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What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diets?

People choose what to eat based on lots of reasons. Some people are attracted to eating a vegetarian diet for reasons including price and availability of meat, environmental impacts and disliking the taste, to name a few.

Vegetarianism is an umbrella term that includes a variety of diets that omit various animal-based products. These are some different types of vegetarian diets.

  • Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but do not eat other animal-based foods such as fish, meat, poultry or eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs but do not eat any other animal-based food such as meat, poultry or fish.
  • Pescatarians eat fish and seafood but do not eat other animal-based food such as meat, poultry, dairy products or eggs.
  • Pollotarians eat poultry such as chicken and turkey but do not eat meat, dairy or fish.
  • Vegans do not eat any animal byproducts, such as dairy, eggs, meat, fish or poultry. Due to the limited food options of this diet, you may face a higher risk of nutrient deficiency. Still, with the planning of a well-balanced, healthful diet, it can be a successful option.

Due to the lack of animal-based food products in any vegetarian diet, a major concern is adequate protein consumption. Aim to consume about 3½ to 5 ounces of a protein source per day.

Individuals may find they need more than that because plant protein is incomplete (lacks some essential amino acids or protein building blocks) and can require increased consumption when compared with animal-based protein that is complete (has all essential amino acids).

Legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs and dairy products all provide protein.

In addition to protein, the other main concern regarding vegetarianism is receiving adequate vitamins and minerals each day. Aim to eat 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day to provide a majority of the required nutrients each day.

Depending on which a vegetarian diet you choose, you may want to take a multivitamin each day to ensure you have adequate nutrients in your diet.

See the NDSU Extension publication “Cooking 101: Exploring Vegetarian Meals” (FN1897) at for more information about vegetarian diets.


By Maggie Cowan, Dietetic Intern, NDSU Extension
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson

Filed under: fca newsletter, vegetarian

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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