Rose Elliot,  What Being Vegetarian or Vegan Means

How to be a Healthy Vegetarian or Vegan

Getting all the nutrients you need

If you build your meals around a variety of foods, including fruit and vegetables, grains and products made from them (e.g. rice, bread, pasta), dried beans and lentils, nuts and/or seeds, a little healthy oil, with or without dairy produce, you will be healthy and you will get all the nutrients you need.

Here’s how this might work out over a day. You don’t need to keep to this plan rigidly; if your diet generally follows these guidelines, you’ll be doing fine.

Note that ‘a portion’ is, for example, a slice of bread, an apple, a glass of milk or two tablespoons of cooked beans or grains. A typical serving at a meal might well consist of more than one portion.

Fruit and vegetables

5 portions daily at least, even 7 or 10 – the more the better.

East fresh, frozen, juiced, canned or dried fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals. Try and have a good serving of dark green leafy vegetables as often as possible – they’re so full of rich nutrients.

Alternatives to meat and fish

2–3 portions daily.

Include a wide variety of beans and lentils, nuts, seeds,( and eggs if vegetarian) soya or wheat protein ‘meats’ and tofu for protein, minerals and vitamins.

Milk and soya milk products

2–3 portions daily.

These can be cows' milk and products,(for vegetarians)  or soya milk and yogurt or other non-dairy milks such as oat milk, rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk for us vegans.

Bread, cereals, potatoes

5 portions daily.

Try to use the wholegrain versions as often as possible and try some of the more unusual and nutritious grains such as millet, buckwheat and quinoa: see the Recipes section for a delicious millet recipe: Avocado, Millet and Peppery Leaves.

Essential fat

Try to include 1 heaped tablespoonful of finely ground linseeds (flaxseed) or 1–2 tablespoons flaxseed oil every day, plus a few walnuts and walnut oil often.

Foods containing sugar

Try to eat these sparingly as exceptional treats and not as part of your everyday diet.

For some delicious and healthy meal ideas, visit the Recipes pages. 

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