Eat Smart. Be Well.

Nutrition Tips for Vegetarians & Vegans

A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. While all vegetarians focus on plant-based foods, there are a few variations for vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: avoid muscle meats, but still consume both dairy products and eggs
  • Lacto-vegetarians: avoid muscle meats and eggs, but still consume dairy products
  • Ovo-vegetarians: avoid muscle meats and dairy, but still consume eggs
    Vegan: avoid all animal foods including muscle meats, eggs, dairy, and other products which are derived from animals such as honey.
  • Vegans: eat only plant based foods.
heart shaped cutting board with fruits, vegetables, nuts and salmon with athletic shoes and hand weights in background

While vegetarian and vegan diets can be very healthy, there are a few nutrients to make sure you get enough of.   If you choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, be sure to incorporate the following foods into your meals and snacks for the best nutrition.

  • Protein foods –  Soy products such as soy milk and meat substitutes, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, and whole grains
  • Calcium containing foods – Spinach, turnip and collard greens, kale, broccoli, okra, sesame seeds, turnip greens, soybeans, soy yogurt, fortified soymilk, and tofu enriched with calcium
  • Vitamin B-12 containing foods – Enriched cereals, fortified soy products, seaweed, and supplements that contains vitamin B-12
  • Iron containing foods – Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, enriched cereals, and dried apricots
  • Zinc containing foods – Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, and oats

For further questions or concerns on the vegetarian diet, consult a registered dietitian or qualified health professional.

This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.