People switch to a vegetarian diet for many reasons.

Some people feel that eating animals is wrong. Others make the switch for health reasons. Maybe they “go vegetarian” to lose weight-and, by the way, cutting out meat products to do with how much weight you lose.

The real variable in the equation is consuming fewer calories than your body burns in a day. Whether that’s done through a vegetarian weight loss diet, exercise, or a combination of both is entirely up to you.

That being said, vegetarian weight loss is not entirely a myth. Studies have shown that on the whole, vegetarians eat as many as 500 calories less than those who include meat in their diet, even though they eat more food.

The trick to vegetarian weight loss is to stick to eating, you know, actual vegetables. There are plenty of meat-free products out there – including candy bars, cookies, and milkshakes. It’s important to include grains, fruits and vegetables, and not simply rely on Kraft macaroni-and-cheese.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to eat salads all the time, nor does going vegetarian in order to lose weight mean you have to sacrifice taste, time, or Benjamin’s. Many big-name supermarkets have plenty of frozen entrée vegetarian options, and if you’re hankering for a burger, Boca Burgers and Garden Burgers are a great alternative.

Be careful to avoid the high-calorie, high-fat additions you might be tempted to use when trying to make things taste better. Saturating your perfectly healthy salad with a tub of Ranch salad dressing is not doing your waistline any favors. And it’s true that fried veggies are still veggies-but with a ton of calories packed on.

Remember these 4 tips:

o    Breakfast will be your easiest meal when you’re choosing vegetarianism for weight loss. Cereal, toast, oatmeal or fruit smoothies are delicious choices that contain no meats. You can even sneak in a leftover piece of cheese pizza if you’re running late.

o    If you eat lunch on the run at work, there are many vegetarian options available that are healthy. Try a stuffed falafel pita, some hearty meatless chili, or a vegetarian burrito. If you’re able to plan your meals, you can choose a frozen vegetarian entrée, a veggie burger, or a soup and salad with a spring roll.

o    Pasta with inventive, healthy sauces is perfect for a satisfying vegetarian dinner. Pesto is delicious, as well as julienned vegetables in a white wine sauce, or even spinach and cheese tortellini in a homemade marinara. If grilling is your thing in the summer, make veggie kabobs instead of meat – or throw on a couple veggie burgers for that delicious charbroiled taste.

o    Snack time is certainly fun for the vegetarian, as there are rarely meat-based snacks.  Bran muffins, popcorn, nachos and trail mix are all wonderful snacks for vegetarian weight loss.

Do your research, and visit your doctor for advice before beginning any weight loss diet.

Do this, along with a light cardio routine, and you are sure to succeed.