A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. Instead, vegetarian eating patterns usually fall into the following groups:
- The vegan diet, which excludes all meat and animal products
- The lacto vegetarian diet, which includes plant foods plus dairy products
- The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes both dairy products and eggs
People who follow vegetarian diets can get all the nutrients they need. However, they must be careful to eat a wide variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs. Nutrients vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.
United States Department of Agriculture
- Food Sources of 5 Important Nutrients for Vegetarians (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Building a Healthy Vegetarian Diet: Myths and Facts (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Cuisine (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Renal Diet for Vegetarians: What about Protein? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Vegetarian Diet: Can It Help Me Control My Diabetes? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Vitamin B12 (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Plant-Based Diets and the Incidence of Asthma Symptoms among Elderly Women,...
- Article: Animal- and Plant-Based Protein Sources: A Scoping Review of Human Health...
- Article: Observational and clinical evidence that plant-based nutrition reduces dietary acid load.
- Vegetarian Diet -- see more articles
- Protein Foods for Your Vegetarian Child (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Staying Healthy on a Vegetarian Diet during Pregnancy (American College of Nurse-Midwives) - PDF