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Becoming A Teen Vegetarian (pg. 2)

Dr. Reed Mangels is a Registered Dietician with the Vegetarian Resource Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about vegetarianism, health, nutrition, ecology and world hunger. Dr. Mangels says that if teen vegetarians make sure they are getting the proper nutrients, they can be just as healthy, if not healthier, than the average omnivore. Take a look at what foods he suggests you incorporate into your vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian Diet - Important Nutrients

Most nutrients can be found naturally in different foods, but there are also supplements that you can take. Dr. Mangels suggests that you visit with a Registered Dietician and have them help you work on a diet specific to your body and your individual needs. Here's the deal on what nutrients you need to stay healthy and where you can get them naturally!

  • Calcium: If you're a Lacto or Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian you can get calcium from any dairy products. If you're a Vegan or Ovo Vegetarian, look for your calcium in fortified soymilk. All vegetarians can find calcium in tofu or dark, green leafy vegetables.
  • Iron: Iron is an important nutrient to make sure you are getting, especially if you're a girl. You can get your daily dose from foods like fortified breakfast cereals (vitamins and nutrients have been added), whole grains and cooked beans.
  • Zinc: Zinc tends to be something that a lot of vegetarian diets lack. So where is zinc hiding? Try eating more nuts, legumes, miso, lima beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, wheat germ and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is something that you can get from fortified soymilk, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs and dairy products. Vegans need to be especially careful that they are getting enough B-12 because they are not eating any animal products, which is where vitamin B-12 occurs naturally.

For more information on vegetarianism, check out the Vegetarian Resource Group's Website, as well as the tips from the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. This may seem like a huge pain but your body will thank you in the end. Did you know that teen vegetarians that stick to their diet into adulthood are able to reduce their risk of heart disease, some cancers, hypertension, and diabetes?

  • 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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