When you decide to reduce meat or other animal foods from your diet, it can be difficult to decide which vegetarian diet to follow. As you evaluate an ovo-vegetarian meal plan, think about whether it has foods that you like to eat and whether it will help you meet your nutritional goals. If you have concerns about your diet, consult a nutritionist to help you develop a healthy meal plan.
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Foods to Include
If you are an ovo-vegetarian, you do not eat any animal products except eggs, so your diet will not include meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. Your ovo-vegetarian diet does not include dairy products, such as yogurt, milk, butter, and ice cream, since these are derived from animals. The diet can be a good choice for you if you are lactose intolerant and are unable to eat dairy products. You can eat plant-based foods such as grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.
You should be just as careful to make healthy choices within your ovo-vegetarian diet as you would on a meat-based diet. The Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid is a visual aid that can assist you in meal planning because it has recommendations for how many servings you should have each day from different food groups. A meal plan ovo-vegetarian on a 2,000-calorie diet should have about six servings of grains; five servings of protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts or eggs; four servings of vegetables; and two servings each of fruit and fats.
A vegetarian diet meal plan can probably meet all of your nutrient needs if you are careful. Instead of milk or other dairy products, you can eat green leafy vegetables or calcium-fortified soy milk, juices or cereals to get enough calcium. Vitamin B-12 is in animal foods, including eggs, and zinc is in animal sources, as well as whole grains and legumes. To improve iron absorption from plant-based sources such as spinach, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that you eat vitamin C with your sources of iron.
A healthy ovo-vegetarian meal plan should provide a balanced diet, and each meal should provide foods from a variety of food groups. Eggs provide high-quality protein, and the Harvard School of Public Health notes you can meet your needs by combining plant-based foods, such as beans and rice, to make a complete protein. Your meal can also include some soy milk to provide calcium and more protein, a whole grain, such as cereal or bread, and a fruit or vegetable.