, recipes, etc. that make it very easy not only to obstain from meat but to enjoy an array of nutritious and exquisite veggie options. Being veggie and even vegan is far from difficult, and I think it’s damaging to suggest that it is. What’s more, with the increasing array of health, ethical, and environmental crises associated with meat/dairy production and consumption, it will become an increasing necessity to radically scale back animal agriculture.

    • Avatar Koala de Vil says:

      Thank you! My thoughts exactly ☺

    • Avatar Jamie Sylvain says:

      Don’t know where you live, but there are very little Vegetarian options here in Maine.

    • Avatar Chris Bergevine says:

      Your privilege is showing.

      • Avatar Heather Alberro says:

        Hah, thanks but actually, I learned this first and foremost from my family in Cuba who thrive on rice, black beans, salad, plantains, and various other vegan/veggie foods. What you’ve just said is precisely the issue, thinking that only the wealthy can eat veggie/vegan foods. Sure there are posh, fancy, and unaffordable vegan/veggie products, but the same can be said for meat. I’m a struggling student with very little disposable income. It is actually cheaper (on average, and in most cases) to eat veggie versus meat-based meals.

        • Avatar camelz says:

          Actually in Cuba, beef, poultry and pork are HUGE staples in the diet. This I know. Don’t fool anyone.

          As a struggling student, you shouldn’t lie. It’s been proven MANY times over that in most cases, dollar for dollar, having a meat based protein/fat in meals is more cost effective than vegetables alone. Calorie for calorie, meats and fish provide more sustenance than vegetables alone. it’s a fact. If you want to promote veg/vegan.. actually, just don’t. Most of the time it comes off as “privileged” rhetoric or SJW which people have already heard ad nauseam on the web. Choose the life style you want to lead and how you want to live, but preaching to others just makes you look bad.

          • Avatar Heather Alberro says:

            It’s hardly preaching. It’s not a moral crusade. It’s a fact that meat/dairy production are astronomically impactful on the environment through water and land usage, deforestation, climate change, etc. This has been well documented.

            I’m Cuban and I know that meat is popular, but my point is that it’s not necessary. Cubans also eat black beans, veggies, and a variety of nutritious and veggie friendly foods. It is not a fact that meat provides more sustenance than plant-based goods at all. That’s a myth. I’d encourage you to read some of the actual academic literature on this, there is plenty. Even the U.N has come out with urgent calls to cut back on meat & dairy not only for environmental but also for health reasons. If you want to eat meat for taste, cultural, Or religious reasons, that’s your business. But don’t pedal the grand lie that people need to consume meat and dairy in order to be healthy or to get the most value for money. The reality is quite the opposite. In most places around the world, meat is more expensive than plant-based protein sources. So when it comes to health, the environment, and financial well-being, veggie options are often the better choice. The notion that only the privileged can eat veggie is misguided. I live on 5,000 pounds per year and whether I’m at home in Miami, Cuba, or in England, veggie options and veggie products are often the most cost effective.

          • Avatar Jolene Wolfanger says:

            So very true, thank you Heather! You obviously read and do the grocery shopping. The grocery bill is so much cheaper on veggie/vegan diet. You can buy 3 full day meals of produce, tofu, and beans for the same cost of 4 ribeyes, which is 1 dinner, with some leftovers for breakfast. If Camelz, you are buying your meat for anything cheaper, I would be wary of where and what you are purchasing. I buy straight from the farm for most and whew, that bill is ridiculous! Heather seems quite intelligent and her words are fact, especially about the environmental aspects of agriculture and the climate change. If you don’t read on this, at least watch a documentary or two, rather than sitting behind your computer calling people names.

          • Avatar Heather Alberro says:


          • Avatar DG says:

            Thank you Heather! I hope you can disregard angry folks who are unable to share productive comments. I find your comments to be helpful and thoughtful. Keep up the good work.

          • Avatar Heather Alberro says:

            Thank YOU, DG 🙂

          • Avatar DG says:

            I just learned that you can block or turn-off people that are offensive on this blog! I’ve turned off “you-know-who” and find this space much more enjoyable now 🙂

          • Avatar Certified Sourcing says:

            “Dollar for dollar having meat based protein slash fat in meals is more cost effective then vegetables.” That is true but eating vegetarian or vegan is far cheaper then not. Vegans don’t eat only vegetables. Rice and legumes per calorie are the cheapest things you can buy. A five pound bag of rice for 3.50 is around $1.00 per 3000 calories.

      • Avatar Heather Alberro says:

        I must add, however, that you are right in the sense that many people from even lower socioeconomic backgrounds often lack the educational basis to access healthy options. I suppose my point is that economically, in many cases, healthy vegan/veggie protein sources like beans are not expensive and if/when people know of them, they are easily accessible, and that it’s false that meats are the better option economically and health wise.

    • Avatar camelz says:

      too much fluffy rhetoric.

    • Avatar Bryan Cordova says:

      Hey Heather,

      Just wanted to say I completely agree with you 100%. Coming from an Ecuadorian background, similar income, and student-driven life, I can totally relate. What you say is all true and well written in a cohesive and respectable manner (and to the rebuttals this post). I found the same issue with the article. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing and informing others!



  3. Avatar Theoneandonlyriss says:

    Did anyone else realize that this menu contains almost 2800 mg of sodium?

    • Avatar Robert Dew says:

      Yes I did , I find that way too many Veggie meals are NOT healthy at all. Some people think just because they eliminate something makes it healthy, NO , it does not , many who make veggie meals have NO concern about calories OR sodium and then try and pass it off as healthy, they are both Ignorant and Insensitive .

    • Avatar DG says:

      Yes that high sodium intake is very high…I’m very surprised that the author Daniel Omar didn’t even mention this as a concern!

  4. Avatar Robert Dew says:

    To me , I do many vegetarian meals, BUT , I find you insensitive posting this , 1800 is WAY more than I am allowed a day, When I am on a 1500 a day , and you are on suggesting meals that are that much over , I find it extremely INSENSITIVE, I also find the problem with MANY veggie only diets is , the creators pay NO attention to sodium intake, again I am on a 1500 sodium restriction with encouragment from the Dr. to stay below it as much as possible, then look at Sodium counts in your so called healthy meals and find those insulting. In watching my sodium , I have been taken off of High Blood meds totally so keeping sodium low , for me works. Then I see post on a site that is supposed to be informed, throwing sodium to the wind and acting like it is not a problem or concern , again I find that insulting. I use myfitness pal for counts, and got started , thinking you would give me GOOD ideas on meals, which is why I started following the blog the twitter , and facebook , but so far , I see HIGH sodium meals , higher than I am allowed Calorie meals, instead of being encouraged, I find myself upset. NOT getting what I had hoped for. For someone attempting to lose weight, playing around with meals NOT geared to do so , is taking a step backwards . So maybe what you need to do is say this is NOT a site for losing weight but a site for recipes , healthy or NOT , to be shared. Again, 1800 calories , is way more than most people trying to lose weight should take in, but you act like oh this is ok, Please get a Nutrionalist to at least look at your articles before you post them.

    • Avatar Evie M Warner says:

      I have no idea why just b/c it is more sodium than what you need, you find it insulting. Not all meals suggestions are going to work for everyone! I have celiac disease some things they recommend I can’t do. Also, Danielle is integrative dietitian and culinary nutritionist, she doesn’t need another nutritionist to look over her articles b/f she posts it b/c she is one. smh.

    • Avatar MariaBee says:

      You’re taking this article too personally and need to relax. Why are you projecting your frustrations in life on someone who took the time out of their busy schedule to post this VERY helpful article. Perhaps you should take responsibility for the situation you are in, and manipulate recipes so that it fits YOUR life. Do you want your dentist to brush your teeth for you too? Chill out dude.

    • Avatar Rosey Rang says:

      I like the articles. It’s gives me an ideas of what I can make. Think out side the box a little. If you have a crockpot, use it to make beans instead of using can beans. So then you can control your salt intake. Customize recipes to fit your needs.

    • Avatar camelz says:

      pipe down, whiner. A TYPICAL person is allotted 1800 a day. At your weight, there is NO FREAKIN WAY, you should be only taking in 1500 a day. Seek a new doctor right away and quit post whiny comments .

  5. Avatar Penelope Jordan says:

    At almost 3,000mg of Sodium, I will pass. I dont want to be a fit corpse.

  6. Avatar Christine Nolin says:

    Most of the sodium comes from breakfast – but why? Unless you dump your salt shaker in the omelette, it doesn’t seem like it should have more than 300-400 mg

  7. Avatar James A Tillman says:

    If you want to be healthy in the long run you need to eliminate specific lectins from foods that our body and microbes have not adapted to which means whole grains, GMO processed foods and anilmal protein fed these grains. This will prevent leakt gut which could lead to various illnesses and diseases over time. Here are my adjustments. Breakfast: pastured eggs, organic baby spinach, Parmesan cheese from goats, organic garlic, onions, mushrooms in avocado oil and ghee butter. Organic raspberries, green smoothie made with organic baby spinach, organic green banana, organic avocado, organic blueberries, cinnamon, walnuts. Eliminate the whole grain bread which is a lectins bomb. LUNCH: .Organic Rainbow Salad, eliminating tomatoes, zucchini and chick peas which are lectins bombs, adding organic spinach, cabbage, onions, celery, olives, red wine vinegar mixed with extra virgin olive oil. SNACK: Replace zucchini sticks and avocado yogurt dip which are loaded with lectins with Romain lettuce boats with guacamole, lemon zest, macadamia nuts. DINNER: Replace Black bean smokey burgeron whole wheat bun with ground cooked portabella mushroom Patty. Eliminate tomatoes from salad. SNACK: Replace frozen yogurt bark with frozen coconut yogurt bark and add dark chocolate 72% cocoa

    • Avatar camelz says:

      if you want to be healthy, don’t read people’s comments like yourself. Too much whiny rhetoric on the web. You aren’t an expert.. just some weekend keyboard warrior who knows it all.

      • Avatar James A Tillman says:

        People who are ignorant have a tendency to be intimidated by others who write intelligent posts. Terms like “know it all” is the telltale sign. Most of us realize that something is very wrong with the foods we are eating. The speed of our technology has outpaced our biology. An exchange of knowledge on these sites improve it and adds thought and perspective. For some it is simply over there head and instead of bypassing the comment they choose to lash out.

      • Avatar SFinVA says:

        It’s obvious a lot of hard work went into the article. While I may not agree with everything provided, I appreciate the information and will incorporate some it. Thanks, again.

    • Avatar Certified Sourcing says:

      After thousands of non-commercially funded studies, the evidence overwhelming supports that GMO’s affect the body no different then non-genetically modified organisims. There still can be an issue with GMO’s when such organisms enter ecosystems and reproduce.

      • Avatar James A Tillman says:

        Interesting. The peer reviewed research I have seen when it comes to GMO is that the human body and its microbes are impacted simply because they have not had time to adjust to the different lectins. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are immediately poisonous. If you are not looking for the right markers then what is happening is missed. Let me explain this as briefly as I can in this forum, Plants evolved to live on land about 450 million years ago. They used photosynthesis to make their food. For about 100 million years there were no other animals. Plants flourished with no known predators.
        Then insects appeared and adapted to living on land about 350 million years ago. There food source became the plants and their seeds. Plants developed a variety of ways to discourage insects from eating them or their seed. One approach was to take a protein common to both plants and animals called lectins. Plants modified their lectins over millions of years. The lectins attack the insects digestive system and making them sick or in some cases killing them. When animals evolved on land they were also viewed as the enemy and impacted by the lectins also. Animals evolved to tolerate the lectins from some plants over time. The longer the animals ate the plants the more there systems became accustom, so it is about length of time. I will now fast forward to human’s and the impact of GMO’s.

        • Avatar James A Tillman says:

          The impact of GMOs are rooted in our evolutionary past and the science is peered reviewed and tested in tens of thousands of people. The basic concept is the human body is made up of not only cells but also microbes. In fact we have discovered over 10,000 types so far and the total number is between 70 to 100 trillion. There are at least 9 microbes for every cell. 99% of all the DNA in our bodies are from microbes. These microbes surround us in a cloud, are on our skin, within our mouth and digestion system. 75% of these microbes are in our gut. Microbes do a host of things such as serve as an immune warning system, food digestion and the manufacturing of nutrients from the foods we eat that our body needs, controlling of cravings etc. Some microbes also digest lectins of plants we are familiar with meaning plants we been eating more than 40,000 years. These microbes are critical to our survival we cannot live without them. The key is natures clock when it comes to foods that we can digest efficiently is different than what our general senses perceive and this is where the problem is. It takes 40,000 years or more for our microbes to evolve to eat foods that we have not been eating until recently in our evolution. We were tree dwellers and hunter gathers for most of our evolution eating leaves, nuts, berries, small amounts of animal protein (green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, resistant starches and fruit in season. Starting 10,000 years ago we began converting to agriculture. This technology introduced grains into our diet for the first time. This process fed many more people and food could be stored. The problem is the lectins in grains caused inflammation and the affect caused humans over a few hundred years to become shorter, brain size decreased, and arthritis, heart disease and diabetes began to appear. This was confirmed by the study of cadavers of people before and after agriculture. The next major occurrence happened 500 years ago when Columbus discovered the America’s and brought back all types of exotic foods such as corn, barely, beans, legumes and nightshade vegetables such as peppers and squash etc. Europeans, Asians and Africans of the time never encountered these foods before. Our microbes had not had nearly the time to adapt to these foods so when consumed they caused even more inflammation which lead to auto immune responses and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, allergies and a host of others. People learned to prepare some of these foods in such a way to reduce the foreign lectins by peeling the skin and de-seeding certain plants. The next major food impact phase and most lethal happened the last 60 years with Industrial Farming practices which lead to the explosive growth in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. We began feeding our live stock, poultry, and seafood grains. Many of the grains were genetically modified. These grains were also used in the making of most processed foods. The introduction of all these foreign lectins caused even more explosive growth in all types of new illnesses and diseases as well as a dramatic increase in obesity, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s across the board. The medical and pharmaceutical industries responded by producing all these new drugs such as NSAIDS, Opiates, broad spectrum anti-biotics, chemical herbicides such as Roundup. Humans continued to live but required these new medications. This has led to the opiate epidemic. The speed of our technology over the last 10,000 years and particularly the last 60 years has greatly out paced our body and microbes ability to adapt. Look at all the mental and behavioral disorders, it is everywhere. We are literally just scratching the surface but those who are truly beginning to understand need to be worried. Look at the condition of our health industry. So bury your head in the sand. Everyone has relatives that die of these diseases and illnesses everyday, many are middle age and young people. A person that appears healthy suddenly dies of a heart attack of winds up with some form of cancer. Look at many of our men over thirty, many are obese and appear several months pregnant. We are living in a form a Matrix and really are just beginning to understand what has happened. The one good thing is that we have the foods available to change and fix ourselves as well as the foods to avoid cancer and other diseases.

          • Avatar James A Tillman says:

            Here is the detail look at how lectins from foods such as grains ( wheat, corn, soy, barley, rice etc.) and their GMOs impact the human body directly.

            Certain Lectins from grains have the ability to adversely effect the fat cells, muscle cells and nerve cells. Wheat Germ Agglutinin is a Small Sticky Lectin. It can pass through the gut wall hitching a ride on other proteins or fats. Once it gets into the blood stream it can go anywhere in the body. Once it gets to various organs and systems in the body it causes inflammation. Lectins also attached to cells in place of other proteins and disrupt the messaging
            It looks like healthy proteins so the immune system attacks the lectins and also healthy proteins so the various cells does not get nutrients and starves which leads to disorders like Heart Disease, Dementia, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes

          • Avatar James A Tillman says:

            This is an example of the Lectin Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) and how this lectin really effects human health.

            WGA looks like the Hormone Insulin.
            When sugar is consumed and the sugar molecule enters the gut wall and into the blood stream the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin attaches to the fat cells, muscle cells, nerve cells and allows the sugar molecule glucose to be converted fat by fat cells, to energy to feed the muscle and nerve cells.
            WGA attaches to the cells instead of insulin and stays attached causing fat cells to continuously produce fat or prevent the glucose to energy conversion to feed the muscle and nerve cells and thus the cells starve. The immune system also attacks the WGA as foreign which causes the buildup of plaque in the arteries causing blockages, hardening of the arteries and tears which leads to heart disease for example.
            The presence of WGA also causes the immune system to overreact and attack the insulin protein and the cells it is attached to. The result is major life threatening illnesses and various diseases. This process can happen slowly over decades until you begin to have major problems.

          • Avatar James A Tillman says:

            Finally, what I have provided you is based on recent (within the last 8 years) peer reviewed research covering evolution, biology, medical, genetics. It takes into account our evolutionary past going forward. The research you are mentioning misses all of this. It is like thinking in one dimension versus thinking in three dimensions. It is a lot to swallow and accept, but the indicators are visible. Exponential increase in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, arthritis, allergies, other exotic autoimmune diseases. The overall data is overwhelming. The reason why it is missed because a number of these studies are too close to a single problem and fail to see the big picture. They are looking for immediate short term impact and just don’t see it. Their is a direct correlation between the rise in obesity and the increase of process foods in our diet. The correlation becomes almost perfect when you isolate the increase of GMO grain fed chicken, pizza which is made from processed grains. The evidence is clear but is easily missed when you don’t know what you are looking for.

          • Avatar DG says:

            Hi James, thank you for responding with information about The Plant Paradox and the health differences that have occurred since following these new food recommendation. Sounds like you have really turned things around for yourself! I will order the book immediately and share with friends who are suffering as I have. I too am doing much better after working with a naturopathic doctor who maintains many of the ideals that you outlined in your posting. BTW, that posting that you shared in in the last day with me doesn’t appear to be posted here on this blog page?! I mean I can’t seem to find your posting, did it get cut off somehow on this blog page? I just want to be sure that everyone can see this vital and helpful information about Dr. Gundry’s book. 🙂

        • Avatar Certified Sourcing says:

          The hypothesis that crops engineered to produce insecticide, “round up ready,” will negatively affect humans seems common sense to most. After all GMO crops with increased nutritional value allow for more nutritional absorption so why not anti-nutrients?

          • Avatar James A Tillman says:

            GMO’s and there foreign lectin content leads to leaky gut as well as inflammation. Our gut microbes do not recognize them and provide a defense by eating them. These lectin proteins are looking for sugar molecules to attach to. Since the mucus lining of the gut wall is made of sugar the lectins attach to them. The reaction of this coupling produces zonulin. Zonulin unlocks the tight junctions of the gut wall causing holes which is a condition described as leaky gut. The lectins that are not attached filter through the holes along with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) which are the waste products of dividing cells along with other microbes and bacteria. Once in the system they cause a host of problems starting with inflammation (attacked by white blood cells), cell mimicking which lead to an overactive immune system attacking anything in sight that looks similar including vital organs. As i said before, if you don’t know what you are looking for you (the researcher) will miss it. We see the results starting with the epidemic level of obesity and the exponential growth of all these diseases. Chronic Inflammation causes the body to store excessive fat because it thinks it is at war and the fat is there to feed the white blood cells. The body is in a constant state of inflammation that the researchers don’t recognize. This is what leads to the host of common diseases that most people think are unrelated and are caused by different factors. In fact they all originate from the same source. 90 percent of the bodies old cells are supposed to be replaced by new cells every 90 days. This doesn’t happen efficiently since the body is in a constant state of war (inflammation). Not only does this leads to disease but also accelerated aging.

        • Avatar DG says:

          Hi James I really appreciate your comments and the time it took to share some complex ideas. Can you direct your readers to further information (research, articles etc) that support this information? I would like to share them with friends, and having well regarded health articles with research based bibliographies would be very helpful!

  8. Avatar DG says:

    I’ve recently joined Disqus and am thrilled to see that there is a button to “turn off” folks who engage in unhelpful, belligerent, name-calling practices. Isn’t that wonderful!

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