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Becoming A Teen Vegetarian

Teenagers around the globe are jumping on the vegetarian bandwagon, declaring their distaste for meat. But while teens are making a stand against animal cruelty, are they neglecting their health in the process? Find out how you can be a healthy, veggie teen.

Vegetarian Diet - The Break Down

First you need to establish what kind of vegetarian you are. Are you going to eat dairy products, eggs or just plant-based foods? Check out what we are talking about.

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: A Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian is someone who eats dairy products (like milk and cheese) as well as eggs and all plant-based foods (this is veggies, grains, fruits, etc.).
  • Lacto Vegetarian: A Lacto Vegetarian is someone who eats dairy products and plant-based foods but not eggs.
  • Ovo Vegetarian: An Ovo Vegetarian is someone who eats eggs and plant-based foods but no dairy products.
  • Vegan or Pure Vegetarian: This is someone who does not eat any dairy products or eggs and only eats plant-based foods.

Vegetarian Diet - Concerns

The biggest concern for teens (vegetarian or not), is getting all the right nutrients. When you cut meat out of your diet, you now have to be creative in the meals that you prepare for yourself. A common rut that first-time vegetarians fall into is having a diet that consists mainly of pasta, pizza and other convenience-type foods. While these meals are fine once in a while, the teen vegetarian has to get into the habit of including beans, tofu, lentils, nuts and other meat alternatives along with lots of nutrient-rich veggies into their diet. Often, a teen vegetarian that has a properly balanced diet is getting way more fiber, vitamin C and other essential nutrients than the average teen omnivore (someone who eats both meat and plant-based foods).

  • Click here to find out which nutrients some teen vegetarians tend to lack, and which foods you can eat to get 'em!
  • Stumped on what kind of meals you can make now that you're a vegetarian? Why not check out one of the hottest veggie cookbooks from Real Food Daily owner, Ann Gentry? Big stars like Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Reese Witherspoon dine at her three California restaurants and now you can make her dishes in your very own kitchen! Head to www.realfood.com to purchase your copy of the book.
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  • Cheese made from goat's milk.
  • A protein-rich soybean curd.
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  • A gelatin-based meat alternative.

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Friends grow apart as we grow up and change at different rates. It's fine to stop being friends, but it doesn't have to be in a mean way. The best thing to do is talk to her (nicely). You don't have to tell her she's being childish or you feel as if you've matured more. That would be terrible. Talk about things you guys like to do in common or make plans to try new things together. Or don't mention it at all, but don't just begin ignoring her. Eventually the friendship will fade the less time you spend together. 
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