• People become vegetarians for many reasons. A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide all of the nutrients you need, as well as being enjoyable and interesting.
  • An unplanned vegetarian diet, for example just leaving the meat out of your meal, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and impair sporting performance. 
  • Lean red meat is a great source of many nutrients including iron and zinc and is low in fat. 
  • Low-fat dairy products are a great source of calcium and other nutrients. 

Nutritional considerations for vegetarians

  • When you are vegetarian you need to consider the nutrients you are excluding from your diet and plan to get these from another source: 
  • Eat plenty of protein foods that make good red meat substitutions (eg: poultry, eggs, fish, milk, soy products, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, breads and cereals). 
  • Ensure you are getting enough iron from non-meat sources. 
  • If you are excluding dairy products from your diet ensure you are getting sufficient calcium. Remember that calcium from non-dairy sources is not as easily absorbed by the body. 

Vegetarian meat substitutes

  • Legumes – lentils, peas, beans 
  • Soy foods – soy beans, soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu, tempeh 
  • Nuts – Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds 
  • Seeds – sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds 
  • Milk products – milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream 
  • Eggs