The Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian Diet

Ovo-lacto vegetarian pyramid

Ovo-lacto vegetarian pyramid

Vegetarian diets can be as good a diet as any other. In fact, one of the main principles of a model healthy eating diet is the consumption of a wide variety of vegetables.

However, it should be noted that only eating a diet of vegetables does cause serious nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of vitamin B₁₂.

Moreover, the inclusion here of an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet (which prevents this nutritional deficiency) should not be interpreted as a recommendation by the Department of Health or the Canarian Paediatric Societies. It is included as one of a variety of model diets whose advantages and disadvantages must be understood.

The ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, if followed with a good variety of vegetables, achieves a good protein balance and assures an adequate provision of vitamins and minerals.

In this publication, there is information about menus for children with an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, and a vegetarian food pyramid is also provided, which includes eggs, dairy products and honey as products of animal origin.

Tips for choosing foods:

  • Eat foods from each of the groups to ensure the provision of protein of adequate quality and to avoid micro-nutrient deficiencies.
  • Limit the use of saturated fats, oils, added sugars and salt.
  • Try to choose wholemeal products as they are richer in minerals.
  • Use vegetable cooking water to make soups and purées, so as not to waste the vitamins and minerals it contains.


The classification of foods in this pyramid is different to that shown earlier, as this one represents the type and quantity of food to be consumed rather than the frequency of eating different foods:

The base of the pyramid shows the foods that should be consumed in larger quantities:

  • Whole Grain: Rice, Oats, Barley, Rye, Corn, Wheat, Millet, Wholemeal Breakfast Cereals, Bread, Pasta.
  • Fruit and Vegetables.
  • Legumes, Peas and Beans (Chickpeas, Peas, French Beans, Lentils, Soya Beans).

The foods in the middle part of the pyramid are those that should be eaten in moderation:

  • Dairy Products: Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, etc.
  • Eggs.

The foods at the apex of the pyramid are those that should be eaten in smaller quantities:

  • Oils, Sugar, Butter, Margarine, Honey, Cream.

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