Healthy Eating for Vegetarians

Follow our advice on healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans to ensure you have a balanced and varied diet.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you should eat a wide variety of foods and have a healthy balanced diet to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs.

Vegetarians and vegans don’t eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea (such as crab or lobster) or animal by-products (such as gelatine).

Vegetarians eat a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and eggs.

Vegetarians who also don’t eat eggs and dairy products are called vegans.

Some people who call themselves vegetarians may eat different combinations of these foods. For example, some may consume milk but not eggs, while some may eat fish but not meat.

There are three main types of vegetarian:

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

Lacto vegetarians

  • Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs.

Vegans

  • Vegans don’t eat dairy products, eggs or any other animal product.

Around 2% of the UK population is vegetarian, which is more than 1.2 million people. Teenagers make up the highest proportion.

A vegetarian or vegan diet can be suitable for everyone, regardless of their age. However, you may need to consider specific needs at different stages of life, for example if you’re pregnant.

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