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Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition

What is a Vegetarian?

  • Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry, but may eat eggs, milk, cheese, or dairy products.
  • Vegans are vegetarians who abstain from eating all animal products, including milk, cheese, other dairy items, and eggs

Possible Benefits

  1. Diets high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and some cancers
  2. Vegetarians should limit fat and sweets intake to reap the benefits.
  3. People who are not vegetarian can also see health benefits by increasing fruits, vegetable, and whole grain intake and limiting high fat high sugar foods.

Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition

People who choose a vegetarian diet can meet their nutritional needs by following some simple guidelines.

Eat a variety of foods

Choose calcium rich foods such as dairy products. Or, if you want to go animal free, choose fortified orange juice or soy milk; leafy greens such as bok choy, broccoli, collards, or kale; or almonds.

Include two servings of food with omega-3 fats daily. Non-animal choices include flaxseed, canola, or soybean oil; ground flax seeds; or walnuts.

Get adequate vitamin D . Spend about 20 minutes in the sun each day with your face and hands exposed. Choose foods fortified with vitamin D, such as soymilk or some cold cereals.

Eat three sources of foods high in vitamin B12 daily . Vitamin B12 is found almost solely in animal products. If you eat dairy products, milk, yogurt, and eggs all contain vitamin B12. If you don't eat animal products, try fortified breakfast cereals, meat alternatives, or take a B12 supplement.

Choose non-meat protein sources daily such as beans, legumes, nuts

Vegan children may have a hard time meeting calorie needs. Their tummies may feel full before eating enough to meet nutrient needs. Parents should monitor growth and assure children are getting enough calories. Children may also need a vitamin/mineral supplement.

Nutrition Recommendations

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