vegetarian and vegan diets

Vegetarian & Vegan Diets


  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: (“lacto”- i.e. relating to milk; “ova” – an egg) Can eat dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet
  • Lacto-Vegetarian: Eats dairy products but avoids eggs
  • Ovo-Vegetarian: Eats eggs but not dairy products

Other terms used:

  • Semi-vegetarian – occasionally eats meats and fish
  • Fruitarian – predominantly fruit-based diet, but with vegetables, nuts and seeds

Some potential key issues following a vegetarian diet:

  • ​Calcium – if you are not eating milk and dairy products, then you need to ensure you are have alternative sources of calcium, e.g.
    • Dried fruit such as apricots and figs
    • Tofu
    • Nuts
    • Sesame seeds and tahini (like a peanut butter but made from sesame seeds)
    • Fortified foods and bread
  • Iron – iron from meat sources is more easily absorbed than from plant sources, so to help absorption, have something rich in vitamin C; fruit/vegetables/fruit juice
  • Vitamin D – few foods contain vitamin D with the main sources being of animal origin such as dairy products and eggs, so look for fortified foods (-sunlight is also a source)
  • Selenium – can be an issue as meats and fish are good sources, so try having some nuts, particularly brazil nuts
  • Vitamin B12 – food sources are of animal origin, so unless you eat dairy/eggs/fish, then your diet would be lacking, but you can have fortified foods or in a multivitamin and mineral supplement
  • Omega-3 unsaturated fats – found in oily fish, rapeseed oil, flaxseed/linseeds, walnuts, soya and their oils, so if you avoid fish, ensure your diet is full of plant-based sources

Further information on a vegetarian diet can be found on:
Vegetarian Society:
British Dietetic Association:


People following a vegan diet avoid eating milk and dairy products, eggs, and other products derived from animals.
Always look for fortified foods to help your body get the nutrients it needs.
Some issues to consider when following a vegan diet:

  • A vegan diet is a lot more restrictive than a vegetarian diet, so all of the above points apply, but in particular:
    • Vitamin B12
    • Iron
    • Calcium
    • During pregnancy and breastfeeding – it is safe to follow a vegan diet, but you need to ensure it is a well planned diet. Speak to your doctor, midwife or Dietitian if you are concerned.

*Please request to see a Dietitian if you are concerned about your diet and want to make sure it is nutritionally adequate*

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