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This article instructs vegetarians on how to make their diet more balanced. Separating vegetarians from vegans, it describes foods to eat to make up for nutrients and vitamins the dieters miss out on. Non-meat eaters looking for ways to make their diet more balanced will find this information to be highly useful.

You can eat healthy and still maintain your vegetarian beliefs by following the Vegetarian Diet Pyramid. The pyramid helps you to know which foods should be consumed and have what your body needs for good health.

Vegetarians should follow the pyramid’s recommendations regarding the levels of food importance. The healthy vegetarian diet consists mainly of plant-based foods. There is an emphasis on nonmeat food sources, which means less fat and cholesterol as well as more fiber.

Not all vegetarians are equal. Some are vegans, lacto-vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and others are flexitarians. It can be difficult to determine how to eat the right foods. The pyramid shows various food groups and food choices within those groups and the correct quantities of those foods. A well-planned vegetarian diet can be the foundation of a proper and healthy diet.

No matter which type of vegetarian you are there are substitutes for the foods you avoid. If you avoid milk, you can drink fortified soymilk, ride milk, or almond milk. Rather than butter, sautéing is possible with olive oil, water, vegetable broth, wine or fat-free cooking spray. In the place of cheese, there are soy cheeses or nutritional yeast flakes, which can be found in health food stores.

Instead of eggs, try commercial egg replacements. Or you can replace one egg by with a 1/4 cup of whipped tofu, or a tablespoon of milled flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Use tofu instead of eggs when making an egg-free omelet.

A vegan diet will typically be lacking in vitamin B-12, calcium, iron and zinc. In a strict vegetarian diet you may be getting less of some of these same nutrients needed by your body, as well as protein. To make sure that you are getting these nutrients, make sure you get the protein you need by eating eggs, dairy products, soy products, or meat substitutes. Other options are legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

In order to get the calcium you need, eat low-fat dairy foods, and dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. Tofu is also enriched with calcium and fortified soymilk. Some fortified fruit juices are also sources of calcium. Vitamin B-12 can be received by eating soy products or by taking a supplement.

Iron can be replaced in a vegetarian diet by eating dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole grain products, dark leafy green vegetables and also dried fruit. It is also important that along with those foods a vegetarian consumes strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage or broccoli. Zinc can be obtained in a vegetarian diet by eating whole grains, soy products, nuts, and wheat germs.

This article described a healthy vegetarian diet. It offered substitutions and suggestions for ways to make up for essential substances that non-meat eaters often miss out on. With this information, vegetarian dieters can continue their way of living, while still receiving the same health benefits of an average consumer.