A vegetarian focuses on plants as sources of nutrients rather than meat, poultry, seafood, and fish. What do vegetarians eat? The meatless meals are plant-strong and nutrient dense, packed with delicious vegetables, fruits, healthy carbs, and meatless proteins. There are various types of vegetarian diets, including lacto-ovo, lacto-vegetarian, and vegan.
What does it mean to be vegetarian vs. vegan? Vegetarians avoid meat, poultry, seafood, and fish, while vegans avoid all foods that come from animals in any way. This includes milk-based products, eggs, and honey.
Large studies have shown that vegetarians are at lower risk of developing certain types of cancer due to factors like low fat content, high fiber, and lack of carcinogenic compounds produced during cooking.
Much research supports the health benefits of a plant-based, healthy vegetarian diet, where most of the calories we consume come from grains, vegetables and fruits. In addition to certain types of cancer, following a vegetarian diet compared to the standard American diet can lower the risk of chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
A plant-strong vegetarian diet should be balanced to include daily consumption of a variety of foods from all plant groups, such as grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, plant oils, herbs and spices. To maximize nutritional value, your vegetarian diet should focus on whole, minimally processed foods.
Going vegetarian is easier than it’s ever been! There used to be concern that vegetarians wouldn’t get enough iron and other nutrients that meat provide, but by choosing colorful foods, combining protein and fiber in a meal, and learning about alternatives to meat (like tofu and nuts), vegetarianism can be healthy and exciting.
Ready to make your vegetarian grocery shopping list? Be sure to add vegetarian essentials like protein sources, healthy grains, and fruits and vegetables. Here’s a list to get you started:
Terra’s Kitchen offers a variety of dietary options based on the principles of the Mediterranean lifestyles, including Paleo, vegetarian, low-calorie, and gluten-free. Love it all? We have plenty of options for you.