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Diet-Busting Foods You Should Avoid

It really is a shame. Some of the best-tasting foods are actually some of the worst in terms of fat and calories. But it can be hard to avoid them, especially in places—like malls—where nutrition information usually isn’t available.

So we did the work for you; take a look at a list of foods you should skip—or pick—at a mall, restaurant, or grocery store.

(A 2,000-calorie-a-day diet should have no more than 66 grams of fat, less than 20 grams saturated; 2,400 milligrams of sodium; and 300 grams of total carbohydrate, including sugars.)

1. Smoothie King’s Hulk Strawberry Smoothie

Fruit and yogurt can’t be bad, right? Wrong. Smoothies are often made with ice cream or milk and can be crammed with sugar. At least this treat gives you a heads up: It’s listed on the menu as a smoothie for people looking to gain weight.

But the calories are excessive—more than two Big Macs put together. And that’s just the small.

One 20-ounce smoothie: 1,044 calories, 35g fat, 120g sugar.

Choose this instead: Low-Carb Strawberry smoothie: 268 calories, 9g fat, 3g sugar.

2. Starbucks’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme with Whipped Cream

Sure it sounds bad, but how bad is it? This afternoon pick-me-up delivers nearly one-third of the maximum fat you should consume in a day, and over half a day’s saturated fat.

One 16-ounce Grande: 510 calories; 19g fat, 11g saturated; 59g sugar; 300mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Your best bet is a regular cup of coffee without all the bells and whistles. If you just can’t live without a Frappuccino, make it a Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee: 130 calories, 0.5g fat, 16g sugar

3. Coldstone’s PB&C Shake

Chances are you already suspect that milkshakes aren’t all that healthy. But this particular shake, made with chocolate ice cream, milk, and peanut butter, is in a class of its own. This frosty monster delivers an entire day’s worth of calories and almost three and a half times the daily limit for saturated fat.

One “Gotta Have It” (Coldstone speak for “large”): 2,010 calories; 131g fat, 68g saturated; 153g sugar.

Choose this instead: A better bet is the 16-ounce Sinless Oh Fudge! Shake, with the same chocolaty taste, but a quarter of the calories and only 2 grams of fat.

4. Auntie Anne’s Jumbo Pretzel Dog

Auntie Anne’s sells snacks, not meals. But this concoction—a Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in a pretzel bun—contains almost half your daily upper limit of fat and sodium.

One Jumbo Pretzel Dog with butter: 610 calories; 29g fat, 13g saturated; 1,150mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Go for the original pretzel without the butter and salt and you’ll whittle your treat down to 310 calories and only 1 gram of fat. Now that’s more like a snack!

5. Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecanbon

The luring scent of Cinnabon is a mall staple. But just one of these decadent pastries means trouble. They deliver about half the calories and just about all the fat you should consume in a day.

One bun: 1,092 calories, 56g fat, 47g sugar.

Choose this instead: Cinnabon has no options that are particularly healthy, but you can try a Minibon, designed for smaller—and smarter—appetites: 300 calories, 11g fat.

6. Wendy’s Sweet and Spicy Boneless Wings

In June, Wendy’s launched this item, claiming it was “as far as it gets from fast food.”

Calorie-wise, this meal isn’t that bad if it makes up your entire lunch. But it has more salt than you should have in a day, let alone at one sitting.

One order: 550 calories, 18g fat, 27g sugar, 2,530mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Try the Ultimate Chicken Grill, a grilled chicken breast on a sesame-seed bun: 320 calories, 7g fat, 8g sugar. Still, with 950 milligrams of sodium, don’t make it a daily habit.

7. Dunkin’ Donuts’ Coffee Cake Muffin

Muffins are often mistaken for the doughnut’s healthy cousin. But muffins can be surprisingly high in fat.

This one is particularly offensive; you’d need to eat about three glazed donuts to match its nutrients and calories.

One muffin: 620 calories; 25g fat, 7g saturated; 54g sugar; 93g carbs.

Choose this instead: For an alternative—but equally decadent—breakfast treat, one glazed donut is a better bet: 220 calories, 9g fat, 12g sugar, 31g carbs.

8. Olive Garden’s Grilled Shrimp Caprese

Shrimp are low-fat, low-cal, and high in protein and iron. What’s not to like?

In fact, the garlic-butter sauce in this dish helps rack up nearly two-thirds of your daily fat and about one and a half times your sodium limit.

One plate: 900 calories, 41g fat, 3,490mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Get a lighter version of this dish without the melted cheese and with marinara sauce on the side. The Venetian Apricot Chicken is another option; it has one-third the calories and 1/10 the fat, but still packs a good deal of sodium.

9. Chili’s Onion String and Crispy Jalapeno Stack

Diners and bloggers alike were outraged by the fried-onion Chili’s appetizer, the Awesome Blossom.

The unhealthy behemoth was removed from the menu, but its replacement is only a bit better. This appetizer is meant to be shared, but even one-quarter of the dish delivers an entire day’s limit for fat.

One appetizer: 2,130 calories; 213g fat, 31g saturated; 1,320mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Chili’s doesn’t have particularly healthy appetizers. If you must have one, try the Chips and Hot Sauce (470 calories). However, the chips’ sodium is 2,790 milligrams—500 milligrams over the maximum daily intake.

10. Macaroni Grill’s Kids’ Fettuccine Alfredo

Kids’ meals, in theory, are smaller than adult portions; children simply don’t need as many calories.

The average 10- to 12-year-old, the upper age limit for many kids’ menus, needs about 1,600 to 1,800 calories daily. This meal puts them at half of that, with more fat than a grown adult needs in a day.

One order: 890 calories, 67g fat, 1,480mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Coax your little ones into ordering the Grilled Chicken and Broccoli: 390 calories, 8g fat. It’s still high in sodium, so ask for sauce on the side and use sparingly.

11. Quiznos’ Chicken With Honey Mustard Flatbread Salad

Unhealthy salads lurk everywhere. They promise grilled chicken, leafy greens, and fewer carbs, but often deliver bacon, cheddar cheese, and high-fat dressing.

Don’t be tricked; this salad will cost you half a day’s calories. The dressing alone has 48 grams of fat, nearly your daily max.

One salad, dressing and bread included: 1,070 calories, 71g fat, 1,770mg sodium.

Choose this instead: The Cantina Chicken Sammie, a 205-calorie, low-fat, veggie-filled flatbread sandwich: 455mg sodium, 12g protein.

12. Pizza Hut’s Meaty P’Zone

The TV commercials for this 1-pound monster feature hungry dudes who don’t want to share. One chows down and tells another, who looks on longingly, to order his own. But these pizza-crust calzones should be shared—preferably with a crowd. Eating the whole thing is akin to consuming about six cheese slices in one sitting, and it delivers one and a half times your daily limit for sodium. One serving size is one-half of a P’Zone.

One whole P’Zone: 1,480 calories, 66g fat, 3,680mg sodium.

Choose this instead: One slice of the Natural Veggie Lover’s multigrain crust pizza has 190 calories, 6g fat, 380 mg sodium, and 9g protein.

13. Lunchables’ New Wholesome Deep Dish Pepperoni Fun Pack

Ideally, a lunch box should strike a balance between taste, fun, and nutrition.

However, an easy prepackaged solution like Lunchables may not deliver. The nutrition info is based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet—that of a grown adult. The processed food is too high in fat and sodium for the average 8-year-old’s daily recommended intakes.

One Fun Pack: 470 calories, 20g fat, 880mg sodium.

Choose this instead: For the same ease, try another variety of Wholesome Lunchables, like the Turkey and Cheddar Club, which comes with water and applesauce instead of cookies and fruit punch, and has 360 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium.

14. Ruffles’ Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips

Ruffles don’t just have ridges, they’ve also have 17% of the upper limit of daily fat in just one serving. The calorie count is low, but chances are you’ll eat more than a serving, as most packages are the larger 1.5-ounce size.

The 1-ounce serving size: 160 calories, 11g fat, 230mg sodium. The larger size: 240 calories, 16.5g fat, 345mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Try Baked! Ruffles in the original flavor. The 1-ounce serving has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 200 milligrams of sodium, plus 2 grams each of fiber and protein.

15. Haagen Dazs’ Dulce de Leche Low-Fat Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is often relatively healthy; even the most decadent flavors tend to have less fat than ice cream.

However, not all fro-yo is created equal. To be fair, this flavor does have 15 grams less fat than the regular ice cream flavor, but one serving packs 25 grams of sugar.

One serving (1/2 cup): 190 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g sugar, 35g carbs.

Choose this instead: Try a brand that offers no-sugar-added options, such as Edy’s. The French Vanilla flavor has only 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of sugar in a 1/2 cup serving.

16. Kar’s Yogurt Apple Nut Mix

Words like yogurt, apple, and nut make this snack seem healthy. But a serving size is 1 ounce. The tiny snack, often found in vending machines, contains nearly three times as much—2.75 ounces. Bags in stores contain five times as much.

Eat a whole 2.75-ounce bag and you’ve consumed 412 calories—the equivalent of one and a half Snickers bars.

A 1-ounce serving: 150 calories; 10g of fat, 2.5g saturated; 90mg sodium; 3g protein; 2g fiber.

Choose this instead: Select a healthier trail mix, like Peeled Snacks. A 2/3-cup serving of the Fruit & Nuts FigSated mix has 150 calories and 6 grams of fat.

17. Arnold’s Whole Grain Country White Bread

Don’t fall for the “whole grain” marketing trick without knowing all the facts.

While “whole grain” sounds good, this product doesn’t have nearly the amount of heart-healthy whole grains as products that say “100% whole grain.”

Two slices: 220 calories, 3g fat, 300mg sodium, 42g carbs, 4g fiber.

Choose this instead: Try two slices of Arnold’s Light line of breads, like the 100% Whole Wheat: 80 calories, 0.5g fat, 170mg sodium, 5g fiber. Or try the new Deli Flats from Pepperidge Farm. One 100% whole-wheat roll has 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber.

18. Reese’s Puffs Cereal

Starting your morning off with this bowl of sugary puffs may be worse than getting up on the wrong side of the bed. One serving of this breakfast treat has more sugar than an actual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

A 3/4 cup serving with 1/2 cup skim milk: 160 calories, 3g fat, 12g sugar. (One Reese’s Cup has 7 grams of sugar.)

Choose this instead: For an organic and natural take on the peanut-buttery puff, check out EnviroKidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs from Nature’s Path. The same serving size with milk has slightly more calories, but less sugar: 170 calories, 2.5g fat, 7g sugar.

19. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Brown Sugar Cinnamon

At least breakfast cereals have relatively easy-to-understand serving sizes. Pop-Tarts, on the other hand, report nutrition information for one serving, but each package contains two—and is impossible to reseal.

Eat both, and this breakfast delivers a quarter of your daily limit for fat, and more than half your added sugar for the day.

Two pastries: 420 calories, 16g fat, 26g sugar, 66g carbs.

Choose this instead: Your best bet is to eat just one pastry. Or you can try Fiber One’s Brown Sugar Cinnamon Toaster Pastry: 190 calories, 4g fat, 16g sugar, 36g carbs, 5g fiber.

20. PowerBar Performance Energy Cookies & Cream

PowerBars are often shaped like candy bars and can taste like them too.

This particular PowerBar has only 1 gram of fiber and nearly three-fourths of the upper limit of daily added sugar, so there may be healthier options. (The USDA says to limit added sugar to 40 grams, or about 10 teaspoons, per day.)

One bar: 240 calories, 26g sugar, 45g carbs, 8g protein, less than 1g fiber.

Choose this instead: Try the PowerBar Harvest line. Made with whole grains, 1 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie bar still has 250 calories, 43 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of sugar, but offers 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

21. Healthy Choice Sweet and Sour Chicken

This meal is better than a TV dinner, but there are healthier options from this generally trustworthy brand.

The calories are reasonable, but the meal is high in sugar and sodium, and it has more fat than most other Healthy Choice options—even the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and the Country Breaded Chicken!

One meal: 400 calories, 13g protein, 5g fiber—but 10g fat, 20g sugar, 500mg sodium.

Choose this instead: The Oven Roasted Chicken meal: 260 calories, 5g fat, 9g sugar, 520mg sodium, 15g protein, 6g fiber.

22. VitaminWater

VitaminWater uses the old trick in which the nutrition information on the label is based on a serving size, but the bottle contains multiple servings—leaving you to do the math.

Each bottle contains 2.5 servings of the sugar-sweetened water, so a whole bottle delivers 33 grams of sugar (a can of Coke only has 6 more). That’s a lot of calories when plain water could do the trick.

One bottle (2.5 servings) of the Charge flavor: 125 calories, 32.5g sugar.

Choose this instead: New VitaminWater10 has only 10 calories per serving, or 25 if you finish the bottle. But it contains zero-calorie sweeteners.

23. Quaker Natural Granola, Low-Fat

Granola is tricky. Although the name is practically synonymous with healthy, some types—including this cereal—contain a startling amount of sugar per serving. One serving contains 18 grams of sugar, as much as a Twinkie.

A 2/3-cup serving: 210 calories, 3g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber—but 18g sugar.

Choose this instead: A 2/3-cup serving of Health Valley’s Low Fat Date Almond Flavor Granola: 180 calories, 1g fat, 10g sugar, 5g protein, 6g fiber.

24. Bear Naked Chocolaty Cherry Grain-ola Bar

We love Bear Naked for its generally low-fat, low-sugar concoctions, but we just can’t get behind this bar.

It has almost the same nutritional stats as a Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Reese’s Peanut Butter bar. Or you could eat almost three Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bars for the same intake.

One 54-gram bar: 230 calories, 10g fat, 14g sugar.

Choose this instead: Barbara’s Crunch Organic Oats and Honey Granola Bar; two bars have only 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 10 grams of sugar.

25. Amy’s Organic Thai Coconut Soup

Generally we love anything from this vegetarian brand, but we have to draw the line at this soup. While packed with veggies and protein-powerhouse tofu, one serving has more than half of your daily limit of saturated fat and a quarter of your sodium.

One 1/2-can serving: 140 calories; 10g fat, 8g saturated; 580mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Lentil Vegetable, one of Amy’s low-sodium soups, is still chock-full of veggies and protein, but with less fat and sodium: 4g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 340mg sodium.

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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Top 10 Reasons To Become A Vegetarian

Vegetarianism is not viewed to me as just a diet, but a different way of thinking, a different lifestyle. My overall goal is to share the passion of healthy living as well as to make this healthy lifestyle known to as many people as I possibly can. So join me today and become a part of the reasons. Reasons To Become A Vegetarian – No matter what type of Vegetarian you choose to be!

1. Live Longer

Numerous University studies have found that vegetarians live about seven years longer than non-vegetarians, and vegans live on average about 15 years longer than meat eaters. Studies such as these are further confirmed by the Chinese Health Project, which is the largest population study on diet and health to date. The Chinese Health Study found Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risk of heart attack, cancer, and other serious diseases.

In addition to this, proof comes from a British research group that tracked 6,000 Vegetarians and 5,000 meat eaters for 12 years to find that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases. See the Vegetarian FAQ!

2. You’ll make regular visits to the restroom

Veggies are the best source for fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fiber and collects against the walls of the digestive tract, which can lead to colon cancer. Studies done at Harvard and Brigham Women’s Hospital concluded that people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 42 percent lower risk of diverticulitis. People who eat a high percentage of vegetables in their diets also tend to have fewer counts of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colons.

3. Healthy heart

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidant nutrients that protect the heart and the arteries. Fruits and vegetables contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.

The cholesterol levels for vegetarians are on average 14 percent lower than meat eaters. The American diet that is loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol from meat and dairy have made heart disease the number one killer in the United States.

4. Avoid toxic chemicals

95% of pesticide residue in the Western diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Seafood, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium) that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones that are injected into the animals to combat disease.

5. You will give your body a detox

Fruit and vegetable juices contain phytochemicals that help our bodies detoxify naturally. Giving up meat helps rid the body of toxins (environmental pollutants, pesticides, and preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. Many of these additives cannot be assimilated and pool in various parts of the body.

6. Great Looking Body And Skinnier

A great reason to become Vegetarian is on average, most vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters. Vegetarian diets are much lower in calories than the standard American diet. Vegetarians are also less likely to suffer from weight-related disorders like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Vegetarian FAQ!

7. Save Lot’s of Money

By replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits, it is estimated to cut your food bill by an average of $4,000 a year.

8. Be environmental friendly

By being a Vegetarian you will help reduce waste and air pollution. A farms in Milford, Utah, which raises 2.5 million pigs yearly, produces more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles. And this is just one farm. Each year, our nation’s factory farms, collectively produce 2 billion tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the country’s top 10 pollutants. And that is not even taking in to account the amount of methane gas released by cows, pigs and poultry, which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.

9. Vegetarians are More Efficient

Right now, 72% of all the grain that is produced in the United States is fed to animals, which are raised for slaughter. It takes about 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if this same grain was given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed the entire planet. Using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal of Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef. You do the math!

10. Its The Humane Thing To Do

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

FYI – Did you know that 22 million animals are slaughtered to support the American appetite for meat? It is a great feeling to finish a healthy meal knowing that no beings have suffered.

COPYRIGHT © 2009 – 2012 The Knowledge Source, LLC. All rights reserved.

Becoming A Vegetarian

Why Do People Become Vegetarians?

For much of the world, vegetarianism is largely a matter of economics: Meat costs a lot more than, say, beans or rice, so meat becomes a special-occasion dish (if it’s eaten at all). Even where meat is more plentiful, it’s still used in moderation, often providing a side note to a meal rather than taking center stage.

In countries like the United States where meat is not as expensive, though, people often choose to be vegetarians for reasons other than cost. Parental preferences, religious or other beliefs, and health issues are among the most common reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment. And lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism.

Types Of Vegetarians

One thing that many people don’t realize or understand is that there are different types of vegetarians. Each individual vegetarian has his or her own personal reasons for choosing their diet, and these reasons determine exactly what foods they eliminate. Although a few different reasons and motivations are described in the Why? section, below is just a brief definition of some types of vegetarians.

  • Total Vegetarians eat only plant food. They do not eat any animal foods, including fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
  • Vegans not only omit all animal products from their diets, but they also eliminate them from the rest of their life. Vegans use nothing from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk.
  • Lacto-Vegetarians will include dairy products into their diet of plant food.
  • Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.
  • Pesco-Vegetarians include fish into their diets.
  • Pollo-Vegetarians eat poultry, such as chicken, turkey, and duck.
  • Pollo-Pesco Vegetarians which includes poultry and fish, or “white meat” only.
  • Macrobiotic diet consist mostly of whole grains and beans.

Is A Vegetarian Diet OK?

In the past, choosing not to eat meat or animal-based foods was considered unusual in the United States. Times and attitudes have changed dramatically, however. Vegetarians are still a minority in the United States, but a large and growing one. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has officially endorsed vegetarianism, stating “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

So what does this mean for you? If you’re already a vegetarian, or are thinking of becoming one, you’re in good company. There are more choices in the supermarket than ever before, and an increasing number of restaurants and schools are providing vegetarian options — way beyond a basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

If you’re choosing a vegetarian diet, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. That’s why the ADA says that a vegetarian diet needs to be “appropriately planned.” Simply dropping certain foods from your diet isn’t the way to go if you’re interested in maintaining good health, a high energy level, and strong muscles and bones.

Vegetarians have to be careful to include the following key nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet:

  • iron
  • calcium
  • protein
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin B12
  • zinc

If meat, fish, dairy products, and/or eggs are not going to be part of your diet, you’ll need to know how to get enough of these nutrients, or you may need to take a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement.

Iron

Sea vegetables like nori, wakame, and dulse are very high in iron. Less exotic but still good options are iron-fortified breakfast cereals, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans), soybeans and tofu, dried fruit (raisins and figs), pumpkin seeds, broccoli, and blackstrap molasses. Eating these foods along with a food high in vitamin C (citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and broccoli) will help you to absorb the iron better.

Girls need to be particularly concerned about getting adequate iron because some iron is lost during menstruation. Some girls who are vegetarians may not get adequate iron from vegetable sources and they may require a daily supplement. Check with your doctor about your own iron needs.

Calcium

Milk and yogurt are tops if you’re eating dairy products — although vegetarians will want to look for yogurt that does not contain the meat byproduct gelatin. Tofu, fortified soy milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, green leafy vegetables, and dried figs are also excellent ways for vegetarians (and vegans) to get calcium. If you are a teen you’re building up your bones for the rest of your life.

Because women have a greater risk for getting osteoporosis (weak bones) as adults, it’s particularly important for girls to make sure they get enough calcium. Again, taking a supplement may be necessary to ensure this.

Vitamin D

We need vitamin D to get calcium into our bones. Your body manufactures vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Cow’s milk is top on the list for food sources of this vitamin. Vegans can try fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals.

Some people may need a supplement that includes vitamin D, especially during the winter months. Everyone should have some exposure to the sun to help the body produce vitamin D.

Protein

Before, it was thought that vegetarians needed to combine incomplete plant proteins in one meal — like red beans and rice — to make the type of complete proteins found in meat. We now know that it’s not that complicated. Current recommendations are that vegetarians eat a wide variety of foods during the course of a day.

Eggs and dairy products are good sources of protein, but also try nuts, peanut butter, tofu, beans, seeds, soy milk, grains, cereals, and vegetables to get all the protein your body needs.

Vitamin B12

B12 is an essential vitamin found only in animal products, including eggs and dairy. Fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals also have this important vitamin. It’s hard to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet if you are vegan, so a supplement may be needed.

Zinc

If you’re not eating dairy foods, make sure fortified cereals, dried beans, nuts, and soy products like tofu and tempeh are part of your diet so you can meet your daily requirement for this important mineral.

Fat, Calories, and Fiber

In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetarians need to keep an eye on their total intake of calories and fat. Vegetarian diets tend to be high in fiber and low in fat and calories. That may be good for people who need to lose weight or lower their cholesterol but it can be a problem for kids and teens who are still growing and people who are already at a healthy weight.

Some vegetarians (especially vegans) may not get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are good for heart health and are found in fish and eggs. Some products, such as soy milk and breakfast bars, are fortified with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid.

High-fiber diets tend to be more filling, and as a result strict vegetarians may feel full before they’ve eaten enough calories to keep their bodies healthy and strong. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know that you’re a vegetarian so that he or she can keep on eye on your growth and make sure you’re still getting adequate amounts of calories and fat.

Getting Some Guidance

If you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, consider making an appointment to talk with a registered dietitian who can go over lists of foods that would give you the nutrients you need. A dietitian can discuss ways to prevent conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia that you might be at an increased risk for if you stop eating meat.

Also, remember to take a daily standard multivitamin, just in case you miss getting enough vitamins or minerals that day.

Tips for Dining Out

Eating at restaurants can be difficult for vegetarians sometimes, but if you do eat fish, you can usually find something suitable on the menu. If not, opt for salad and an appetizer or two — or ask if the meat can be removed. Even fast-food places sometimes have vegetarian choices, such as bean tacos and burritos, veggie burgers, and soy cheese pizza.

Vegetarians can opt for pasta, along with plenty of vegetables, grains, and fruits. You may also find that the veggie burgers, hot dogs, and chicken substitutes available in your local grocery store taste very much like the real thing. Try the ground meat substitute as a stand-in for beef in foods like tacos and spaghetti sauce.

Regardless of whether you choose a vegetarian way of life, it’s always a healthy idea to eat a wide variety of foods and try out new foods when you can.

Famous Vegetarians

All of these actors, musicians, writers, scientists, and artists have maintained a vegetarian diet. Although probably all would testify of reaping many physical benefits, some even contribute their creativity and clear thinking to their healthy eating style.

Paul Newman Paul McCartney Bob Dylan John Denver

“Chubby” Checker Gladys KnightThe B-52’s Leonardo da Vinci

Leo Tolstoy Sir Issac Newton Ralph Waldo Emerson Upton Sinclair

Charles Darwin Ghandi Henry David Thoreau Socrates

*NOTE: All information on Becoming A Vegetarian is for educational purposes only.
For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2012 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.