Looking at Nutritional Guidelines for Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian, the healthy nutritional guidelines are actually very similar to those people that eat meat, the only difference being that a vegetarian is more likely to eat all of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that are recommended within the guidelines.
Both The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the Harvard School of Public Health released healthy eating guidelines that are plant based as these help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, osteoporosis, colon cancer, high blood pressure as well as obesity.
It is also known that if you follow a plant based diet you are likely to have the best protection against common deteriorating disorders.
A vegetarian diet must be well balanced meaning they need to eat a lot of variety of grains, nuts, seeds, beans, fruits and vegetables.
A typical vegetarian food pyramid could have a base of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans etc.
This would then be followed by a layer of nuts, seeds, egg whites and plant oils and lastly on top eggs and sweets (with these being eaten in moderation.)
Eating a variety of all of these food groups is important as no one food is more important than the other and they all provide some, but not all of the nutrients that you need.
The same is true for those that eat meat, variety is essential.
In order to get all of the correct amounts of protein, calcium, zinc and iron from plant sources it is crucial you eat a range of different foods.
If you are unable to get a good source of Vitamin D then a supplement should be taken and the same for vitamin B-12 if you are a strict vegan.
Staying hydrated is key even if you are a vegetarian and get a lot of water from your foods.
We should all be drinking a minimum of 8 8 ounce cups of water every day.
Where possible, stay away from soft drinks, alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these have no nutritional value and will make you even more dehydrated.
There is not a lot of difference in the healthy nutritional guidelines for vegetarians to that of meat eaters, however vegetarians do need to make sure they are getting enough protein and calcium in their diet.
Aim to eat a varied and balanced diet as well as drinking plenty of water.
Vegetarian Nutrition: Food-Pyramid
MayoClinic: Vegetarian Diet
Nutrition.gov: Eating Vegetarian
Choose My Plate: tips for Vegtarians
National Agricultural Library: Vegetarian Nutrition
The Vegetarian Resource Group: Vegetarian Nutrition
MedlinePlus: Vegetarian Diet