A vegetarian diet doesn't have meat, poultry, fish, and foods that have these items in them. There are many types. This article is about the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. It is based on plant foods, but also includes eggs and dairy.
There are many health benefits. It is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. It also has higher amounts of many vitamins and minerals than western diets. A well-balanced vegetarian diet may help:
People eat this way for many reasons, such as health benefits, concern for the environment, and concern for animal welfare.
It is based on plant foods such as grains, veggies, fruits, legumes, seeds, and nuts, as well as dairy and eggs. To make sure that you meet all your nutrient needs, be sure to eat a variety of each of these foods. Make sure that you get enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
This table is based on the United States Department of Agriculture food guide, Choose My Plate.
|Food Group||Tips||Key Nutrients|
|Protein Rich Foods||
|Fats and Sweets||
Eat Right—American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Vegetarian Resource Group
Dietitians of Canada
Toronto Vegetarian Association
Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am D Assoc. 2009;109(7):1266-1282.
Healthy eating for vegetarians. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-healthy-eating-for-vegetarians. Updated July 25, 2017. Accessed December 10, 2018.
Proteins food gallery. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgallery-protein-foods. Updated January 21, 2016. Accessed December 10, 2018.
Tips for vegetarians. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/tips-vegetarians. Updated March 7, 2018. Accessed December 10, 2018.
Vegetarian diet. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated June 30, 2017. Accessed December 10, 2018.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 12/10/2018