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Switching to a vegetarian diet can have many benefits, both for an individual’s health and the planet. Making the shift to plant-based eating is now easier than ever before – the vegetarian community is vast, and many restaurants and other food establishments offer a range of vegan and vegetarian alternatives to classic dairy and meat dishes and produce.

Choosing the Right Vegetarian Diet

There are several different vegetarian diets, and it’s important that an individual selects the right one for themselves and their needs. Some of these diets allow the consumption of fish and dairy, while other are stricter. Veganism is the strictest of the vegetarian diets; followers not only exclude meat, poultry, fish and dairy from their diets but also animal-derived products such as gelatine and honey.

A vegetarian diet omits meat, poultry and most animal-based products. However, lacto-ovo vegetarianism allows both dairy and eggs, lacto vegetarianism prohibits the consumption of eggs but not dairy, and ovo vegetarianism permits the eating of eggs but not dairy products. Pescatarians generally follow the principles of vegetarianism but incorporate fish and seafood into their diet.

Take a look at the embedded PDF for information about some of the benefits of following a vegetarian diet.

Isis Monteverde

Pay Attention to Protein and Iron

Longstanding vegetarians such as life coach Isis Monteverde know that when following a vegetarian diet, it’s vital for an individual to ensure that they’re getting sufficient nutrients such as protein and iron. It’s entirely possible for vegetarians to get all the vitamins and minerals needed, as long as they’re aware of the foods they’ll need to eat to ensure this.

Non-meat sources of protein and iron include pulses, nuts, leafy greens and tofu, as well as dairy products and quinoa, the latter of which is perfect to incorporate into a salad. Dried fruits, particularly apricots, raisins and dates are good sources of iron. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, so having a glass of fruit juice with a meal could be a great way to maximise the benefits.

Make the Most of Vegetarian Substitutes

A great tip when getting started with a vegetarian diet is to make the most of vegetarian substitutes, such as using Quorn fillets in place of chicken fillets, switching minced beef for lentils and using beans instead of burger mince. As well as being an effective way of incorporating extra nutrients into the diet, they also offer a way of catering to a mixed crowd of meat and non-meat eaters.