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A vegetarian diet avoids meat and animal products. These are important sources of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and other B vitamins including thiamin, niacin, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6. Vegetarian diets may or may not include milk and milk products, which are important sources of protein, calcium and vitamin B12. By choosing the right balance of foods vegetarian diets can be healthy and nutritious, however, depending on the foods avoided, they may be at a greater risk of becoming deficient in particular nutrients.
With careful planning, the vegetarian diet can be nutritionally adequate, however particular care is needed for a vegan diet. Following are some guidelines for ensuring an adequate intake of the "at risk" nutrients. Ensure you read our 'Micronutrients' resource too.
Issues Specific to a Vegetarian Diet
The following foods contain the same amount of calcium as a serve of milk: