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How to Avoid an Unhealthy Vegetarian Diet

Updated on October 15, 2010

Vegetarian Diet

There are so many people (men, women, and children) who are practicing a vegetarian diet or are thinking about switching.

Vegetarian diets have been proven to be healthier and it can potentially prevent obesity and various diseases and illnesses. So, many believe that this is just the healthier way to live. Fruits and vegetables versus meats and animals.

If you opt to maintain a vegetarian diet, choose what type of vegetarian you want to be. Do you want to be one who is more of a semi-vegetarian who continues to eat poultry and fish? A lacto-vegetarian who eats dairy but no eggs? Or a a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, who eats dairy and eggs but doesn't eat any other meat?

Depending on what type of vegetarian you are, you'll find that there will be a few dietary differences, as those who eat some poultry and fish may not need to take B12 supplements when compared to a vegetarian who doesn't eat poultry, dairy, or fish.

When managing a vegetarian diet, it's important to know what you need in your diet in order to maintain a healthy body and bodily systems.

Unhealthy Vegetarian

Whether you are a new vegetarian or a long-term vegetarian sometimes you just don't pay close enough attention to what you're eating, and sometimes this leads to an unhealthy diet.

As a vegetarian, it's important that you watch what you eat, as different foods are rich in different vitamins and essentials. If you don't eat a varied diet, then you will easily become an unhealthy vegetarian.

When trying to be a healthy vegetarian, you want to make sure that you consume 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 5-9 servings of whole grain, 2-3 servings of beans and legumes, and 2-3 servings of milk and/or dairy. It's also a good idea to supplement your diet with nuts and seeds, which make great healthy snacks.

Variety is key.

Vegetarian Daily Food Servings

When monitoring your food servings, keep the following tips in mind.

Vegetable servings: (3-5 servings a day)

  • Vegetables are measured in 1/2 cup per serving.
  • Salads are one cup per serving.
  • Vegetable juices are measured per 1/2 cup per serving.

Fruit servings: (2-4 servings a day)

  • Fruits are hard to measure, as they have a lot of variations. One large apple may equal 2 servings, whereas a medium, may just be one serving. A cup of watermelon and a cup of pears will also measure out differently.
  • The best thing to do is to check cans, if you prefer can fruits, as all cans will tell you the serving size.
  • Generally 1/2 cup of fruit equals 1 serving.

Beans and legume servings: (2-3 servings a day)

  • 1/2 cup equals 1 serving

Grain servings: (5-9 servings a day)

  • Cooked rice and pasta- 1/2 cup per 1 serving
  • Hot cereal- 1/2 cup per 1 serving
  • Cold breakfast cereal- 2/3 cup equals 1 serving
  • Remember to check labels, as some serving sizes may vary

Milk and dairy servings: (2-3 servings a day)

  • 1 ounce or 1 slice of cheese is equivalent to 1 serving
  • 1/2 cup of ice cream is equal to 1 serving

Nut servings:

  • Typically measured per type of nut, but about 2 tablespoons or 10-15 nuts equals 1 serving
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter measures about 1 serving.

 Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you are thinking about converting to your diet, consult your doctor so that you can ensure that you stay healthy in the process.


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    • Laylala profile image

      Kelly 6 years ago from Arizona

      This is a great article. I became a vegetarian when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Needless to say, I wasn't the healthiest person in the world. I took my vegetarian diet as an excuse to eat nothing byt refined carbs - bread, pastries, mashed potatoes... Luckily, I discovered nutrition to be one of my interests when I started high school. Since then I have educated myself and others on the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and have been eating a healthy, balanced vegetarian diet since then.

    • nicred profile image

      nicred 6 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      Great hub I have been a veggie for just over a year now, thanks for the usefull tips :)

    • CarrieMaye profile image

      CarrieMaye 6 years ago from Colorado

      Good topic; I've been a vegetarian for over 13 years and it wasn't until the past 4 years or so that I made a conscious effort to eat better and consume super-foods that not only make me a healthy vegetarian, but a happy one. Good hub!

    • chechetka profile image

      chechetka 7 years ago from London, UK

      Great hub! There are so many unhealthy vegetarians out there, I am pleased I am not one of them:)

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 7 years ago from India

      Good Hub. very good diet plan, awesome tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      peacefulparadox 7 years ago

      To ensure that you get a variety of nutrients, make sure you eat a variety of color of fruits and vegetables. People sometimes refers to this idea as the "rainbow diet".

    • erthfrend profile image

      erthfrend 7 years ago from Florida

      Ive been a vegetarian for many years. You gave great information in this hub. Thank you for sharing.