A well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs. Find out what you need to know about a plant-based diet.
Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet isn't as simple as scraping meat off your plate and eating what's left. You need to take extra steps to ensure you're meeting your daily nutritional needs.
A healthy vegetarian diet consists primarily of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because the emphasis is on nonmeat food sources, a vegetarian diet generally contains less fat and cholesterol, and typically includes more fiber.
Vegetarians fall into groups defined by the types of animal-derived foods they eat:
Vegans eat only plant-based foods. They don't eat foods from animals, including meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs and cheese.
Lacto-vegetarians consume milk and milk products along with plant-based foods. They omit eggs as well as meat, fish and poultry.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs, milk and milk products, such as cheese and yogurt, in addition to plant-based foods. They omit red meat, fish and poultry.