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Eating Well on a Vegetarian Diet

Posted in Healthy eating, healthy weight and dieting

How we choose to eat is influenced by a variety of factors: religious and cultural, moral and ethical, health and environmental. For some or all of these reasons, many people choose to follow a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diets that are appropriately planned can be nutritionally balanced and suitable for all stages of life.

Types of vegetarian diets

When people think of a vegetarian diet, they automatically think of a diet that excludes meat, fish or poultry. However, some vegetarian diets are stricter than others:

Living well on a vegetarian diet

Extra care is needed during pregnancy, breastfeeding, weaning or in childhood to make sure that all nutritional needs are being met. It is important to seek additional advice from your GP or dietitian to ensure your vegetarian diet is nutritionally balanced during these important stages of life.

Nutrients that require special attention




Vitamin D

Vitamin B12

Omega 3 fatty acids

Some healthy vegetarian meal ideas

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Instant porridge with low fat milk*, nuts and dried fruit Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread with carrot and celery sticks Tofu & vegetable stir-fry with brown rice or tacos filled with beans & textures vegetable protein

Dried fruit

trail mix


Low fat yoghurt layered with crunchy cereal or granola with blueberries and honey** Sliced tomato, pepper, onion, avocado stuffed in a whole-grain pitta Tacos or burritos filled with beans, textured vegetable protein or tofu Hummus and pitta wedges
  Vegetable burger or falafel with cheese*, mushrooms and tomato on a whole-grain bun Pizza with or without cheese* and topped with vegetables and tofu or meat substitute Smoothie made with low-fat milk*, frozen berries and a banana

* If vegan, choose soy-based, calcium-enriched dairy foods.

** Unsuitable for vegans

Updated by Niamh Donnelly MINDI, January 2016. Review date: January 2019.

© 2016 Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, INDI. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with dietitian.  It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

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