Vegetarian / Pescatarian / Vegan

vegetarian will choose not to consume meat, poultry or fish, but may eat other animal products such as milk and eggs

pescatarian will not eat meat or poultry but will eat fish

A vegan will choose not to consume any animal products including meat, fish, eggs, milk

In order to reap the benefits of a plant based diet it is important to plan so that the diet is nutritious, healthy and meets your nutritional needs.

Some nutrients to consider: animal products are particularly high in protein, iron and calcium and without these in the diet, care is needed to obtain enough of some of these nutrients.

Protein- Good vegetarian sources of protein include:

  • Beans: kidney beans, butter beans, baked beans, runner beans, haricots, cannellini beans, flageolet beans, pinto beans and borlotti beans
  • Lentils: red, green, yellow and brown lentils
  • Peas: Garden peas, black-eyed peas and chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds
  • Tofu and Quorn
  • Dairy and eggs: If you eat these, they also provide a lot of protein

Top tips

  • Have a mix of protein foods
  • Try dairy alternatives, but make sure they have been fortified (with Calcium and other minerals)
  • Get your B12 – as you can only get B12 naturally from animal products you may need to take a supplement. Some B12 may be found in fortified foods such as yeast extracts, and fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified dairy alternatives
  • Calcium – if you don’t eat dairy, try fortified dairy alternatives. Some calcium is also found in almonds, calcium set tofu, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, red kidney beans and sesame seeds
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3 is usually best sourced from oily fish but veggie / vegan friendly options include walnuts, rapeseed oil, flaxseeds, linseeds, and chia seeds!
  • Plant sources of iron are less well absorbed than from animal sources. Some sources of iron include dried fruit, dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, wholegrains, nuts, pulses, peas, beans and lentils. Vitamin C helps absorb iron from food.
  • Iodine – If you eat plant based foods only, you are at risk of deficiency. There is some iodine in seaweed, iodine fortified plant based dairy alternatives.
  • Base your meals on starchy wholegrain carbohydrates and vegetables in line with the Eatwell Guide
  • Mix it up! Being a vegetarian or vegan doesn’t just limit you to salad – check out some of our recipes.