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
- Digging a Vegetarian Diet: Plant-Based Eating Can Reap Rewards (National Institutes of Health)
- Food Sources of Important Nutrients (for Vegetarians) (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Healthy Eating for Vegetarians: 10 Tips for Vegetarians (Department of Agriculture) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Vegetarian Choices in the Protein Foods Group (Department of Agriculture)
- Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Beans and Other Legumes: Types and Cooking Tips (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Building a Healthy Vegetarian Meal: Myths and Facts (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Could Switching to a Vegetarian Diet Cure My Diabetes? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Dentist Should Advise Vegetarians on Good Oral Health (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Cuisine (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Renal Diet for Vegetarians: Which Protein Sources Are Best? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Vegan Food Guide (Nemours Foundation)
- Vegetarian Diet: Will It Help Me Lose Weight? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Vitamin B-12 (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Peak Torque Differences between Vegetarian and Omnivore...
- Article: "A Vegetarian vs. Conventional Hypocaloric Diet: The Effect on Physical...
- Article: The Effect of Vegan Protein-Based Diets on Metabolic Parameters, Expressions...
- Vegetarian Diet -- see more articles
- Staying Healthy on a Vegetarian Diet during Pregnancy (American College of Nurse-Midwives) - PDF