A vegetarian diet is one that excludes certain animal products. There are several different types of vegetarians, ranging from those who eat eggs to others that exclude all types of animal-derived foods and products.
A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is one that includes dairy products and eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat any red meat, fowl or seafood or products derived from any of these.
Lacto-vegetarians exclude all meat, fowl, seafood, eggs and derivatives of these products while including dairy in their diets.
Vegans are the strictest vegetarians. They follow a diet that excludes all animal-derived products including meat, seafood, fowl, dairy, eggs and honey. Many vegans also refrain from wearing leather, silk or other animal products.
Vegetarians and vegans who consume sufficient quantities and variety of whole foods can easily meet the recommended daily allowance for protein and other essential nutrients. Whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables form the mainstay of a vegetarian diet.
Soy products such as tofu and many faux “meat” products, fortified soy and rice milks, and legumes are excellent sources of supplementary protein.
References and ResourcesHow to Get the Best Nutrition from a Vegetarian Diet
National Institutes of Health
Food Pyramid Guide to Vegetarian Diets