Vegetarian choices can also be motivated by a dislike of meat, compassion for animals, and belief in non-violence – or even simply economics.

Some vegetarians choose to eat eggs and dairy products, while some exclude some of these foods too. Vegans are vegetarians who choose not to eat any animal products, including all dairy – like milk and cheese – as well as eggs.

Just like all other decisions when it comes to eating, the nutrients you take in depend upon the food choices you make. Trusted Canadian health professionals universally affirm that it is possible to meet all of our nutrient needs while following a vegetarian diet. And, since there are so many health benefits to choosing more nutrient-dense, plant-based foods more often, adopting a vegetarian diet can for some of us means a step ahead in steering healthy eating decisions.

That said, it is important for vegetarians to know how to swap meat and fish with nourishing alternatives like soy-based foods and beverages, legumes such as lentils and beans, as well as nuts and seeds – and that can take some extra planning. But like with most other great eating plans, the key to a delicious, nutritious vegetarian diet is to savour a wide variety of foods prepared in wholesome ways.