Meal Planning for Vegetarian Diets

Many people are choosing to follow a vegetarian diet these days. People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat any meat (meaning no red meat, poultry, seafood, or products made with these foods).

If you choose to follow a vegetarian diet, be sure to eat a mix of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy products (if you choose to include dairy).

There are many different types of vegetarian diets. The most common types are:

  • Vegan — This group does not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian — This group does not eat meat or eggs. However, they will eat dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian — This group does not eat any meat. However, they will eat both dairy products and eggs.

Is it Safe for Someone With Diabetes to Follow a Vegetarian Diet?

Yes! A vegetarian diet is a healthy option, even if you have diabetes. Research supports that following this type of diet can help prevent and manage diabetes. In fact, research on vegan diets has found that carbohydrate and calorie restrictions were not necessary and still promoted weight loss and lowered participants' A1C.

Vegan diets are naturally higher in fiber, much lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol-free when compared to a traditional American diet. The high fiber in this diet may help you feel full for a longer time after eating and may help you eat less over all. When fiber intake is greater than 50 grams per day on a vegan diet, it may help lower blood glucose levels.

This diet also tends to cost less. Meat, poultry, and fish are usually the most expensive foods we eat.

The Vegan Diet

This is also called the total or pure vegetarian diet. Those who follow a vegan diet do not eat any meat or foods made with meat products.

People with diabetes can choose to follow this type of vegetarian diet too. The vegan diet includes a variety of plant-based foods. Eating soy products and a mix of vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains provides plenty of protein and other important nutrients. The main nutrient of concern for this group is vitamin B12, so taking a supplement or multi-vitamin is usually necessary.

Be sure to check out the Key Nutrients page to learn more about vitamin B12.

Featured Book

Vegetarian CookbookThe Vegetarian Cookbook

Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian or just trying to incorporate a few meatless meals into your week, this easy-to-follow cookbook is your personal guide to a healthier lifestyle, from selecting flavorful seasonal vegetables and building a pantry to preparing the most delicious and satisfying vegetarian dishes inspired by global cuisine.


Next: Protein and Vegetarian Diets

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: May 14, 2014

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