Following a vegetarian diet is far easier than it used to be. With the great variety of vegetarian food now available, many people now enjoy this nutritious and tasty way of eating.
What is a vegetarian diet?
If you're a vegetarian, you don't eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustaceans like crabs, or slaughter by-products like gelatine. Instead, you plump for grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables. You might also not eat dairy products, honey or eggs and so follow a Vegan diet.
Many foods contain ingredients derived from the slaughter of animals. Check that you know what you're looking for:
Gelatine is made from animal ligaments, tendons, bones, etc. Alternatives include agar agar, carrageen and gelozone.
Certain food additives (E numbers) may also be derived from animal sources.
Rennet is used in the cheese-making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes.
- Tesco stocks a range of vegetarian and vegan products and has made it easy for you to find them. Look for the words ‘Suitable for Vegetarians’ with the V icon, which is displayed for products made without meat, fish or poultry but that may contain eggs and milk, or the words ‘Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans’ with the V icon on products that are made without meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk, so are also suitable for vegans.
Is a Vegetarian Diet healthy?
More people are turning vegetarian simply because many of the foods involved are low-fat and high-fibre. According to the British Medical Association, vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, large bowel disorders and cancers, and gallstones. However if you are a vegetarian you do need to watch out that you don't eat too much of something you really like, or neglect a vital food group.
Eating a mixture of plant protein foods will give you the proteins you need. Good sources of protein are milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, tofu, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, soya products and Quorn.
Try these tasty combinations:
Pasta with lentil Bolognese
Porridge with soya milk
Tofu and vegetable stir fry with rice
Quorn chilli with rice
Peanut butter sandwich
Beans on Toast
Omitting meat may result in lower intakes of iron and zinc and increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia. However, there is evidence that the body adapts over time so the risk is small for long term vegetarians. Eating Vitamin C rich foods at the same time as iron rich foods greatly improves iron absorption. Iron is found in wholemeal bread, whole grains, nuts, pulses, green vegetables (broccoli, watercress), fortified breakfast cereals, seeds and dried fruit.
Vitamin B12 is found in soya milk, dairy products, eggs, tofu and fortified foods (e.g. yeast extract, breakfast cereals and soya burger mixes).
Good foods for calcium are fortified soya milk, dairy products, sunflower and sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli, almonds and brazil nuts.
Non-fish sources include soya bean and rapeseed oil, linseeds, walnuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, tofu and omega 3 rich eggs.
Where can I get more information and advice?
Lists of Tesco products suitable for Vegans or Vegetarians are available from our Customer Services and is updated every 3 months:
Telephone: 0800 505555
Write to: Tesco Customer Service, PO Box 73, Baird Avenue,
Dryburgh Industrial Estate, Dundee, DD1 9NF
The Vegetarian Society https://www.vegsoc.org/
The Vegan Society https://www.vegansociety.com/
Vegetarian for Life http://vegetarianforlife.org.uk/