In this article, you will find the following information:

Key Messages

  • Well planned vegetarian and vegan diets can be nutritious and healthy
  • The UK government suggest a vegetarian diet should be based on the Eatwell Guide
    • Have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
    • Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates – especially whole grains and high fibre versions
    • Include some dairy or dairy alternatives (for example calcium-fortified soya, rice and oat drinks), choose lower fat and lower sugar products where possible
    • Choose a variety of protein sources, for example pulses (lentils, beans and peas), eggs, Quorn ™ (mycoprotein) and soya products e.g. soya mince or textured vegetable protein (TVP)
    • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts. Unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fats (found, for example, in olive and rapeseed oil) and polyunsaturated fats (found in for example sunflower and corn oil)
    • Drink plenty of fluids – the government recommends 6-8 cups/glasses a day
    • Remember that food high in fats, salts and sugars like cakes, biscuits, fried savoury snacks, pies, pastries and sugar sweetened soft drinks are not needed in the diet so if you include these, eat them less often and in small amounts
  • When eating a meal with plant sources of iron like pulses (e.g. kidney beans, chickpeas or lentils), dark green veg or an iron-fortified breakfast cereal try to include some vitamin C to increase iron absorption (by adding some vegetables such as peppers or broccoli to your meal or berries to your cereal)
  • For vegans who strictly avoid all animal products, other sources of vitamin B12 such as vitamin B12 fortified foods or supplements should be included

 

Did you know?

The sugars we need to reduce are called ‘Free sugars’. Free sugars include all added sugars in foods and drinks in whatever form including table sugar, honey, syrups, and nectars, as well as the sugars naturally present in fruit, vegetable and pulses (e.g. soy, chickpeas) that have been juiced, pureed or made into pastes. Ingredients added such as lactose and galactose are also considered to be free sugars.