Vegetarian and vegan diets

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

Avoid: Meat, poultry, fish and meat derived products (e.g. gelatine)

Eat: Dairy products  (milk, cheese etc.) and eggs

Lacto-vegetarians

Avoid: Meat, poultry, fish, meat derived products (e.g. gelatine) and eggs

Eat: Dairy products (milk, cheese etc.)

Ovo-vegetarians

Avoid: Meat, poultry, fish, meat derived products (e.g. gelatine) and dairy products (milk, cheese etc.)

Eat: Eggs

Vegans

Avoid: Meat, poultry, fish, meat derived products (e.g. gelatine), dairy products (milk, cheese etc.) and eggs

 

Healthy eating

Both vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy and well balanced. As some food groups are excluded, you need to make sure you pay special attention to nutrients you might be missing out on.

When meat, poultry and fish are excluded, you need to make sure you are getting the following nutrients from other sources:

• Protein

• Iron

• Omega 3 fats (from oily fish)

Additionally, when dairy and eggs are also excluded in a vegan diet, focus on:

• Calcium

• Vitamin B12

 

Protein for vegetarians and vegans

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. Animal products contain a balance of amino acids, forming a complete protein, whereas plant products may lack some of these, forming incomplete proteins.

When plant products are the main source of protein, it is important to eat a variety to make sure you are getting the essential amino acids.

Vegan sources of protein

• Pulses such as lentils, beans and chick peas

• Soya products such as tofu, soya protein, soya milk and soya yogurts

• Nuts and seeds

• Grains such as wheat, barley, oats, rice and quinoa

• Vegan QuornTM products

Additional vegetarian sources of protein

• Dairy products such as, milk, yogurt and cheese

• Eggs

• Mycoprotein such as QuornTM products

 

Omega 3 fats

Omega 3 fats are mainly found in oily fish, so if this isn’t included in your vegetarian or vegan diet, there are alternative sources you can include in order to meet your body’s needs:

• Oils such as linseed (also known as flaxseed), rapeseed and soya oil

• Walnuts and pumpkin seeds

• Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and spring greens.

• Wholegrain cereals

• Vegetarian or vegan supplements

 

Did you know... ?

Your body cannot use the omega 3 from plants as efficiently as that from fish sources. To meet your body’s needs, include plant sources daily in your diet.

 

Calcium

In a vegetarian diet, sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. In a vegan diet, where these products are excluded, there are alternative sources you can use to meet your body's needs:

• Soya products such as tofu, soya milk and soya yogurts

• Dried figs

• Leafy green vegetables

• Nuts (especially almonds) and seeds

Top tip:

To help our body absorb calcium, we also need vitamin D, which is not found in plant foods. Most vitamin D is made in the body from sunlight, but there are also food sources that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans:

• Eggs (not suitable for vegans)

• Fortified breakfast cereals (not always suitable for vegans)

• Some dairy milk alternatives

 

Iron

Iron is important to keep our blood healthy and also to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Vegan and vegetarian sources include:

• Eggs (not suitable for vegans)

• Leafy green vegetables

• Wholemeal bread and fortified breakfast cereals (not always suitable for vegans)

• Dried fruit (especially apricots)

• Pulses such as lentils, beans and chick peas

Did you know…?

Iron from plant sources is not as easily absorbed as that from animal sources, but vitamin C enhances its absorption.

Aim to consume foods containing vitamin C with those that contain iron. For example, drink fruit juice with breakfast cereal, or squeeze fresh lemon juice over leafy green vegetables and salads.

 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is primarily found in red meat, but it can still be incorporated into vegetarian and vegan diets by including:

• Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt (not suitable for vegans)

• Yeast extract, for example MarmiteTM

• Fortified cereals (not always suitable for vegans)

 

Vegan friendly recipes

How can Waitrose help?

At Waitrose, we aim to offer our customers a wide a choice of food to suit their dietary requirements. We are broadening our range of vegetarian and vegan products, as well as moving forward with labelling of vegetarian and vegan foods.

Shopping online includes filters for vegetarian and vegan foods enabling you to shop easliy for your dieatary needs.

 

Useful websites

NHS Choices

 NHS Choices website

The Vegetarian Society

www.vegsoc.org

The Vegan Society

www.vegansociety.com