Which one are you:

  • Strict vegetarian or vegan: A vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products.

  • Lactovegetarian: A vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products.

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products. Most vegetarians in the United States fall into this category.

  • Flexitarian: A semi-vegetarian diet with a focus on vegetarian food with occasional meat, poultry, or fish consumption.

Please check out The Eat Right Organization website.

5 important Nutrient Deficiencies for Vegetarians & Vegans

  1. Calcium: Sources of calcium rich food: Rabe broccoli, kale, bok choy, dried figs, fresh broccoli, oranges, green soy beans, calcium fortified almond/rice/soy milk, tofu and orange juice.

  2. Iron: Sources of iron rich food: lima beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas, tofu, pumpkin/sesame/squash seeds, dried apricots, broccoli, spinach, potato, pasta, iron fortified cereal, etc.

  3. Protein: Sources of protein rich food: soft/firm tofu, kidney beans, black beans, quinoa, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, etc.

  4. Vitamin B12: Sources of vitamin B12 rich food: fortified Almond milk, coconut milk and soymilk, nutritional yeast, fortified cereal, etc.

  5. Vitamin D: Sources of vitamin D rich food: fortified almond milk, orange juice and soy yogurt, Chanterelle mushrooms, etc.

For strict vegans, you might need to take a multivitamin/minerals one a day if not eating a wide variety of nutrient dense food. Make sure to talk with your registered dietitian before taking any supplement.

For healthy recipes, please visit the student health center, grab some free recipe cards from the front desk!

Information provided by: Sarah Khan, USC Graduate Student & Dietetic Intern at SMC


Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020

Food Sources of 5 Important Nutrients for Vegetarians