It is important to inform vegetarians that they include all nutrients in their diet. Below are some nutrients that are commonly lacking in vegetarian diets, as welll as how to incorporate them into the diet.
If you choose to avoid meat products, make sure you get all of the following nutrients.
Iron is not easily absorbed in plants. The non-heme iron is not as well absorbed as it is in meat.
You can get iron from these foods:
- Fortified breads or grains
- Legumes, soy products and dried fruits
- Foods prepared in cast iron or stainless steel cookware also provide iron
Calcium intake is comparable to or higher than that of the non-vegetarian diet.
You can get calcium from these foods:
- Dairy products, that includes yogurt, milk, cottage cheese and cheese
- Dark leafy vegetables, that includes kale, broccoli, bok choy and collard greens
- Calcium fortified products such as cereal, tofu, orange juice, soy, almond, chia seeds and rice milk
3. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally only in animal products. This vitamin is needed to help prevent anemia.
You can get B12 from:
- Used as am additive to products such as cereals and soy products
- Maybe taken as a supplement
4. Linolenic Acid
Linolenic acid is a dietary fatty acid that helps in muscle tone, tissue strength, blood clotting, heart function and cholesterol metabolism.
You can obtained them by consuming:
- Fish and eggs
- Walnuts, soybeans, flax-seeds and canola oils
The zinc found in plants is not as easily absorbed as zinc from animal sources.
Zinc can be found in the following:
- Whole grains, nuts, seeds and soy products
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin cannot be obtain in enough quantities in plants alone. Milk is the largest source of vitamin D due to the fortification of the vitamin.
Vitamin D can also be found in:
- Fortified soy milk and cereal
- It can also be obtain by spending 10 minutes in the sun each day.
What You Should Know About a Vegetarian Diet:
A vegetarian diet is a meal plan made up of foods that come mostly from plants. These include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, seeds, legumes and nuts. It may also include milk and eggs.
A vegetarian diet does not contain animal proteins. A semi-vegetarian diet, on the other hand, contains little animal protein. Vegetarians DO NOT eat, beef, pork, fish, fowl and lamb. Some also do not eat products that contain rennin or gelatin, a compound present in calf’s stomach, that is used to produce many cheeses.
Different Types of Vegetarian Diets:
- Vegan: Includes only plant-based foods. It does not contain animal proteins or any animal by-products such as milk, eggs and honey.
- Lacto-vegetarian: Includes plant foods, and some or all dairy products.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Includes dairy products, eggs and plant foods.
- Semi or partial vegetarian: Includes plant foods and may also include fish or chicken, eggs and dairy products. It does not include red meat.
- Pescatarian: Includes seafoods and plant foods