Vegetarian options are continually expanding, making it easier for vegetarians to meet their nutritional needs through food sources. Leveraging all food groups including vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein and fats aids in more easily achieving nutrients needs on a daily basis. For example, the inclusion of dairy provides Vitamin B12, which is necessary to prevent anemia. If a vegetarian is not yet routinely achieving the vegetarian intake requirements as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, additional supplementation may be suggested until adequate intake is achieved.
For example, if a vegetarian does not get adequate dairy, soymilk, rice milk or fortified cereals, they may need to supplement Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. If fish or eggs are missing from a vegetarian diet, supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids may be required as plant-based fatty acid intake in insufficient for human needs. If there are certain food groups that are more difficult to include on a daily basis, the key is slowly adding more in (e.g., one additional time per week, then two additional times, and so on). Ultimately you’ll most likely have to try new products and plan ahead.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.