Nutritional concepts of a Vegetarian Diet

Being a vegetarian  is beneficial  but people on vegetarian diet need to keep in their mind few considerations and follow them to keep themselves healthy.



Note  that diet and lifestyle choices affect chronic diseases.

Understand plant protein replacing animal protein results in lower cholesterol levels.

Limit food choices that are high in saturated fat and transfatty acids.

Vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension.

Consider making changes in your diet to give  yourself supple amount of following nutrients..



Select three servings per day. Vitamin B12 –fortified foods include some brands of cereal (Cheerios, Total, and Wheaties), meat analogues, soy milk, and nutritional yeast. Eggs and dairy products also have vitamin B12 . Patients following a vegan diet need B12-fortified foods or vegan supplements.

Lacto- ova vegetarians eating dairy products and eggs occasionally may need B12 – fortified foods or supplements. Vegetables are not a reliable source of B12. B12 deficiency is sometimes irreversible.  Chewing vitamin B12 supplement increases absorption. The pharmacist is a resource to recommend a vegan supplement.  Companies clearly label vegan supplements.



Eat a variety of plant foods daily, including soy foods, grains, legumes, and nuts.  Relax about protein needs. Special combinations of protein foods are not required at each meal. Adding protein powder is not a requirement of a healthy vegetarian diet



Vegetarians who use dairy products have calcium intake similar to the general population. Nondairy calcium sources include greens  broccoli, calcium-set tofu, and calcium-fortified foods, including orange juice, soy/rice milks, and breakfast cereals.

Patients may need calcium supplements. The pharmacist will recommend which calcium salt is best absorbed. Age, medications, and health conditions may change the supplement recommended.

Spread calcium supplements over the day.

Vitamin D sources include fortified soy/ rice milks, fortified cow’s milk, and fortified breakfast cereal. Sunlight exposure promotes vitamin D production(10 minutes a day).



Linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) are essential fatty acids. Soybeans, Whole grains, nuts, and vegetable oils have LA. Flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and soybean/canola oils have ALA.

Seeds and nut are a healthy alternative to foods that contain trans-fatty acids. Vegetarian diets are not necessarily low in fat. Avoid restricting fat in infant meal plans.



Good sources of iron include whole grains, fortified cereals, dried beans, and soy products. Continue use of iron-fortified infant cereals through the infant’s first year. Vitamin C is abundant in vegetarian diets. Include vitamin C sources (for example, orange juice, tomato, or peppers) at every meal to increase iron absorption of nonheme iron by reducing dietary ferric iron to ferrous iron. The incidence of iron deficiency anemia is similar among vegetarians and no vegetarians.



Offer small portions of nutrient- rich foods:

  •         Soy smoothie with fruit
  •     Hot cereal with dried fruit
  • Peanut butter noodles
  • Whole-grain bread with nut butters
  • Soy milkshakes



All children (except infants) can follow a vegetarian diet and remain healthy as long as parents/ caregivers are aware of good sources of calcium, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D and B12. Consider referring to an RD who specializes in eating disorders. Vegetarian meal choices do not predict eating disorders. Eaters with a disorder may disguise their change in eating behavior by this initial restriction.