Are there any special considerations to take into account when creating a vegetarian or vegan dietary plan?

It is recommended that vegetarians and vegans eat legumes and nuts daily, along with whole grains and pseudo-cereals, to ensure adequate nutrient intake. To get the most out of a vegetarian diet, choose a variety of healthy plant-based foods. These include whole fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Nuts and legumes, such as lentils, beans, and peanuts, are also considered healthy plant-based foods.

Women who follow vegan diets will also need vitamin B12 supplements for optimal brain development for their baby. If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan, plan your diet to make sure it includes all the essential nutrients. A vegetarian diet can be safely followed during pregnancy, as long as you eat regularly to ensure you have enough energy. With planning, a vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, as well as people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Becoming a vegetarian or vegan can have many health benefits, but these diets also come with risks if not properly balanced. Some babies, especially those who are starting out on a vegan diet, supplements may be recommended to ensure that some essential nutrients that animal foods usually provide are provided in adequate amounts (such as iron and vitamin B1). The vegan diet is another form of vegetarianism in which only plant-based foods are consumed and all animal foods (meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs, and sometimes honey and jelly) are avoided. If you're breastfeeding and following a vegetarian diet, you can get all the nutrients and energy you need as long as you include a wide range of foods from all five food groups each day.

However, this has many variations: some people who follow a vegetarian diet may eat eggs and dairy products, while others may avoid one or both. Evidence suggests that vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids may not have the same benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease as those in oily fish. For vegetarians who consume dairy products and eggs, a healthy diet is the same as for anyone else, but without meat or fish. A balanced vegetarian or vegan diet means getting all your essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients from a wide range of sources.

Vitamin B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal products, so it can be difficult to get enough vitamin B-12 in a vegan diet.

If you're following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you need to make sure you're consuming the right amount of essential dietary minerals.

Breastfeeding mothers on vegan diets are advised to continue breastfeeding, ideally for two years or more.