The vegetarian diet pyramid is a great tool to help you prepare balanced, nutritious, plant based meals for you and your family.
Following a few simple guidelines will ensure you obtain the necessary vitamins and nutrients you need to maintain a happy, healthy meat free lifestyle.
Sweets - pie, ice cream, cookies, cake (I'm sure you can come up with something... we've all got our favorites)
Nuts - pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios., pecans, peanut butter
Seeds - pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Plant Oils - avocado oil, olive oil, soybean oil, canola oil, cocoa butter, safflower oil, coconut oil
Dairy - cheese, yogurt, milk
Fruits - avocados, apples, oranges, melons, bananas, plums, grapes, strawberries, cherries, pears, pomegranate
Vegetables - mushrooms, cabbage, squash, celery, lettuce, eggplant, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots
Whole Grains - oats, pasta, rice, bulgar, quinoa, millet, whole grain bread, couscous, corn, flax, pita, rye
Beans and Legumes - soy, kidney beans, red beans, tempeh, tofu, peas, textured vegetable protein, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, lentils
In addition to the above dietary guidelines, it is recommended that you follow the serving suggestions outlined in the vegetarian diet pyramid below. This is the easiest way to ensure you are consuming enough of the right foods to get the proper nutrients on a vegetarian diet.
Photo Credit: Loma Linda University Vegetarian Diet Pyramid
Studies have shown that people who consume a vegetarian diet have the lowest rate of cancer and chronic illness and a higher life expectancy than those who consume a diet packed with animal proteins and processed foods.
Many of the foods contained in the vegetarian diet pyramid are unprocessed and unrefined, so your body can extract vital nutrients from them and digest them much easier than the Standard American Diet.
In addition, consumption of cleaner, more natural food provides your body essential nutrients that help it to perform at peak condition. It's not uncommon for people to feel lighter, more energized and overall more healthful on a plant based diet.