Yes if you do it right.
Healthy vegetarian eating is not “meat and veg without the veg.” Forget the low carb diet too as the proteins in grain foods are critical to complete the plant based protein sources. Plus….you gotta eat legumes every day (lentils, tofu, chickpeas, homus, falafel, baked beans, 3 bean mix etc..). Toss out the refined carbs too as they wont give you enough nutrients. Choose grainy breads and cereals.
Tips for a well planned vegetarian diet :
- Variety – at least 25 different foods each week see food variety quiz link
- A source of omega-3 fats: walnuts, pecans, linseed, chia seeds, and canola oil and supplement for omega 3 with 200-300mg/day DHA and EPA from micoalgae. Alternatively include weekly wild salmon or sardines if you are ‘flexitarian’ and skip the supplement.
- Use monounsaturated fats such as canola and olive oil instead of polyunsatured fats such as sunflower and safflower oils in oils & margarines to optimise your omega-3 intake
- Take a vitamin B12 supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. These are sourced from microbes not animals.
- Obtain calcium and B12 from eggs, dairy or fortified soy products. Rice and oat milk are not always a good substitute – read the label and compare
- Mushrooms are a healthy food but are not ‘meat for vegetarians’ as they are not a reliable source of B12 (1 serve gives 5% your requirement) and are not a significant source of protein.
- Get iron and zinc from legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.