Whether you have just made the transition to a vegetarian diet or you've been a vegetarian for years sometimes it can be hard to get all the nutrients you need for a healthy diet. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet, similar to any other diet, is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Plus you have to limit your intake of sweets and fatty foods.
An ideal vegetarian diet is one with lots of protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3. Sources of protein include, but are not limited to: beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, chickpeas, peas and whole grain bread. Good sources of iron include: dried fruits, baked potatoes, mushrooms, cashews, dried beans, spinach, chard and tofu. You can get the calcium you need from broccoli, collard greens or orange juice. Although the adult recommended intake for vitamin B12 is very low, it is still very important. A diet containing dairy products or eggs provides adequate vitamin B12. Finally, good sources of omega-3 are: flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans, and walnuts.
Although chips, fries and sugary snacks are "vegetarian" foods it is still extremely important to realize that your diet should not be filled with these foods. Indulging in a snack once every now and then is fine but making a habit of having these foods everyday is not a healthy choice at all.
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