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Vegetarian diet
Vegetarian diet

A vegetarian diet
What you need to know and recipe ideas

A vegetarian diet in general, avoids meat and fish and products derived from these but, did you know there are actually several types:

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

 

And of course, there are many individuals taking the flexitarian approach, eating a predominantly vegetarian diet with more plant based foods and less meat.  Increasing plant based foods in your diet can be advantageous for health, with an increase in fibre and a decrease in saturated fat, being the key benefits.  Avoiding meat and fish in the diet completely can mean that certain nutrients are less abundant, but good planning can ensure all your nutrient requirements are met.

Protein

Protein

 

It is often thought that vegetarian diets contain less protein than a meat based diets, but there are so many vegetarian sources of protein, it would be hard to not meet your protein requirements. 

Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, dairy products and eggs are all great sources of protein, eaten widely in a vegetarian diet.  Try to include a food source of protein with each meal to ensure you get a variety of protein types.

Omega 3

Omega 3

 

Omega 3 fats are mainly found in oily fish, but 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

Plant sources of Omega 3 fats need to be converted to a different form of omega 3 in the body, and we're not always that good at this conversion.  Increase your intake by making simple swaps, like using rapeseed oil instead of sunflower oil.

Iron

Iron

 

Iron is important  to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Iron from plant
sources is not as easily absorbed as that from animal sources, but 
vitamin C enhances its absorption.

Vegetarian sources include eggs, leafy green vegetables, wholemeal bread and fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruit, pulses such as lentils, beans and chick peas.

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

 

Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism and the nervous system.  It isn't produced by plants, but can still be incorporated into a vegetarian diet by including: dairy, eggs, yeast extract, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified milk alternatives.

Vegetarian recipes