What Makes Up a Healthy Vegetarian Diet?

What Makes Up a Healthy Vegetarian Diet?

First of all, it's important to note that a diet that includes fish but no meat or poultry is referred to as "pescatarian" rather than vegetarian. But no matter what kind of food you prefer, there are a ton of ways to load up on protein without grilling a steak or devouring a fatty hot dog. It's easy to eat healthfully when you combine the proteins below with fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- the staples of any nutritious diet.

Beans, Nuts and Legumes
This is the vegetarian's holy trinity! The group of plant-based proteins includes a wide variety of filling foods like peanuts, chickpeas and lentils.

Two Ways to Eat Them:
Lentil and Almond Burgers
Pasta and Beans


Some vegetarians choose not to eat eggs, but many ovo-lacto vegetarians do. Eggs are great because they're relatively inexpensive and incredibly versatile. It's one ingredient that can be prepared an infinite number of ways.

Soy is healthiest in the form of tofu and tempeh. It's best to avoid processed soy "meats."

Try It:
Tempeh with Apricots and Capers

Seitan is simply wheat gluten. It has a satisfying chewy texture and goes especially well in stir-fries.

Try It:
Garden-Fresh Stir-Fry with Seitan

Not only is quinoa packed with protein, it's rich in fiber and minerals, too.

Two Ways to Try It:
Quinoa with Latin Flavors
Quinoa and Smoked Tofu Salad