Vegetarian food pyramid

This is a kind of hint that you can and should actively use when planning your diet. Moreover, it contains not only a list of recommended products, but also advice on the frequency of their use, even in the form of their schematic arrangement. True, it should be borne in mind that its traditional version is focused more on the average lacto-ovo vegetarian. But if you want, you can find options for vegans and other varieties.

All of them at one time were developed by different organizations and supplemented with detailed explanations with a single purpose – to help a person provide his body with the necessary micro- and macroelements in sufficient quantities and to minimize the risk of developing diseases of civilization. But first things first.

Traditional vegetarian food pyramid

It was created in 1998 by a joint effort of scientists from Cornell and Harvard Universities. It is known that they took the Mediterranean diet as a basis simply because the inhabitants of the Mediterranean are rightfully considered one of the healthiest on the planet. In addition to advice on nutrition, the pyramid is accompanied by advice on fluid intake and exercise.


It consists of the following product groups:

  • … Together with other soft drinks, it should form the basis of the diet. At the same time, a person needs to drink about 2 liters of liquid per day.
  • … Raw or freshly cooked will do, the main thing is that the vegetarian eats at least 400 g per day, preferably in three meals. You can replace them with vegetable juices.
  • … For health and well-being, you need no less than 2 servings of fruit or at least 300 g. You can replace them with juices or dried fruits.
  • Cereals and. Do not underestimate these foods, because in addition to complex carbohydrates, they contain vitamins, especially B group, fiber, minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium), and protein. Therefore, they need to be consumed at least 2 – 3 times a day.
  • Proteins. For a vegetarian, these are legumes, soy products, and natural meat substitutes (seitan). It is necessary to include dishes from them in your diet every day, because the body needs 50 – 150 g of protein per day.
  • and. Their main advantage is that they contain essential fatty acids, which most often can only be obtained from fish. And also folic acid, vitamin E, iron and zinc, from the lack of which vegetarians sometimes suffer. They also contain protein, albeit in small amounts. They can be consumed in moderation, 30-60 g per day.
  • … In no case should you refuse them, because they are a source of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K. The main thing is to choose natural products and often fill your favorite dishes with them. According to scientists, about 2 – 4 tablespoons of oil should be consumed per day.
  • … Due to the fact that they enrich the body with calcium, B vitamins, including the very B12, as well as protein, the developers strongly recommend introducing them into your diet, even if in small quantities. Although, ideally, up to 50 g of cheese should be eaten per day or up to 250 g of milk or kefir should be drunk.
  • … In addition to protein, they contain vitamins A, D and B12, as well as iron. To get them, it is enough to consume up to 2 eggs per week.
  • Alcohol and sweets. Red wine, fatty snacks and treats that bring pleasure, albeit sometimes to the detriment of health, are allowed in moderation.

Despite the fact that physical activity and walking in the sun are not considered a separate column, they are still an integral part of a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Moreover, thanks to the latter, the body receives. Therefore, they need to be given at least 30 minutes a day.

Loma Linda pyramid

It was created by scientists from the university of the same name in 1997. This pyramid differs from the previous one in the location of the recommended food groups. In addition, those of them, the use of which is optional, are taken out beyond the conventional line.

  • It is based on a variety of whole grain products, as well as cereals, cereals, legumes and soy products. Enriching the vegetarian’s body with fiber and vegetable protein, they still have one significant drawback – an incomplete amino acid composition. But this is not a reason for frustration, rather, it is simply the need to combine them more often within the same dish. A person should receive 5 – 12 servings of cereals and cereals per day and 1 – 3 servings of legumes. Interestingly, one serving is considered not only 50 g of durum wheat pasta, but also a slice of whole grain bread.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Healthy, tasty and at the same time low in calories, they are combined into the second most important group of essential foods for vegetarians. Moreover, you can eat them in almost unlimited quantities – about 9 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruits per day. By the way, even a small fruit is considered one serving.
  • Nuts and seeds. Much has been said about their beneficial properties. There is only one thing to add: for happiness, a vegetarian needs to eat 1 – 2 handfuls a day.
  • Vegetable oils. According to scientists, you can live without them, but if you really want to, it is enough to add them to dishes in moderation. In just a day, a maximum of 2 tablespoons of oil should enter the body.
  • Dairy products and eggs. Another “optional” element of the diet, however, subject to the intake of vitamin complexes and supplements into the body. If they are not there, it is better to eat about 50 g of cheese and other dairy products and at least 1 egg per day.
  • Sweets. Due to their high sugar content, they should be eaten in moderation or not at all.

In addition to dietary recommendations, scientists focus on the need for regular exercise, walking in the sun, at least 10 minutes a day, and proper drinking regime. In this case, we are talking about 8 glasses of liquid per day.

Vegan Food Pyramid

It was introduced in 2010 by the United States Dietetic Association. This pyramid differs from the previous versions in its appearance, since it is placed in a separate face.

It is interesting that at its base there are still cereals and cereals, of which there should be at least 6 servings per day. The next step is nuts, legumes, and protein-fortified foods. There should be at least 5 servings per day. Vegetables, raw or freshly cooked, and vegetable juices should be 4 servings per day. Fruits, including fruit juices, are even less for a vegan – 2 servings a day. The top of the pyramid is healthy fats, which can serve as familiar vegetable oils (up to 2 tablespoons a day).

One of the sides of the pyramid is calcium-rich foods – fruit juices, almonds, cabbage, tofu, so it is important to ensure that they are always in the diet. And also lead a healthy lifestyle and pay due attention to physical exercise.

New food pyramid

This option was developed by the US Department of Agriculture in April 2005 in response to the aggravation of the problem of overweight in the country. By the way, they associate it with large amounts of food, which must be consumed according to the traditional pyramid, and low physical activity. That is why its full-fledged facet is the emblem of a person climbing the steps, which symbolizes these very physical activities. Otherwise, everything is the same, however, the product groups are shown in the form of colored stripes:

  • Orange represents cereals and cereals, including oatmeal, rice, corn and wheat flour products.
  • Green – vegetables, but not only green, but all kinds.
  • Red – any fruit and freshly squeezed juices.
  • Yellow – vegetable fats, which can be obtained from natural oils, fish, nuts, as well as sugar, etc. It is also symbolic that it is rather narrow, because it means only one thing: moderation in their use.
  • Blue – dairy products. They are a source of calcium, therefore, according to experts, you should not limit yourself here.
  • Purple – legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and meat substitutes (seitan).

By the way, the uniqueness of this pyramid lies in its versatility. By adding meat to food from the purple strip, you can use it, respectively, and meat eaters.

instead of an epilogue

There are other variations of vegetarian food pyramids. Whether or not to rely on them when planning your diet is a personal matter. The main thing is to remember that some of them, according to nutritionists, are rather dubious in terms of their usefulness.

In addition, the question of calorie content remains open. After all, such pyramids are most often focused on the average vegetarian, to whom pregnant women, children or athletes, due to their special lifestyle, do not apply. The developers of the pyramids themselves speak about this, focusing on the fact that when choosing the number of portions, one must also take into account:

  • your parameters (weight, height);
  • age;
  • level of physical activity;
  • general health, etc.

Finally, the last factor is regionality. The scientists who worked on the creation of these pyramids took into account the peculiarities of certain national cuisines, in particular, Asian and Mediterranean. Therefore, they mainly included those products, the use of which is most typical for these regions.

However, this does not mean at all that the vegetarian food pyramid should be completely abandoned. It is much wiser to simply choose your own version and adapt it to yourself and your lifestyle. It is possible that at first you cannot do without a nutritionist, but you need to consider his help as a contribution to the future. Indeed, in the future, his advice will help avoid not only the diseases of civilization, but also iron deficiency and other problems that vegetarians sometimes face.

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