There are many reasons why people decide to eliminate animal foods from their
diets. Some people find they feel better without these foods, some may eat this
way and some do it for ethical reasons.
Balanced vegetarian diets tend to be low in saturated fat with little to no
cholesterol, while also being high in antioxidants and fiber. Including a variety of whole foods, like vegetables, beans, nuts/seeds, and whole grains, can help vegetarians easily meet their protein needs and ensure their diet offers the nutrition they need.
There are a few different styles of plant-based eating that you may encounter.
If one of these styles suits you, enjoy it, but listen to your body and don’t get
caught up in labels.
• Lacto-vegetarian: Consumes dairy products
• Ovo-vegetarian: Consumes eggs
• Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Consumes both dairy and egg products
• Plant-based: May consume animal products, but plants make
up majority of the diet
• Vegan: Consume no animal products.
Health benefits of a plant-based diet include:
• Reduced stress
• Lower BMI
• Reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
• Improved gut health
• Lower cholesterol
• Increased longevity
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are plentiful, but plant-based eaters
should be mindful of including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, calcium, iron,
and vitamin D to ensure they are meeting their needs. If you want to include more vegetarian sources of protein in your diet, look to grains, beans/legumes, and nuts. Check the following list to see how the plant-based protein sources add up.
• 1 cup green peas = 8 grams protein
• 1 medium potato = 4 grams protein
• 1 cup broccoli = 3 grams protein
• 1 cup mushrooms = 2 grams protein
• 1 ounce peanuts (legumes) = 7 grams protein
• 1 ounce almonds = 6 grams protein
• 1 ounce pistachios = 6 grams protein
• 1 ounce walnuts = 4 grams protein
• 1 ounce Brazil nuts = 4 grams protein
• 1/2 cup cooked lentils = 9 grams protein
• 1/2 cup cooked black beans = 8 grams protein
• 1/2 cup cooked adzuki beans = 8 grams protein
• 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans = 7 grams protein
• 1/2 cup cooked navy beans = 7 grams protein
• 1 cup cooked quinoa = 8 grams protein
• 1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta = 7 grams protein
• 1 cup cooked oats = 6 grams protein
• 1 cup cooked brown rice = 5 grams protein
• 1/2 cup tempeh = 15 grams protein
• 1/2 cup soybeans = 15 grams protein
• 1/2 cup natto = 15 grams protein
• 1/2 cup tofu = 10 grams protein
• 1/2 cup edamame = 9 grams protein