Vegetarian Diets

vegatarian-dietPeople choose vegetarian diets for a number of reasons; an aversion to killing animals, a reluctance to eat meat, or a simple choice towards a different way of life.

There are a number of different vegetarian diets. Although it need not be a completely restrictive diet. The core theme across all vegetarian diets is the avoidance of all red meat (such as beef, lamb, and pork).

Types of Vegetarian

  • Vegan – Eats no food sourced from animals
  • Lacto-ovo – Includes milk and eggs.
  • Lacto – Allows milk but will not eat eggs.
  • Ovo – Eats eggs only – but no other animal foods.
  • Pesco – Eats fish but no other animal foods (pescetarian)
  • Pollo – Allows chicken
  • Fruitarian (sub-set of vegan – includes only fruiting portion of plant).

As vegetarian diets are based on consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, these diets are high in fiber. They have other health advantages in that they are normally lower in calories, saturated fat, and refined sugars.

With the correct understanding and careful planning, all types of vegetarian diet can provide adequate nutrition.

Nutrients to be aware of

The main nutrients that must be emphasized are; protein, iron, calcium, zinc, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.

Lacto/ovo diets provide protein by means of milk and egg white.

On a vegan diet, protein needs must be met by legumes (nuts, peas, lentils, beans, etc). Combining beans and other legumes with various dishes can provide the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein – normally a gram per kilogram of body weight. While Soy milk is an excellent source of protein, it has high estrogen levels which, being a factor in the physical maturing process, is undesirable for the vegan child. Calcium for vegans is available in vegetables like broccoli.

Typical Vegetarian Eating Plan

Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
  • Cereal / cooked oats / muesli (granola) with full-cream / low-fat milk.
  • Grapefruit / grapefruit juice
  • Wholemeal toast with butter (or margarine)
  • Full-cream or low-fat milk
  • Water, tea, coffees, herbal tea
  • Cottage cheese
  • Wholemeal toast with butter (or margarine) plus other spreads.
  • Orange or orange juice
  • Low-fat milk, water, tea, coffee, herbal tea.
  • Muesli (granola) or oatmeal with soya milk and sugar.
  • Wholemeal toast with margarine plus spreads.
  • Orange or orange juice.
Lunch Lunch Lunch
  • Barley soup
  • Mixed green salad with salad dressing
  • Cottage cheese
  • Wholemeal bread with butter (or margarine)
  • Fruit
  • Bean soup
  • Sesame crackers
  • Salad
  • Baked apple
  • Low-fat milk
  • Split pea soup
  • Wholemeal bread with margarine plus spreads
  • Fruit and seed salad, and tofu ice cream
Dinner Dinner Dinner
  • Soya bean and brown rice casserole
  • Bake pumpkin
  • Coleslaw and mayonnaise
  • Wholemeal bread with butter
  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Wholemeal bread roll with butter or margarine
  • Fruit yogurt
  • Vegetable paella
  • Spinach
  • Pear
Snacks Snacks Snacks
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Milk
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Pear
  • Cheese
  • Wholemeal crackers
  • Prunes
  • Roasted soya beans
  • Wholemeal roll
  • Buttermilk
  • Shelled almonds
  • Peach
  • Raisins


Veganism is more of a philosophy than just a diet. A vegan has an ethical standard to treat all animals with respect and love. Therefore, a true vegan does not use any animal products including those for clothing or cosmetics.

Many use the term vegan interchangeably with vegetarian, but actually it isn’t the same. All vegans are vegetarians but not all vegetarians are vegans.

There are many processed foods that are made specifically for vegans: hot dogs, burgers, taco filling, ground beef, chicken strips, mayonnaise, sour cream, ice cream, chili (Hormel). These products are made with meat substitutes – such as soy our texturized wheat gluten.

More sample vegan menus

Breakfast: Rice krispies with soy milk.
Lunch: Vegetable soup with crackers.
Dinner: Fajita salad with veggie chicken strips (by Morningstar Farms).
Snack: Peanut butter with carrot sticks.


Breakfast: Apple cinnamin oatmeal.
Lunch: Baked potatoes with Smart Balance.
Dinner: Spaghetti.
Snack: Tortilla chips and salsa.

Popular Vegetarian Diets

95% Vegan Diet Allows for 5% of the vegan diet to include animal products.
Vegan Before 6:00 Encourages dieters to follow a vegan diet before 6 to improve health.
Teen Vegetarian Diet A Smart Girls Guide to Going Vegetarian. Offers many different versions of a plant based diet.
Plant Powered Diet Highlights the health and weight loss benefits associated with eating more whole plant foods. This book offers a flexible approach that does not require becoming a vegan or giving up meat completely.
30 Day Vegan Challenge A practical guide to help you get started with a vegan diet. It provides tips and advice on subjects including meeting your nutritional requirements and dealing with the social challenges associated with following a vegan lifestyle.
Crazy Sexy Diet A low-fat, vegetarian – or better yet, vegan – program that emphasizes balancing your body’s pH by eating more lush whole foods, low-glycemic fruits, raw veggies, alkalizing green drinks, and super-powered green smoothies.
Diet-to-Go They provide a vegetarian option as part of their popular meal delivery service
Dr. McDougall Diet A low fat plant-based diet that has been used by many dieters with success to achieve weight loss and for the management of conditions including heart disease and diabetes.
Eat to Live 6 week vegetarian rapid weight loss plan.
Engine 2 Diet: 28 Day Firefighter Diet Created by Rip Esselstyn, a professional athlete turned firefighter, who converted a firehouse full of committed carnivores to a plant-based diet, in the process improving their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. It involves a low-fat vegan diet and includes lots of tasty recipes.
Forks Over Knives A book advocating the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet. It was written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., who are both specialists in the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases through dietary adjustment.
Kind Diet Alicia Silverstone’s vegan diet.
Nutrisystem They offer a vegetarian option for their popular meal delivery service.
Ornish Diet Mostly vegetarian except for eggs and some dairy.
Quick and Easy Vegan Cookbook The 30-Minute Vegan is a quick and easy vegan cookbook that includes over 175 recipes that can be prepared in half an hour or less.
Self Healing Colitis and Crohn’s This vegan diet show’s how these conditions can be treated with diet.
Starch Solution Dr. John McDougall outlines the scientific research in support of the health and weight loss benefits of a starch-based diet.
Thrive Foods Plant Based Recipes A cookbook created by professional Ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier. The book provides dieters with options for meals that are high in nutrients in relation to their calories.
Veganist: Kathy Freston Includes step-by-step instructions that will allow you to gradually adopt a vegan diet to improve your health and support the environment.
Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet Highlights the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy and provides women with the information they need to create a nutritionally balanced vegetarian diet.

Resources – The Vegetarian Society – The Vegetarian Resource Group

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Le, L. T., & Sabaté, J. (2014). Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts. Nutrients, 6(6), 2131-2147. link
  • McEvoy, C. T., Temple, N., & Woodside, J. V. (2012). Vegetarian diets, low-meat diets and health: a review. Public health nutrition, 15(12), 2287-2294. link
  • Tantamango-Bartley, Y., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Fan, J., & Fraser, G. (2013). Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 22(2), 286-294. link

37 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. Jackie

    For a majority of vegetarians, it isn’t the fact that we never liked meat. We just feel a close connection with animals and want to be healthier :3.

  2. lisa

    you guys are all so annoying about arguing what a vegetarian is and isn’t.
    bottom line: they don’t eat cows, chikens, all that crap.

    the pesketarians still puke and everything if they have any real meat, face it: fish doesn’t really count. so shut up.

    they live longer, since they aren’t clogging up their systems with yummy fat and cholesterol from cute little farm animals. plus, they are skinnier. sure, eat your “lean beef” and everything, but it’ll still hit your love handles. <3

  3. Jaide

    Haha, the suggested menu makes me feel like a fat you-know-what. PETA and their “accidentally vegan” list totally ruined any chances of veganism equating to weight loss for me. Fruity pebbles … oreos … chips … oh my!

  4. Maxx

    Interesting site, but ‘Vegetable’ has no scientific meaning. It is a culinary and cultural term. By the way mushrooms, being fungi, are scientifically closer to animals.

    Hey Vegans, I really don’t have a problem with you feeling superior to us BBQ loving meat eaters and saving the world. It is a noble gesture in today’s world.

    However, I prefer a balanced diet and nothing goes better with smoked BBQ than a good coleslaw and beans.


  5. Victoria

    Today It’ll be 5 months of being vegetarian. I know its not long but im proud of myself. and im only 13

  6. Lindsey

    Becoming vegetarian is so, so healthy.

    I am an ovo-pescetarian, and I have never felt better in my life. Becoming vegetarian requires a lot of research, but it’s worth it.

  7. Mimi

    The last time I checked vegetarian meant one who consumes vegetation. If you are consuming eggs, milk or any other animal products, you are not a vegetarian!

    • E

      Last time I checked you were wrong

  8. Ash

    Uhm. I just decided that I wanted to become a pescetarian(for those who may not kniw what this means: its someone who eats fish and veggies, fruit, dairy; no other animals) and yea I know it’s not a vegetarian. That’s why it’s NOT called a vegetarian. So calm down people.

  9. Dixie

    I have been a lacto ovo vegetarian for 38 years and always laugh at the absurd concept when someone calls themselves a vegetarian but still eats flesh. Chicken and fish have to be killed for consumption and violates the basic premise of why people are a vegetarian after all. A carnivore is a carnivore, there is no kinder and gentler meat eating vegetarian. Let’s get real.

  10. RedsterLA

    To be a vegetarian you cannot eat flesh — any creature that has a face or has babies. Period. Eating fish, fowl or any other flesh automatically disqualifies you as a vegetarian because you are consuming flesh.

    I’ve been a vegetarian since 1986, am in good health and get plenty of protein. Vegetarian and vegan sources of protein include legumes, nuts & beans (for both) and milk & non-fertile egg products (vegetarians). The fallacy of becoming weak & diseased by a vegetarian or vegan diet is an antiquated notion that continues to be perpetuated by those who profit from selling and serving corpses as food.

    What we today call “meat” was, in days of yore referred to as “flesh” and what, in days of yore was called “meat” merely meant “food” — going all the way back to the time of Pythagoras.

    In 1924, Archibald Henderson, asked of the then 68-year-old George Bernard Shaw:
    “So be a good fellow and tell me how you succeeded in remaining so youthful.”

    To which Shaw replied:
    “I don’t. I look my age; and I am my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What can you expect from people who eat corpses and drink spirits?”

    Shaw lived to the ripe old age of 94. Albert Einstein worked until the day he died at age 76 (literally, since he took a draft of a speech to the hospital to work on). A pretty good run for someone born in 1879.

    And consider this… in addition to the above-named folks, other bright, significant minds in our history were vegetarians — including Socrates, Plato, Da Vinci, Tolstoy, Tagore, Buddha, Rousseau, Shelley, Thoreau, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer.

    Yeah… what a pack of weak, soft, disease-ridden do-nothings. 😉

  11. lavone

    Of course, vegetarians eat NO animal, fowl, or fish flesh.
    If you eat flesh, you are no vegetarian.

    brian, exactly why do you make such a generalized, false statement concerning ALL vegetarians??
    I could counter with an equally false generalization, “all carnivores have plaque-packed arteries, and are heart attacks waiting to happen.”

  12. brian

    vegetarians are weak, will acquire diseases such as rickets, iron deficiency anemia, have decreased energy levels, loss of skin pigment and overall become soft if they do not eat meat. if you are concerned about the welfare of animals buy from local farms that do not mistreat animals with small living conditions, chemically induced fattening agents and other inhumane variables. it is part of evolutionary nature to consume animals

    • Al

      Been eating a vegan diet for most of my life and I can outrun and lift heavier than most at the gym. Certainly doesn’t make me weak.

  13. Lillian

    Uh, as has been mentioned by others, you CANNOT be a vegetarian and still eat chicken and fish – since when did chicken and fish become fruits and vegetables? They are animals, not plants! I repeat, you CANNOT be on a vegetarian diet or be a vegetarian and still eat animal flesh!

  14. mary

    thanks , best search all day

  15. deepti

    I want to know which vegetable contains protien

  16. Vegan Eating Out

    Thank you for including a vegan diet. It’s becoming more popular and much easier to sustain than people think.

  17. nadine

    I’ve been vegetarian for 3 yrs this week. I stopped eating meat while pregnant with my second child. I chose this way of living for many reasons, but mainly for my own preference. I don’t like eating meat. My meals sound a lot like the vegan menu. I have not lost weight, in fact I’m about 60 pounds overweight (and now pregnant with my 3rd child, but have not gained any weight yet). Most unhealthy foods are meatless-potato chips, homemade cookies and french fries are my downfall. I still believe that this is the most wholesome way of eating-no chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, etc in the food-esp if you include whole grains and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
    I agree with Moogy. It’s easy. You don’t miss what isn’t there. My food tastes like food (which is why I eat too much of it. YUM!) You don’t need degree in nutrition or a lot of complicated menus, recipes exotic ingredients or cooking techniques. Just get a simple cookbook with recipes that use fresh veggies and whole grains and start cooking.

  18. CLARA

    i like this diet it helped me alot

  19. Mel

    I am looking for a vegetarian diet, where I can eat eggs, fish, vegetables and fruit.
    Is it possible that you can give me an example of a free menu diet.

    Many thanks

  20. HndR

    i have been a lacto ovo vegetarian for like two months, but i didnt do it for the the diet benefits. I did it for the animals.

    but yes the diet benefits are a bonus!

  21. gonatomigratesoon

    The listed food list seem alittle diff from what I’ve been eating ;Am from Asia thus the above menu seem like western. Moogy’s comments are very useful and encouraging esp the part whereby it says “you’ll learn to love food as its supposed to taste”. And that’s what I’d experienced after I’m on such diet. But am lazy to learn nutrition thus am now a lacto-ovo at times and a vegan at other times. Well as i worried i’ll be mul-nutrition. But i’m definetly against eating animals and its any product; too cruel!

  22. BB

    i never been a vegitarian but i might try it now….

  23. Moogy

    I have been a vegetarian for 14 years and a vegan for the last 4. It is EASY. To do it properly you have to pay attention to your body – eat whole foods in their natural form as much as possible and stay away from anything that is processed with copious amounts of bleach (white bread, bagged salads), sugar (white bread again, packaged cereals and granola bars), salt (canned foods, most frozen and otherwise packaged foods).
    Again, you’ll learn to love food as its supposed to taste, your body and digestion will reward you. It’s easy, just learn a little about REAL food and nutrition.

  24. EL PANDA


  25. Tish

    This is ridiculous, me and my family have been vegetarian all our lives (because of religion) and we don’t eat diets anything like the ones listed, and I don’t know any vegetarians that do. Its not a health food diet, I know heaps of overweight vegetarians, becasue most unhealthy foods are not meat. also peco- and pollo- cant be added to vegetarian because the definition of vegetarian is someone who doesnt eat meat

  26. Isha

    any body knows how many pounds you’ll lose???????????

  27. Kiki

    Going vegan is the best thing you can for yourself, the planet, and the animals. 🙂

  28. Anne

    Many thanks, I was tempted with Idiot diet but you changed my mind.

  29. Cit...

    Thanks it is very good diet!

  30. Tina

    thanks for the help on my project!!!

  31. Joe

    Great diet… Will try.

  32. Kyle

    thanks a lot it really helped

  33. Kyle Malec

    This is what vegetarian people eat, my sister TIFFANY will since she wants to be a vegetarian so much.

  34. kindra

    This site was very helpful thanks!!!

  35. vanessa

    thanks tons, best search all day