Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully planned to include essential nutrients. However, a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and/or saturated fat and not enough important nutrients. Any type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs.
Nutrients to consider in a vegetarian diet:
Protein: Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. Soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin. It can be your sole protein source if you choose.
Vitamin-B complex: Focusing on protein diet alone cannot be sufficient for a healthy body. Vitamin B-complex is required to release energy from proteins. They play a major role in nerve function, for a healthy skin & hair and also to enhance memory.
Source: Milk & Milk products, cereals, legumes like peas & lentils, mushroom etc.
Iron: Vegetarians may have a greater risk of iron deficiency than non vegetarians. However, dried beans, spinach and dried fruits are all good plant sources of iron.
Calcium: Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than non vegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as okra ,spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.
Nuts like almond , walnut , sesame seeds are rich source of Calcium.
Zinc: Zinc is needed for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts and legumes.