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Myth 16: You Don't Need to Eat Healthy if You're a Vegetarian

Pediatric Fitness

Myth 16: You Don't Need to Eat Healthy if You're a Vegetarian

There are many misconceptions about proper nutrition and exercise. Nutritionists from the Pediatric Fitness Clinic explore different myths and misconceptions, the truth behind them, and offer suggestions for what you can do instead.

Myth: You don’t need to eat healthy if you’re a vegetarian.

Truth: One dietary lifestyle does not make a person healthy. Health is the product of eating well and exercising regularly.

Some people believe that being a vegetarian makes them healthy. However, one dietary lifestyle does not make a person healthy. Health is the product of eating well and exercising regularly. There are many different types of vegetarianism.

  • Lacto-ovo: Eats dairy and egss, but no meat, fish or poultry
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Eats dairy but no eggs)
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Eats eggs but no dairy)
  • Vegan: No eggs, dairy or any animal byproducts like honey

No matter the type of vegetarian, the types of food and the amount of food is more important.

Vegetarian lifestyles can sometimes make it harder to be healthy. Vegetarians have to pay attention to ensure that they get enough:

  • Protein: Minerals (iron, calcium, zinc)
  • Vitamins: Vitamin D, Vitamin B12

Try This Instead

  • Make an appointment with a dietitian to review what you eat. A dietitian can help make sure you are eating all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.
  • Choose plant-based proteins such as beans, nuts, seeds, tofu or soy. Enjoy eggs and low-fat dairy for good sources of protein.
  • Take extra steps to be sure you have at least three food groups at meals to avoid eating only grains.

Parental Advice

  • A vegetarian diet for kids can be healthy, as long as it is carefully thought out. Growing bodies have a greater need for vitamins and minerals. Consider embracing vegetarian lifestyle one day per week with "Meatless Mondays."
  • If the whole family is not vegetarian, try making dishes with meat on the side, like pasta with sauce or tacos.
  • Try a meat-substitute like veggie burgers or bean burgers.