Being a vegetarian is no cakewalk as the diet often lacks
certain proteins and vitamins. Non-vegetarians can easily
obtain these from meat, poultry and fish.
"A complete balanced vegetarian diet has no deficiencies if
it is well planned," said consulting dietician, Jyoti
Lalwani. "But most of the vegetarian diets we calculate in
our diet history are relatively low in protein, especially
of the first class quality, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and
The ideal vegetarian diet should be inclusive of all
food groups like whole grain cereals, pulses, sprouts,
dry fruits and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, oil,
ghee, and milk or its products. Meat products contain
additional vitamins and minerals.
These may include vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2
(riboflavin), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Niacin, and Iron.
Meat substitutes In fact, most meat substitutes are made
from either soy protein, wheat protein (wheat gluten) or
a combination of the two.
Soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of
animal origin. It can even be the sole protein source.
Proteins are used to make the body's building blocks,
called amino acids for the blood, skin, cartilage,
muscles and bones, hormones and enzymes. Milk and
soybeans provide all the 9 essential amino acids.
Vegetarian diet tips Here's what you can eat to ensure
your diet has the right quantity of proteins: Besides
brewers and nutritional yeast, good sources of vitamin
B1 include legumes, whole grains, unrefined cereals,
rice bran, seeds (sesame, sunflower), and peanuts.
Vitamin B6 acts as a catalyst for the body's chemical
It is present in complex carbohydrates like whole
grains, most vegetables, nuts, pulses, and seeds.
Soymilk and cereals help treat a vitamin D deficiency.
Cereals, nutritional yeast and soymilk, or soy
analogues, provide vitamin B12. Vitamin C-rich fruits
enable easy absorption of iron and must be included in
Dried beans, spinach, brewer's yeast and dried fruits
are all good plant sources of iron.