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Different Types of Vegetarian Diets

By Debra Rodzinak

Those new to eating a “meatless” diet are often surprised to find the many different types of vegetarian diets to choose from and how they vary. Here's a look at the vegetarian options if you decide to go meatless.


This type of vegetarian diet includes dairy products.  Milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter are allowed on this type of diet.  Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as foods that contain them, are excluded.


Those who choose this type of vegetarian diet exclude meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.  Eggs, however, are allowed to be consumed.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian

While this type of diet still excludes meat, fish, and poultry, dairy products and eggs are allowed.  Lacto refers to dairy and ovo refers to eggs.


On this particular type of vegetarian diet, the consumption of meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs are excluded.  Fish is allowed along with other types of seafood.


Meat, poultry, dairy, and fish are excluded on this type of vegetarian diet.  However, poultry and eggs are allowed.


This is the most restrictive type of vegetarian diet.  No meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy foods are allowed.  The vegan lifestyle also requires that any foods that are produced by animals are not consumed.  For example, honey is not allowed in a vegan diet because the honey is produced by bees.  Vegans also restrict the types of clothing they wear.  No leather products or wool products are worn because these types of materials come from animals.


This type of diet allows meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish, but only in limited quantities or on occasion.

Planning a Healthy Diet

Including a variety of foods is the key to any successful diet.  The amount of foods needed to get the proper nutrients and vitamins should also be noted.


  • Dark green – 1 ½ cups per week
  • Red and Orange – 5 ½ cups per week
  • Legumes – 3 cups per week
  • Starches – 5 cups per week
  • Other Vegetables – 4 cups per week


  • Varied colors and varieties – 2 cups per day


  • Whole grains – more than 3 ½ ounces per day
  • Refined grains – less than 3 ounces per day


  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. – 3 cups per day


  • Eggs – 3 ounces per week
  • Nuts, seeds, soy – 14 ounces per week


  • Soy, canola, or vegetable – 27 grams per day

Added sugars, solids, fats, or refined starches

  • No more than 290 calories per day

The more restrictive a diet is, the more challenging it is to digest all of the vital nutrients the body needs.  Being aware of your dietary restrictions and needs will keep you healthy.


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