Healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans

To ensure you have a balanced and varied diet, read our advice on healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans.

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Healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans

To ensure you have a balanced and varied diet, read our advice on healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans.

To have a healthy, balanced diet which includes all the nutrients your body needs, make sure you eat a wide variety of foods.

Vegetarians and vegans eat a diet of:

  • grains
  • pulses
  • nuts and seeds
  • fruit and vegetables

Vegetarians (but not vegans) also eat:

  • dairy products
  • eggs

Vegetarians and vegans don't eat:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • game
  • fish or shellfish (such as crab or lobster)
  • animal by-products (such as gelatine)

In addition, vegans don't eat eggs and dairy products.

Some people who call themselves vegetarians may eat different combinations of these foods. For example, some may consume milk but not eggs, while some may eat fish but not meat.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

Lacto vegetarians

Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs.

Ovo vegetarians

Ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products.

Vegans

Vegans don't eat dairy products, eggs or any other animal product.

More information

A vegetarian or vegan diet can be suitable for everyone, regardless of their age. However, you may need to consider specific needs at different stages of life – for example, if you're pregnant.

Find out more about:

  • the vegetarian diet
  • the vegan diet
  • vegetarian food on a budget
  • vegetarian and vegan mums-to-be
  • vegetarian and vegan babies and children
Content supplied by NHS Choices