Vegetables provide vitamins, such as vitamins A and C, and foliate, and minerals, such as iron and magnesium. They are naturally low in fat and also provide fiber.
People become vegetarians for lots of reasons. Some do it because they love animals or are worried about the environment. Some people think it’s a healthier way to eat. Some just don’t like the taste of meat, chicken or fish.
Glucose is measured in the body as blood sugar and is "burned" as fuel by the tissues in your body. Some is converted to glycogen and stored for later use. There are two primary types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs include cane and beet sugar, dextrose, and the sugars in fruits and milk. The complex carbohydrates, so called because of their elaborate chemical structures, are potatoes, rice, grains, breakfast cereals, pasta, bread, and beans.
Some vegetarians, called vegans don’t eat any foods from animals. That makes it a little trickier to get certain vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, but with smart planning, it can be done!
The foods in the Milk Group, like milk, cheese and yogurt, give you calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. If you don’t eat these foods, you need to substitute other foods like cereal and soymilk that are “fortified” with these nutrients.
Then, there’s the Vegetable Group, Fruit Group and Grain Group (the one that
has stuff like bread, cereal, rice and pasta). Whatever kind of vegetarian you are, you need lots of foods from these groups—and you'll find lots to choose from.
Mostly of meat, eggs and white bread - a common diet of the well-to-do - is far from
being a healthful diet.
In the typical diet, meats such as beef, lamb, pork, veal, poultry, and fish are
the predominant sources of protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
Iron and zinc are the two nutrients most often deficient in non-vegetarian or modified non-vegetarian diets. Also, iron and zinc are the most cited nutrients that may be deficient in the diet.
Those persons who choose to exclude meat from their diets must carefully plan diets to enhance nutrient availability, particularly for iron and zinc.
Meats (including beef, lamb, pork, veal, poultry, and fish) are the primary staple
around which meals are designed, and are the predominant sources of protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
Just as no single vegetable or fruit can provide all of the critical nutrients common to its food group, no single type of meat can provide all of the protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc necessary for a healthy and well-balanced diet. It is the variety of types and cuts of meats that provide the total array of nutrients necessary for an adequate diet.
Generally speaking, red meats like beef and the dark meat of poultry are better sources of iron and zinc than are white meats like fish and light meat of poultry. However, there are some exceptions. Pork is an excellent source of iron, as are clams and oysters.
Meats, particularly red meats and oysters, are good or excellent sources of zinc and are the major sources of zinc in the diet.
Meat, poultry, and fish supply protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. The other foods in this group - dry beans, eggs, and nuts - are similar to meats in providing protein and most vitamins and minerals. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings each day of foods from this group. The total amount of these servings should be the equivalent of 5 to 7 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day.