4 Ways to Go Meatless

Where do you fall on the vegetarian spectrum?

While there are many different ways to pursue a partial or wholly vegetarian diet, people who avoid meat can generally be grouped into four main types. Here, we’ve outlined the common categories of vegetarian eating and what nutrients people in each category need to be concerned about.


The Semi-Meatless Vegetarian

Eats: Some meat, poultry and fish; milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
Avoids: Meat several days a week.
Needs plenty of: Iron, via either red meat or dark poultry meat or plant-based sources like legumes and spinach, plus vitamin C-rich foods like orange juice to boost iron absorption; salmon and tuna for omega-3 fats; soy products, peanuts and legumes for zinc.
Should consider these supplements: One-a-day-type multivitamin if you want extra insurance.


The Pesco-Vegetarian

Eats: Fish, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
Avoids: Meat, poultry.
Needs plenty of: Fortified foods, such as cereals, to supplement nutrients that meat typically provides, such as iron; in addition, plant-based iron sources like legumes and spinach and vitamin C-rich foods like orange juice; soy products, peanuts and legumes for adequate zinc.
Should consider these supplements: One-a-day-type multivitamin to ensure adequate iron.


The Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian

Eats: Milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
Avoids: Meat, poultry, fish.
Needs plenty of: Fortified foods, such as cereals, to supplement certain nutrients that meat typically provides, such as vitamin B12 and iron; milk or fortified soymilk for calcium and vitamin D; soy products, peanuts and legumes for zinc; plant sources of iron—dried fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and whole grains eaten along with sources of vitamin C, such as orange juice; use iodized salt.
Should consider these supplements: One-a-day-type multivitamin to ensure adequate vitamin B12 and iron; omega-3 fats (DHA/EPA derived from algae).


The Vegan

Eats: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
Avoids: Meat, dairy, fish, eggs and sometimes other animal-derived foods, such as honey and gelatin.
Needs plenty of: Fortified foods, such as soymilk and breakfast cereals fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12; an assortment of soy, grains and beans (for protein); plant sources of iron—dried fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and whole grains eaten along with sources of vitamin C, such as orange juice; soy products, peanuts and legumes for zinc; use iodized salt.
Should consider these supplements: One-a-day-type multivitamin to ensure adequate B12 and iron, calcium and vitamin D; omega-3 fats (DHA/EPA derived from algae).