A vegetarian diet may be higher in fat than those containing meat if not carefully designed, warns the California Dietetic Assn. (CDA), Los Angeles District.
"A good vegetarian diet--one that provides all nine of the essential amino acids making up complete proteins--is based on the nutrient-based food group system consisting of milk, meat or meat alternates, vegetables and fruits and breads and cereals," said Rita Storey, RD, president of CDA.
Non-meat protein is found in milk group foods and meat alternatives such as eggs nuts and legumes (beans, peas, lentils and peanuts). Legumes combined with whole grains such as brown rice or cracked wheat, will provide complete proteins.
Some meatless dishes such as quiche, walnut-lentil loaf and macaroni and cheese, however, can be compared to an untrimmed steak in terms of fat content.