How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian – Center for Young Women's Health (2023)

Key Facts
  • There are different types of vegetarian diets.
  • Eating a healthy vegetarian diet requires you to pay attention to certain nutrients.
  • Beinga healthy vegetarianis possible!
  • How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian – Center for Young Women's Health (2)

How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian – Center for Young Women's Health (3)

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What is a vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, including beef, chicken, pork, or fish and may or may not choose to eat other animal-derived products such as eggs, dairy, gelatin, or honey.

There are different types of vegetarians:

  • Flexitarian:Flexitarians are also known as semi–vegetarians. They occasionally eat fish or meat, but generally avoid animal products most of the time.
  • Pescatarian:Pescatarians eat fish, dairy, and eggs but don’t eat poultry or any other meats.
  • Lacto–ovo vegetarian:Lacto–ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but do eat eggs and dairy products (ovo means eggs and lacto means dairy). This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
    • Lacto–vegetarian:Lacto–vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs, but do eat dairy products.
    • Ovo–vegetarian:Ovo–vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, poultry or dairy, but do eat eggs.
  • Vegan:Vegans avoid eating any animal products or animal-derived ingredients that can be found in processed foods. They don’t eat meat of any kind, dairy, eggs, honey, or gelatin. Some vegans (and some other types of vegetarians) choose not to wear clothes containing animal products, such as leather, wool, or silk, or use products such as lotion or makeup that may have been tested on animals.

Why do people decide to be vegetarian?

People decide to become a vegetarian for many reasons. Some people choose to become a vegetarian for environmental, ethical (animal rights), or health reasons. You may relate to one or many of these or have different reasons altogether. Deciding to become vegetarian is a personal choice.

Are vegetarian diets healthy?

Vegetarian diets can be healthy and may even lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. However, eating balanced meals and snacks requires some extra attention when you are a vegetarian. Because vegetarians don’t have certain foods in their diets, they often need to work to incorporate foods that will provide the same nutrients they might have previously obtained through animal products. By eating a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, soy products, and whole grains, vegetarians can get adequate nutrients from non–meat sources. Vegetarians, especially vegans, need to pay attention to ensure that they get enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.


Carbohydratesprovide energy and vitamins for your brain and muscles. Grain products, especially whole grains, are very important because they provide the carbohydrate, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Vegetarians should be sure to eat a variety of whole grains such as whole wheat bread, pasta and tortillas, brown rice, oats, bulgur, and quinoa.

Fatis needed by your body to stay healthy. Fat provides essential fatty acids and helps your body absorb certain vitamins. Excellent sources of healthy fats include nuts and nut butters, oils, and avocados.

Proteinis needed for your muscles to grow. Vegetarians need to be sure to eat protein-containing vegetarian foods when avoiding meat. Nuts, seeds, nut butters (including peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter), soy foods (such as tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, tempeh, and edamame), legumes (such as beans, peas, hummus, and lentils), meat substitutes (such as veggie burgers or seitan), dairy foods (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese), and eggs all provide protein. Most plant-based proteins do not contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs on their own, so it is important to eat a variety of sources of protein to be sure you are getting all of the essential amino acids. Soy foods are an exception. They contain all of the essential amino acids which makes them a complete protein.

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Zincis important for growth and your immune system. Zinc is found in whole grains (notin refined grains such as bread or pasta made from white flour or white rice), fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products, soy foods, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Ironis important for your blood and is found in beans, seeds, soybeans, tofu, fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and dried fruit such as apricots, figs, or prunes. Plant–based iron is not absorbed as well as iron found in meat, but adding foods rich in vitamin C can help your body to absorb iron better. When you are eating plant-based iron foods, include foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and certain vegetables such as tomatoes and bell peppers.

Calciumis needed to build strong bones. Calcium is found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt (there is more calcium found in traditional yogurt compared to greek yogurt), and cheese. You can also find calcium in broccoli, butternut squash, collard greens, black beans, white beans, soybeans, and tofu. However, plant sources of calcium have less calcium per serving and are more difficult for our bodies to absorb compared to dairy products. Some foods that aren’t naturally high in calcium have calcium added to them; these foods are called “calcium–fortified.” Soy milk, fortified oat or milk, fortified orange juice, some cereal, and cereal bars are a few examples. If you choose to not eat dairy, eating calcium fortified foods is a great way to ensure you are eating enough calcium. Look at the Nutrition Facts Label to find out which brands are highest in calcium.


Vitamin Dis needed to absorb the calcium you eat and is necessary for strong bones. You can get vitamin D from foods, such as fortified dairy or soy milk products, fortified orange juice, egg yolks; or your body can make Vitamin D from the sun. If you live in a place that gets very little sunshine, especially during the winter months, it’s harder to get enough vitamin D from sunshine alone. To figure out if you’re getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, look at a map of the United States and imagine a line running between San Francisco and Philadelphia. If you live north of this line, it’s necessary for you (during the winter) to get your daily intake of vitamin D through food or supplements. When you are able to make vitamin D from the sun, you only need about 15 minutes of sun exposure to meet your needs for the day – after that, lather up with sunblock!

Vitamin B12is needed for your brain and nervous system to function. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, so vegans must eat food fortified with B12. For vegetarians who are not vegans, examples of foods with B12 include cow’s milk and eggs. For individuals who follow a vegan diet, foods like fortified nutritional yeast flakes, fortified soy milk, and fortified cereals are good sources of B12. Your health care provider or dietitian may also recommend taking a B12 supplement to make sure your body gets enough of this vitamin.

Omega–3 Fatty Acidsare essential fatty acids; “essential” means you need to eat these fats from your diet since your body is not able to make them on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids help to control inflammation and help to prevent heart disease. Vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat eggs or fatty fish like salmon must include other sources of omega-3 fatty acids such aswalnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, canola oil, soybeans, or tofu.

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Iodineis a mineral that helps your body’s metabolism. Plant–based diets can be low in iodine, so vegans should try to use iodized salt in recipes that call for salt. Seaweed (the type that wraps up sushi or ) is also a good source of iodine. Check the label of your salt before you buy it to make sure it is iodized. If you choose to use sea salt, be sure to look for brands that specify they are iodized.

Is it possible to be a vegetarian and be unhealthy?

It’s important to remember that while vegetarian diets can have health benefits, it is also possible to be missing out on important nutrients as a vegetarian or vegan. For example, a diet that consists of grilled cheese, pizza, pasta and candy is technically vegetarian, but will not include all of the nutrients that your body needs. Similarly, if someone only eats fruits and vegetables, they will not be getting enough protein. In order to get all of the great vitamins and nutrients listed above, make sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based protein sources such as beans, tofu or nuts into your diet. Be mindful of meat or dairy “substitutions” because some substitutes may not be nutritionally equivalent to meat and dairy. To ensure you are being healthy as a vegetarian, be sure you are eating a variety of foods.

How can I reassuremy parents that I can still be healthy while following a vegetarian diet?

Your parents may be worried that you are choosing to follow a vegetarian diet without knowing how to do it in a healthy way. If you can explain your plan to eat a healthy balance of foods and your reasons for wanting to become a vegetarian, your parents may be more likely to understand. You still might need to give them time to accept your new diet. Read vegetarian cookbooks or nutritional information with your parents and offer to help with the shopping and cooking.

Here are some ideas for kitchen staples that will be helpful when following a vegetarian diet:


  • Citrus fruit
  • Melons
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Dried fruit

Dark green leafy vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach

Dark orange or yellow vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash


  • Black, navy, pinto and/or white beans (canned or dry)
  • Lentils
  • Vegetarian baked or refried beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Hummus

Whole grains

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  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat bread, pasta, tortillas
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Quinoa

Soy products

  • Calcium fortified soy milk
  • Tofu
  • Edamame (young green soy beans)
  • Tempeh

Meat substitutes

  • Texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Seitan (gluten based meat substitute)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Veggie burgers (such as Morningstar®, Boca®, or Quorn®)

Eggs and dairy

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

What are some healthy meals that I can prepare?

Refer to our sample menu suggestions to get ideas about incorporating enough protein and other nutrients into your vegetarian diet. You can also look at vegetarian cookbooks or websites for more ideas. As always, make sure you consult with your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet to ensure you are eating enough of all the nutrients you need!

*You may need more or less than this depending on a multitude of factors, including your age and activity level.

**Menu 1 illustrates use of a food (Total® cereal) that is fortified with 100% the recommended intake of vitamin B12 and the minerals zinc and iron, nutrients that are more difficult to get when a teen is not eating meat. On day two, it may be necessary to supplement intake with a standard Multivitamin.

Vegetarian Sample Menu 1,vegan modifications in italics

  • Breakfast
    • Whole Grain Total® cereal topped with fruit (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, banana) and chopped walnuts
    • 1% milk (or calcium-fortified soy milk)
  • Snack
    • Hummus
    • Assorted raw vegetables (e.g., baby carrots, bell peppers, sliced zucchini)
  • Lunch
    • Whole wheat wrap/tortilla (or brown rice)
    • Black beans
    • Avocado (or guacamole)
    • Assorted veggies such as shredded carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, etc. (in the wrap, or sautéed and mixed with the rice & beans)
    • Vanilla yogurt (or soy based or coconut based yogurt)
    • Angel food cake (or sorbet)
    • Peach
  • Dinner
    • Morningstar® veggie burger
    • Whole wheat English muffin, toasted
    • Part-skim mozzarella cheese (melted on burger) (or vegan friendly cheese such as Daiya® or Violife®)
    • Steamed broccoli seasoned with B12 fortified nutritional yeast
  • Snack
    • Celery sticks
    • Peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
    • Raisins

Vegetarian Sample Menu 2, vegan modifications in italics:

(Video) Protein Rich Vegetarian Diet | Dr. Hansaji Yogendra

  • Breakfast
    • Whole wheat toast
    • Peanut butter
    • Banana
    • Greek yogurt (or soy based or coconut based yogurt)
  • Snack
    • Granola bar (e.g., Kashi®, Clif Z bar®)
    • Baby carrots
  • Lunch
    • Whole grain bagel
    • Eggs(or a tofu scramble, seasoned with B12 fortified nutritional yeast)
    • Cheddar cheese (or vegan friendly cheese such asDaiya® or Violife®)
    • Sliced bell pepper (red, yellow, orange or green)
    • Apple
    • Pudding cup (or vegan-friendly dark chocolate)
  • Dinner
    • Pasta
    • Tomato sauce
    • Gardein® soy meatballs
    • Whole wheat dinner roll
    • Lettuce
    • Assorted vegetables
    • Dressing
    • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Snack
    • Popcorn
    • Peanuts or almonds


What are 3 nutrients to consider that vegetarians should be careful to get enough of in their diet? ›

Eating a wide variety of foods will make it easier to meet your nutritional requirements. Essential nutrients that are harder to obtain in a vegetarian diet, if not carefully planned – include protein, some minerals (especially iron, calcium and zinc), vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

What are 3 reasons someone might give for becoming a vegetarian? ›

People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources.

Which vitamin deficiency does a vegetarian woman suffer from? ›

A meatless diet can be healthy, but vegetarians -- especially vegans -- need to make sure they're getting enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns of the risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans. Vitamin B12 is found naturally only in animal products.

What nutrients do most vegetarians lack? ›

The nutritional deficiencies that are most common with vegan and vegetarian diets include:
  • Vitamin B12. This particular vitamin is created by a bacteria and found primarily in animal products such as dairy, meat, insects, and eggs. ...
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin! ...
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Iron.
5 Jul 2018

What is a Level 5 vegetarian? ›

Level 5 vegans are those who are seen as incredibly committed to the vegan lifestyle, and are often hailed as “extreme vegans”. Level 5 vegans go to an extensive effort to follow a vegan lifestyle that is free of any type of animal product or animal exploitation.

What diseases can you get from being vegetarian? ›

6 Ways Being a Vegetarian Could Seriously Mess You Up
  • Low Vitamin D. Yes, you can get vitamin D from plant sources and supplements. ...
  • Not Enough Zinc. Beef and lamb are two of the highest sources of zinc. ...
  • Anemia. ...
  • Anxiety. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Eating Disorders.
2 Mar 2016

What happens to your body when you go vegetarian? ›

Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease.

What vitamins should you take if you are a vegetarian? ›

The vitamins missing from most vegetarian diets
  • Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is often thought of as a mood-boosting supplement. ...
  • Vitamin D for Vegetarians and Vegans. ...
  • Calcium. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Iron. ...
  • The three forms of omega-3s fatty acids.

What are the two types of vegetarians? ›

Types of vegetarian diets

Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included. Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.

Are eggs vegetarian? ›

Are Eggs Considered Vegetarian? By definition, vegetarianism is classified as excluding any form of animal flesh (the tissue, muscles or meat of an animal). The humble egg doesn't fall into this category and is therefore included in a vegetarian eating pattern.

What vitamins should I take as a vegetarian female? ›

In a 2009 research review, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) identified important nutrients of concern to vegans and vegetarians: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine.

How do vegetarians get B12? ›

The main foods which provide vitamin B12 are derived from animals, such as dairy products and eggs. For people not eating any animal products, yeast extract and other fortified/supplemented foods such as breakfast cereals, soya milks, soya/veggie burgers, and vegetable margarines are all good sources.

Should vegetarians take B12? ›

Plant-based foods do not naturally contain B12, so people who follow a vegetarian diet or vegan diet need to make sure they get enough each day to avoid a deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious health consequences, such as pernicious anemia.

How do vegans get B12 and iron? ›

The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements, such as our very own VEG 1. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms.

How did humans get B12 before meat? ›

Our ancestors would get their B12 supply in the form of bacteria on root vegetables/tubers pulled from the ground, by drinking water from natural sources, as well as from any meat they happened to consume (since those animals also ingested bacteria from soil and water).

What vitamin is not a concern for vegetarians? ›

Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that's almost exclusively found in animal-sourced foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products, and eggs ( 1 ).

What is class 3 vegetarian? ›

People who only eat meat are called vegetarians.

What are the 4 main types of vegetarian? ›

The Four Types of Vegetarian Diets Explained
  • The Vegan Diet. This is the most restrictive type of vegetarian diet. ...
  • Lacto-Vegetarianism. ...
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism (Ovo-Lacto Semi Vegetarian) ...
  • Pescatarians. ...
  • Flexitarians.
22 Aug 2022

What is the strictest type of vegetarian? ›

Strict vegetarians, or vegans, eat plant foods and reject all animal products—meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and sometimes honey. Those who also eat dairy products are called lacto vegetarians. Vegetarians who eat both dairy and eggs are called lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Can being a vegetarian cause mental health issues? ›

Some studies report that people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet may have an increased risk of depression and other mental illnesses.

Can being vegetarian cause depression? ›

Australian research published in 2007 found that vegetarians had poorer mental health, with 21–22% reporting depression compared with 15% of meat eaters. A 2012 German study found that mental disorders tended to follow the onset of a vegetarian diet.

Do vegetarians have more health problems? ›

As a result of these dietary differences, vegetarians have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. There are several studies and reviews that investigate the claims that vegetarian diets reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.

What happens to your brain when you go vegetarian? ›

Studies suggest a plant-based diet can support cognitive health and protect against dementia, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Be sure you're getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and other nutrients critical for cognitive health, and avoid sugar, processed foods and high levels of fat.

Is it actually healthier to be vegetarian? ›

Analysis: Numerous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is one of the most effective for maintaining health. Plant-based diets are healthier than diets where meat is consumed, whether measured by the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, or death.

What to Know Before becoming vegetarian? ›

Alongside a vegetarian diet, people need to make sure they:
  • get the right number of calories.
  • focus on a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • limit their intake of processed foods and alcohol.
  • avoid unhealthful fats and added sugar and salt.
  • engage in an overall healthful lifestyle, with plenty of exercise.
7 Dec 2019

Which food has high zinc? ›

The best source of zinc is oysters, but it's also plentiful in red meat and poultry. Other good sources are beans, nuts, crab, lobster, whole grains, breakfast cereals, and dairy products.

How can you get B12 naturally? ›

Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products [5]. In addition, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are readily available sources of vitamin B12 that have high bioavailability [12,13].

How do vegetarians get protein? ›

Vegetarians should obtain protein from a variety of plant sources, including legumes, soy products, grains, nuts and seeds. Eggs and dairy products also provide protein for those following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

What happens when you stop eating meat? ›

You may feel tired and weak if you cut meat out of your diet. That's because you're missing an important source of protein and iron, both of which give you energy. The body absorbs more iron from meat than other foods, but it's not your only choice.

What are three disadvantages about being a vegetarian? ›

Disadvantages of a Vegetarian Diet
  • Fewer Complete Proteins.
  • Increased Nutrient Deficiency Risks.
  • Lower Levels of Creatine.
  • May Be High in Cholesterol.
  • Requires More Effort.
  • Supplementation May Be Necessary.
  • Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet.
10 Sept 2019

Is it healthier to eat meat or be a vegetarian? ›

The health factor

And people who don't eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do.

What do u call a vegetarian who eats chicken? ›

Also known as pollo-vegetarian, the pollotarian diet is considered to be a type of semi-vegetarianism, as some forms of animal meat are allowed. While the prefix “pollo” literally translates to “chicken” in Spanish, pollotarians generally eat all forms of poultry, including turkey and duck.

Which animal is pure vegetarian? ›

5) Rhinos. When you learn that this strong, powerful animal eats nothing but plants, rhino you'll go vegan today.

What is a vegetarian who eats dairy called? ›

A lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, but excludes eggs, meat, and fish.

Why is milk not vegetarian? ›

Milk is non-vegetarian food as its molecular structure and DNA that is found only in animals. This makes it non-vegetarian by origin. Just like eggs, milk contains 'Animal Fat'. So when you consume milk, you are, in effect, consuming an animal (or a part of it).

Can a vegetarian eat cheese? ›

Given that dairy — including cheese — does not require the slaughtering of an animal, it's usually permitted by lacto- and lacto-ovo-vegetarians, as well as some pescatarians. On the other hand, vegans avoid all animal products or animal byproducts, including dairy and milk.

Is honey considered vegetarian? ›

As a food produced by insects, honey is by definition not vegan. Bees gather nectar from flowers, partially digest it, and then regurgitate it once back in their hives. Worker bees then seal it into beeswax honeycomb, much of it for the purpose of storing food to enable the hive to survive through the winter.

Should I take a multivitamin if Im vegetarian? ›

Taking a daily multivitamin can help fill gaps. While a vegetarian or plant-focused diet can provide you with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, it also eliminates certain animal-derived foods that contain more bioavailable forms of particular nutrients.

How much B12 should a vegetarian woman take? ›

All vegans should take 250 mcg per day of a B12 supplement. All lacto-ovo vegetarians should consider taking 250 mcg per day of a B12 supplement a few times per week.

Why do I feel tired as a vegetarian? ›

Unfortunately, the main sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and milk products. For this reason, vegetarians have an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency ( 9 ). Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, memory problems and numbness.

Which fruit is rich in vitamin B12? ›

Fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries and oranges are some fruits that are high in vitamin B12.

Do vegetarians need more sleep? ›

A plant-based diet may lead to increased levels of the amino acid tryptophan, leading to increased melatonin and serotonin metabolites, enhancing sleep quality and quantity, and thus reducing cardiovascular risk.

What food is highest in B12? ›

Good sources of vitamin B12
  • meat.
  • fish.
  • milk.
  • cheese.
  • eggs.
  • some fortified breakfast cereals.

Which vitamin is responsible for hair fall? ›

Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

How do vegetarians get iron? ›

What food is iron in?
  1. Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and other pulses.
  2. Tofu.
  3. Sprouted beans and seeds.
  4. Breakfast cereals.
  5. Bread.
  6. Kale, cabbage and broccoli.
  7. Nuts.
  8. Dried fruits.

What are the nutritional needs for vegetarians? ›

The vegetarian diet
  • Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. ...
  • Base meals on starchy carbohydrates. ...
  • Dairy or dairy alternatives are needed for calcium. ...
  • Eat beans, pulses, eggs and other sources of protein. ...
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads. ...
  • Limit foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

What nutrients do vegetarians get a lot of? ›

  • Vitamin B12. Make sure that your vegan diet contains a reliable source of vitamin B12.(Read More)
  • Protein. It's easy to get protein from plants.(Read More)
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The lowdown on omega-3 and omega-6 fats and vegan diets.(Read More)
  • Calcium. ...
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Iodine. ...
  • Selenium. ...
  • Iron.

What are the big 5 nutrients? ›

The roles of the five major nutrients. Nutrients are the substances found in food which drive biological activity, and are essential for the human body. They are categorized as proteins, fats, carbohydrates (sugars, dietary fiber), vitamins, and minerals, and perform the following vital functions.

What is the most important source of protein for vegetarians? ›

Beans. Kidney, black, pinto, and most other varieties of beans are extremely important staple foods across cultures and contain high amounts of protein per serving. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another type of bean with a high protein content.

How can I get nutrients without eating meat? ›

By eating a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, soy products, and whole grains, vegetarians can get adequate nutrients from non–meat sources.

Which of the six nutrients is most likely to be lacking in a meatless diet? ›

Studies have shown that without supplements or enriched foods, vegetarians are at a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency ( 2 ). Lacto-ovo-vegetarians can get adequate amounts of this nutrient from dairy products and eggs, but this is much more challenging for vegans ( 3 ).

What your body needs everyday? ›

The six essential nutrients are vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, water, and carbohydrates.

What are the 4 pillars of deep nutrition? ›

Lesson 3: There are Four Pillars to a healthy diet: bone-in meat, organs, fermented/sprouted food, and fresh food.

What is a eating window? ›

A popular example is the 16/8 method. It features a daily 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window wherein you can fit in 2, 3, or more meals. The 5:2 diet. The 5:2 diet involves eating as you normally do 5 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 on the remaining 2 days.

Do I need to take B12 if I'm vegetarian? ›

Plant-based foods do not naturally contain B12, so people who follow a vegetarian diet or vegan diet need to make sure they get enough each day to avoid a deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious health consequences, such as pernicious anemia.

How do vegetarians get vitamin B12? ›

Dietary sources

The main foods which provide vitamin B12 are derived from animals, such as dairy products and eggs. For people not eating any animal products, yeast extract and other fortified/supplemented foods such as breakfast cereals, soya milks, soya/veggie burgers, and vegetable margarines are all good sources.


1. Healthy, (Nutrient) Wealthy and Wise: Diet for Healthy Aging - Research on Aging
(University of California Television (UCTV))
2. How Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?
(Wall Street Journal)
3. How to Create a Healthy Plate
(My Doctor - Kaiser Permanente)
4. Is the vegetarian diet automatically the healthiest way to eat?
(Loma Linda University Health)
5. How the food you eat affects your brain - Mia Nacamulli
6. Top 5 Non-Dairy Vegan Everyday Food Super Rich in Calcium | Dr. Hansaji Yogendra
(The Yoga Institute)
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