Well-balanced vegetarian diets follow the government’s advice for healthy eating and provide all of the nutrients that everyone needs. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower than average in fat and higher in fibre and veggies should easily exceed the UK government’s guidelines for eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
It is very easy to get enough protein if you eat a well-balanced, varied diet because there is at least some protein in virtually all foods. Meat and fish do provide lots of protein but so do beans (including soya), peas, nuts, cereals (wheat, oat and rice), eggs and dairy products (such as milk, cheese and yoghurt), lentils and many meat substitutes.
For a recipe high in protein try party pizza.
Iron is found in many different foods. A lack of iron is one of the most common problems in typical British diets, but vegetarians are no more likely than meat eaters to suffer from it. Good vegetarian sources of iron include bran flakes, spinach, muesli, wholemeal bread, watercress, chick peas, red and green lentils, dried fruit, most nuts, kidney beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, baked beans and sunflower seeds.
If you are worried about getting enough iron, try eating or drinking something high in vitamin C (such as a glass of orange juice) with meals containing iron-rich foods. This helps your body absorb iron and can triple the amount you get from some foods.
Our chick pea and vegetable curry recipe is high in iron.
We all need to eat foods containing B12 regularly to make sure we have a healthy nerve system. Anyone eating dairy products and eggs will get plenty of vitamin B12 and it is also available from fortified products such as breakfast cereals, yeast extract and soya drinks.
Experts are more aware than they used to be of how much Vitamin D we need to keep our bones and teeth healthy. Most vitamin D comes from the effect of the sun on our skin but it is also found in eggs, fortified low-fat spreads, margarines and breakfast cereals.