is not a problem for most vegetarians. Protein needs can be satisfied
legumes, nuts and seeds, and a variety of whole grains on a daily
basis. Combining different plant foods also helps ensure protein needs
get met. For example, eating grains with legumes (for example, rice
and beans or pita bread with hummus) or grains with nuts (for example,
rice with cashew-vegetable stir-fry). Milk products and eggs also
provide protein, if they are eaten.
deficiency anemia is a common problem among vegetarians due to inadequate
iron.Female teens 14-18 years of age need 15 mg of iron per day compared
to male teens who need 11 mg of iron per day. Women 19-50 need 18
mg of iron per day while men and post-menopause women only require
8 mg per day. Cooked beans and lentils, split peas, and tofu all provide
iron. Other sources are iron-fortified breakfast cereals, bread, oat
and wheat bran, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit. Iron absorption can
be increased by having foods that contain vitamin C (fruit and vegetables)
with foods that contain iron. For example, having orange juice when
you eat iron-fortified cereals or bread, or adding oranges or tomatoes
to spinach salad increases iron absorption. Cooking with cast iron
cookware also increases iron intakes.
inadequate intake of calcium
is a concern for vegans who omit milk products. Teens 14-18 years
need. 1300 mg per day, men and women 19-50 years old need 1000 mg
per day and those over 50 need 1200 mg of calcium per day. Some plant-based
foods like tofu, are made with calcium, but it is important to read
labels to see how much it contains. Many soy beverages now contain
calcium equivalent to cow's milk but you must check the label to see
if it is fortified with calcium. Some plant-based foods that provide
calcium include broccoli, kale, bok choy, okra, dry hijiki seaweed,
and almond butter. You'll need to include at least 4-6 servings of
calcium containing plant foods and beverages in your daily diet if
you don't consume any milk products.
nutrients of concern to vegetarians include zinc
and vitamin B 12.
Zinc is especially important to
infants and children grow. Foods that provide zinc, include whole
grains, wheat germ, tofu, tempeh, miso, legumes, nuts and seeds, eggs
and dairy products. Vitamin B 12 is found only in animal products.
To prevent a deficiency, vegetarians must consume vitamin B 12 fortified
foods or a B 12 supplement.
planning of vegetarian meals is important to prevent nutrient deficiencies
in children, adults and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
resources to check out include Becoming Vegetarian - The
Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet by Vesanto
Melina, Brenda Davis and Victoria Harrison;
Cooking Vegetarian by Vesanto Melina and Joseph Forest (both
published by Macmillan Canada); and
Raising Vegetarian Children by Joanne Stepaniak
and Vesanto Melina (published by McGraw-Hill Books).
You can also check out the other vegetarian cookbooks mentioned