What Do Vegetarians Eat?
Meat-eaters often cannot imagine a diet not
centered around meat and may wonder: what exactly do vegetarians
eat, and aren't they always hungry?
balanced vegetarian diet can be filling, nourishing and
very satisfying without the presence of meat. The key is to
choose from all the available plant-based food categories.
Grains - rice, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, corn
and other grains are a mainstay when answering the question of
'what do vegetarians eat'. Bread, pasta and rice, when
combined with legumes form complete proteins while providing
carbohydrate for fuel.
Beans and Legumes - beans, split peas, lentils
and peanuts are popular choices within this important category.
Legumes provide protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. Soy
bean products, such as tofu, soy milk and soy cheese are
especially high in protein and important to the vegetarian diet.
Vegetables - peppers, squash, broccoli, spinach
and so on add flavor, color, fiber and important nutrients.
Fruit - apples, pears, melons, berries and other
fruit add sweetness, fiber, color and interest to the vegetarian
Nuts and Seeds - almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine
nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and so on provide important
fatty acids not found in other foods, as well as fiber and
protein. In addition, they are a handy answer to 'what do
vegetarians eat for snacks?'
Fermented Soy Products - such as miso, tempeh
and soy sauce contribute B12, sodium and flavor.
Dairy Products - vegetarians who consume dairy
products benefit from the calcium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, B12
and protein these foods provide. Cheese, yogurt and milk
are excellent protein sources.
Eggs - vegetarians who consume eggs benefit from
their perfect protein (all other protein sources are measured
against the amino acid combination found in eggs). Eggs
also supply some B12 and offer great versatility as a cooking
What do vegetarians eat? As you can see,
there's a tremendous variety of healthy foods available to the
vegetarian. The vegetarian diet often centers around
whatever fresh vegetables are on hand instead of what meat is
thawing in the fridge. Combine those vegetables with beans
and grain or grain and dairy and you easily have a balanced meal
(order a veggie cheese pizza without meat if you don't want to
With a little creativity, the question of 'what do
vegetarians eat?' can easily be answered by making minor changes
to what you're already eating. For example, omit the meat
from your spaghetti sauce and add a crumbled soy burger or
garbanzo beans. Or, leave the meat out of Mexican dishes and
get your protein from the tortillas and beans. Ethnic
cuisine often features vegetarian dishes so look to other cultures
to help you answer 'what do vegetarians eat?'