Vegetarian diet: Eat meatless, but properly

Topics on this page:

  • Proper vegetarian diet
  • Vegetarian recipes
  • Vegetarianism in every life situation
  • Reasons for a vegetarian diet

While some people refuse to eat meat and poultry because they simply don’t like it, others reject animal products because they want to spare animals suffering. They invoke general animal rights. This includes a rejection of factory farms. But religious backgrounds also cause people to distance themselves from animal foods. In addition, there are health aspects. Preventing or preventing illnesses motivates many people to rethink their eating habits. Studies have shown that vegetarians generally have better than average health and no deficiency symptoms. Vegetarianism can therefore be considered quite healthy.

Large studies have shown that vegetarians have more favorable blood pressure levels, better body weight, less cardiovascular disease, and longer life expectancy. In addition, vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer.

Forms of vegetarianism and their characteristics


Other forms of vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-vegetarians: Reject meat, fish and their products, allowed are milk and dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarians: Reject meat, fish and their products, allowed are eggs and products made from them.
  • Ovo-lacto vegetarian:  Rejects meat, fish and their products, allowed are eggs, milk and their products.
  • Pescetarians: Reject meat and meat products, but not fish and fish products.
  • Flexitarians: Basically eat a purely vegetarian diet, but in exceptional cases also consume meat or fish.

Proper change of diet

Anyone planning to make the radical switch to vegetarianism must also work on the rest of their diet. As of now, whole grains, legumes, nuts as well as many different vegetables should be eaten. For some people, this may initially cause digestive problems. However, after a few days the body usually gets used to it.

Take your time

Don’t get stressed out when switching from a meat-rich diet to a vegetarian one. Many people find it helpful to start with a few “meat-free days” and then slowly extend them to the whole week.

Pros and cons

Advantages Disadvantages
positive influence on the physical and mental well-being requires a lot of knowledge about food and its contents
lower risk of cardiovascular diseases Deficiency symptoms in the case of an ill-considered combination of foods
lower risk of developing cancer problematic supply of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, protein and iodine (especially in veganism)
lower probability of being overweight not always suitable for everyday use
higher life expectancy than meat consumers

Recommendation of the editorship: Tipps and information for a vegetarian and vegane nutrition find one also in the nourishing encyclopedia of Liebscher & Bracht. Furthermore, there are tips on healthy diets, fasting methods, disease patterns and individual micronutrients. It is worth a visit.

Balanced eating with the “Vegetarian Food Pyramid

Food group Recommended intake per day
Water 1.5 – 2 liters
Fruit and vegetables min. 2 servings (approx. 250g)* fresh fruit and 3 servings (approx. 400g)* fresh vegetables (= 650g / day)
Cereals and potatoes About 2 – 3 servings
Protein products, nuts, seeds, legumes 1 to 2 servings per day of protein-rich products such as fish / meat: total. 50 to max. 150 g*; nuts and seeds total. 30 to 60g*
Vegetable oils and fats 2 – 4 tablespoons
Dairy products and eggs 250 ml of milk or yogurt or up to 50 g of cheese, 0 to2 eggs per week.
Alcohol, sweets, snacks Not necessary. If desired, they can be enjoyed in moderation

*According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), the measure of a serving is one’s own hand. This ensures the amount that fits the personal height and age.

Alleviate discomfort and increase well-being through vegetarianism

A vegetarian diet is not a problem for healthy people. But also for people with a disease, for example a chronic disease, a meat-free diet is quite suitable or can even alleviate symptoms and lead to a better well-being. For example, a vegetarian lifestyle can positively influence the course of diseases such as Crohn’s disease, neurodermatitis, diabetes or gout.

It is important that those affected consult a doctor before changing their diet.

Recipes for a vegetarian 3 course meal

  1. Cut off the stems of the watercress and chop coarsely. Set the leaves aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and stir thoroughly. Add cress stalks and water. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature and simmer the soup, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add cress leaves and simmer briefly. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup. Reheat and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg.
  5. Pour soup into four bowls and garnish each with a spoonful of sour cream.
  1. Béchamel sauce:
    Put milk, bay leaf, pepper, onions and mace in a pot. Heat until just before boiling, remove from heat and let steep covered for 10 minutes. Pass the milk through a sieve and collect it with a bowl. Melt butter in a second saucepan, add flour all at once, stir vigorously and sweat for about 1 minute. Add milk while stirring, place pot on stove and stir to thicken sauce. Taste.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add salt. Cook the macaroni with a little olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes al dente. Drain and place in a baking dish.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190° C. Stir the egg, pecorino, mustard, chives, salt and pepper into the bechamel sauce. Pour sauce over macaroni and top with a layer of tomato slices.
  4. Sprinkle butter cheese, blue cheese and sunflower seeds. Cook in the oven at 180° C for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the top layer is golden brown. Garnish with chives.
  1. Cut the mangoes in half, remove the stones and peel the mango halves. Dice the pulp and divide among four soufflé dishes.
  2. Mix the mascarpone and yogurt. Fold in ginger, lime zest, lime juice and 2 tablespoons sugar. Divide mixture among ramekins, smooth and chill for 2 hours.
  3. Spoon sugar over each ramekin so that they are evenly covered. Bake in the oven on the top rack for about 2 to 3 minutes over high heat until the sugar melts and a crispy brown crust forms. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. Consume the same day.

Vegetarian diet in every life situation

Meatlessness is also perfectly fine in the diet for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is important to pay special attention to a varied diet during this time. Above all, great importance should be attached to ensuring the supply of plenty of iron, folate, zinc and vitamins B6, B12 and A. At best, contact a doctor or nutritionist to obtain an optimal diet plan.About the Veträglichkeit of vegetarian nutrition for infants and young children, there are still too few studies to make a sound statement about it. Some doctors advise against a vegetarian diet in this phase, others see no problem in it. In any case, the diet for infants should be very varied. It is also recommended to introduce only one new food per week during the weaning phase.

Children and teenagers

A whole-food, balanced vegetarian diet in childhood and adolescence can help minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. In addition, vegetarian offspring are less likely to suffer from obesity. It is important that the increased nutrient requirements of adolescents, for example for iron or zinc, are covered. Assistance in this regard is offered by a nutrition expert or the family doctor.

Nutrition plays a major role for people aged 65 and over, because an adequate supply of nutrients helps prevent chronic diseases as well as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A well-designed, varied vegetarian diet can meet nutrient needs into old age. Seniors should pay particular attention to an adequate supply of calcium and vitamin D. For both recreational and competitive athletes, an energy-rich, balanced diet is very important in order to be able to perform accordingly. A vegetarian lifestyle is ideal for athletes because it provides a high amount of carbohydrates with a low amount of fat. In addition, a varied diet also provides an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.