Keeping a vegetarian diet balanced

Senior dietitian Victoria Taylor explains how to keep your diet balanced and heart-healthy if you're vegetarian.

A bowl of grilled vegetables 

A healthy vegetarian diet includes plenty of fruit and veg, pulses, beans, wholegrains and unsalted nuts. This is also in line with the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet

Some vegetarians worry about missing out on protein, but most people in the UK get more than they need. You might have heard talk about meat being a ‘complete protein’ and the need for vegetarians to eat certain food combinations to get all the amino acids, but this is a bit of a myth: as long as you have a varied diet, you don’t need to worry.

Include pulses, eggs, nuts, sprouted beans and seeds as sources of protein

Milk and dairy foods are a great source of calcium and protein, but don’t rely on these to replace meat and fish, or you might consume too much saturated fat and not enough iron. Include pulses, eggs, nuts, sprouted beans and seeds as sources of protein in your diet. Green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and fortified products such as breakfast cereals and bread (choose wholegrain versions) are all sources of iron and good additions to a healthy, balanced diet. 

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