Vegetarianism is not just vegetarianism, but there are different types of meatless diets. We present the lacto-vegetable variant.
Milk yes, eggs no: lacto vegetarians
Vegetarian diets do not include meat, fish and shellfish, something that all forms of this lifestyle have in common. Some remove other foods from the menu: Vegans do not consume any animal products, that is, no milk and milk products, eggs and honey. In contrast, lacto-ovo vegetarians eat these foods, while lacto-vegetarians skip eggs. In addition, there are other groups that live under narrow guidelines. Raw food lovers, for example, opt exclusively for raw, unprocessed ingredients.
This is what lacto-vegetarians eat
Lactovegetarians eat mostly plant-based foods fortified with milk, cheese, and honey. As a result, all important nutrients are generally absorbed. Vegetarian food includes many vegetables, fruits, and salads, as well as grains, legumes, and possibly protein providers such as tofu. Our tofu recipes show you how to make it.
From a nutritional point of view, not eating eggs is not critical. They mainly contain B vitamins as well as vitamins D and E: nutrients that can also be obtained from foods of plant origin, milk and dairy products. Avocados and mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D, vitamin B12 is found in cheese and nuts, and whole grain products are good sources of vitamin B.
Do vegetarians need supplements?
Those who have a balanced vegetarian diet do not need dietary supplements. However, some nutrients are found less frequently in plant products than in meat. Therefore, vegetarians must ensure that they consume enough alternative foods. This is especially true when avoiding all animal products, as vegans do.
Protein, iron, iodine, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the nutrients that we usually get from meat and fish. However, to prevent a deficiency, vegetarians do not have to resort to dietary supplements. Vegetable products also contribute a lot, as long as they are regularly on the menu. Seaweed, for example, tops the list when it comes to the iodine content of foods.
Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas, can meet protein requirements. Pay attention to the combination of different protein products to obtain all the essential amino acids. Soybeans, tofu, and walnuts are also high in protein. They are also vegetarian sources of iron. Millet, oatmeal and pumpkin seeds are especially rich in minerals, as are soy products and legumes such as lentils, navy beans and chickpeas. In particular, in case of iron deficiency, it must be remembered that the body cannot absorb iron from plant products as effectively as iron from animal products. The simultaneous intake of vitamin C, for example in the form of orange juice, has a supporting effect. Coffee and black tea, on the other hand, inhibit iron absorption.
Lack of vitamin B12 is actually not uncommon among vegetarians. Instead of dietary supplements, it is advisable to include dairy products and eggs in the menu. Vegans can use purely plant-based products fortified with vitamin B12, such as breakfast cereals or soy milk. Pregnant women, in particular, should make sure they are sufficiently stocked.
Fish is rich in vital iodine. If this source of iodine is lacking, iodized table salt should definitely be used when preparing food. Shellfish and fish are also an important source of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians and vegans will find fortified products like margarine as an alternative. In addition, the use of certain oils can cover the needs for omega-3 fatty acids. Rapeseed oil, linseed oil and walnut oil are suitable for this.
However, if vegetarians are unable to fully meet their nutritional needs through a balanced diet, dietary supplements may be the means of choice. This could be the case, for example, during pregnancy. However, such preparations should only be taken if a deficiency has been medically established. Therefore, a prior consultation with the doctor is essential.
Finding and substituting eggs in food
If you, as a lacto-vegetarian, constantly want to avoid eggs, there are certain foods to watch closely. Eggs are found in many processed foods, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, pasta, ice cream, and soups. Since they are subject to labeling, a look at the ingredient list gives you certainty when in doubt. This also applies to foods labeled vegan, for which there are no other legal guidelines: if they contain eggs, this must be indicated on the packaging, as it is a potential allergen. By the way, you can easily replace eggs with other ingredients when cooking and baking. Substituting soy flour, fruit puree, or powder are all options – you can learn more about cooking without eggs from our cooking experts.