What’s the best way to manage the Weight Watchers Program as a vegetarian? If you are you vegetarian, vegan, Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) or simply eating fewer animal products while following the WW points system, you can absolutely use the WW program to count points and lose weight effectively.
Read on to find out how to be successful with the WW plan for weight loss.
Updated March, 2023.
Weight Watchers for Vegans and Vegetarians
While a meatless diet is good for you and for the environment, keep in mind that reducing body fat comes from eating fewer calories than you burn, no matter what type of food it is. WeightWatchers is a great program for helping you learn to reduce calories while still eating the foods you enjoy and want to eat.
Be sure to check out our FREE 3 Day Plant-Based Meal Plan that includes WW points for every meal and recipe. The plan is so popular, it was featured in Woman’s World magazine.
Tips for WW Points for Vegetarians
Here are some helpful strategies for using your daily points allowance and weekly points budget without eating animal products and still have excellent weight loss results.
Helpful zero point foods for vegetarian members include:
- Vegetables (except a few starchy ones)
- Corn and popcorn
Other whole foods are not “free” foods but still low in points, which makes them a healthy option that’s easy to fit into your daily points allowance.
Helpful low point foods for vegetarians include:
- Acorn squash – 1/2 cup for 1 point
- Sweet potatoes – 3 ounces – 2 points
- Potatoes, red or white – 1/2 cup – 2 points
- Avocado – 1/2 cup – 3 points
While you don’t have to eliminate these foods, keep in mind that WW increases the points for foods that are high in fat and/or highly processed, so you may choose to reduce these prepared vegetarian foods:
- Impossible burgers – 8 points for the burger only
- Vegan cheese – 1 ounce – 3 points
- Oils, spreads and sauces
- Plant-based yogurts that are high in sugar or fat
MyWW Older WW Plan – What’s the Best WW Color Plan for Vegetarians?
Note: The MyWW Plan with Green, Blue, and Purple is no longer available. If you want to follow a previous WW plan on your own, you can use this MyWW Purple guide or use the app itrackbites which has similar versions of previous Weight Watchers plans.
The WW purple plan is best for vegetarians, vegans, and those following a plant-based, meatless lifestyle.
Here’s why the Weight Watchers purple plan is best for vegetarians:
- You don’t have to count points for all fruits and vegetables. These most healthy foods are zero points on WW Purple and should be the majority of your diet.
- You don’t have to count points for whole grains. While grains have points on other plans, they are zero points on purple which leads you naturally to choose oatmeal, brown rice and other filling starches. (Click here for a huge list of whole grain recipes for losing weight.)
- You don’t have to count points for beans. Beans are wonderfully healthy, filling food that are perfect for dropping pounds. Since they are zero points on WW, you can eat beans, lentils, tofu, and edamame to get all the filling protein and nutrition you need. (Click here for a huge list of bean recipes.)
- You don’t have to count points for potatoes. Yes, potatoes are a weight loss food! Here’s a great list of healthy potato recipes that are low in points.
- You don’t have to count points for starchy vegetables. Foods like corn, popcorn, acorn squash and butternut squash can be a regular part of your diet without the need to track them.
- Since your daily points allowance is lower, you won’t be tempted to overeat vegan junk foods or too much healthy fat. One of the biggest reasons why vegans and vegetarians are overweight is because they rely on vegan junk foods like processed veggie burgers, vegan cheese, and vegan chips, crackers, and cookies. All of these foods have points on WW Purple and this is a good thing. Healthy fats like coconut oil and nuts have points too so you won’t overeat them.
10 Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans on Weight Watchers
Here are the best tips for vegetarians and vegans on WW.
- Limit or eliminate high-fat dairy if you are vegetarian. Sometimes people switch to a vegetarian diet and make the mistake of loading up on dairy instead. (Ordering the cheese enchiladas instead of the chicken ones, for example.) This is not doing your body any favors, especially when it comes to weight loss.
- Limit or eliminate vegan junk food. There’s a place in this world for vegan replacement foods like veggie burgers, vegan cheese, and snack foods. But it needs to be a very small, once-in-awhile treat part of your diet. The WW points system will help you with this because processed foods have points and real foods are almost all zero points. Yes, Oreos are vegan but they aren’t helping you lose weight.
- Eat real food. Half of every plate I eat is vegetables. I eat those first. The other half is healthy starches like whole grains, potatoes, and beans. I eat simply, the food is delicious, I’m rarely hungry, and it’s very low in points and calories.
- Load up on vegetables. You became a vegetarian for a reason. You want to eat plants! Vegetables are your friend. Eat a huge variety of them every day. Here’s a great list of ways to eat more vegetables.
- Reduce or eliminate oil. Oil has been touted for years a healthy food but this is clever marketing, not facts. Either cut back or totally eliminate oils from your diet, even coconut and olive oil. Here is a great list of oil-free salad dressings to use.
- Limit healthy fats. I used to snack on handfuls of nuts, liberally add avocado to everything, and eat peanut butter off the spoon several times a day when I went into the pantry. Yes, our bodies need fat but only a very small amount.
- Avoid overeating. Too much food is too much food, no matter how healthy it is.
- Choose whole grains and potatoes (sticky starches) over dry ones. Cooked brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat pasta are wonderfully filling and nutritious. Pretzels and chips are empty calories and won’t keep you full.
- Track your points. This is true for every WW member and it’s true for vegetarians. You joined Weight Watchers for a reason, so track your points. I still track every single day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Meal prep once a week. Preparing food ahead is important for everyone who wants to lose weight but this is especially true if you follow a plant-based lifestyle. Spend an hour or so on the weekend making a batch of rice, cook a healthy bean soup or chili, and chopping some vegetables and fruits. You’ll be on your way to fabulous week.
Which Weight Watchers plan is the most popular? Most people follow the WW Blue plan.
Weight Watchers Vegetarian: Before and After
I’ve been using WW for 20+ years and am currently maintaining a 120 pound weight loss. I am a WW member at Lifetime and my goal weight.
I switched to a Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) lifestyle in February of 2021 to heal digestive issues and used the WW Purple plan.
I was already at my goal weight when I switched to a plant based diet and not really expecting to lose weight, but I lost an additional 20 pounds and am now happily in the middle of my weight range.
Does Weight Watchers Work for Vegetarians and Vegans?
Yes, WW is a great plan for losing weight with a plant-based lifestyle.
Weight loss is about calories. (WW uses points to help you manage your calories.) It doesn’t matter if you are following a low carb, high carb, vegan, keto or any other type of diet. Weight loss only happens when you eat fewer calories than you burn, and WW points system will teach you how to do that.
Are you a WW member who is vegetarian or vegan? Tell us about it in the comments below.
More WW Posts You Will Love