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Sources of Some Essential Nutrients in a Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet is healthy if it is carefully planned. If a vegetarian diet is too restricted, it may be unhealthy. Certain essential nutrients are harder for vegetarians to find in plant foods. Vegetarians may need to make a special effort to get enough calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12. It also can be difficult to get an adequate amount of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. This is especially true if NO animal products (not even dairy products or eggs) are included in the diet.

Amounts of Some Essential Nutrients Needed Each Day for Children

Calcium

1 to 3 years..............500 milligrams (mg)

4 to 8 years..............800 mg

9 to 18 years............1300 mg

Iron

1 to 3 years.............. 7 milligrams (mg)

4 to 8 years..............10 mg

9 to 13 years..............8 mg

14 to 18 years............11 mg (boys), 15 mg (girls)

Zinc

7 months to 3 years........3 milligrams (mg)

4 to 8 years...............5 mg

9 to 13 years..............8 mg

14 to 18 years............11 mg (boys), 9 mg (girls)

Vitamin D

0 to 13 years..............5 micrograms (mcg)

14 to 18 years.............5 mcg

Vitamin B-12

1 to 3 years...............0.9 mcg

4 to 8 years...............1.2 mcg

9 to 13 years..............1.8 mcg

14 to 18 years.............2.4 mcg

Sources of Some Nutrients for Vegetarians

 
CALCIUM                             mg per serving
------------------------------------------------------  
Legumes (1/2 cup cooked) 
Navy beans                                      60 
Black beans                                     46 
Vegetarian baked beans                          64 

Soy foods (1/2 cup)
Cultured soy yogurt, fortified                 367 
Tofu                                    120 to 430 
Soy milk, calcium fortified             100 to 159 
Soy nuts                                       120 

Nuts and seeds  
Almonds, 1/4 cup                                88 
Almond butter, 2 tablespoons                    86 

Vegetables (1 cup cooked) 
Broccoli                                        79 
Collard greens                                 239 
Turnip greens                                  208 

Fruits 
Dried figs, 5                                  137 
Calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup          300 

Dairy
Cow's milk, 1/2 cup                     137 to 158 
Cheddar cheese, 1/4 oz                         153
Yogurt, plain 1/2 cup                   137 to 230



IRON                                mg per serving
------------------------------------------------------ 
Breads, cereals, and grains 
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice                     0.9 
Cereal, fortified, 1 cup               2.1 to 18 
Oatmeal, instant, 1/2 cup                      1.6 

Vegetables (1/2 cup) 
Broccoli                                       0.9 
Bok choy                                       0.7 
Tomato juice, 1 cup                            0.7 
Turnip greens                                  0.6 

Legumes (1/2 cup cooked) 
Baked beans, vegetarian                        1.7 
Black beans                                    1.8 
Navy beans                                     2.3 

Soy foods (1/2 cup) 
Soybeans, cooked                               4.4 
Tofu                                           6.6 
Soy milk                                0.4 to 1.0 

Nuts/seeds (1/4 cup) 
Cashews                                        1.5 
Pumpkin seeds                                  5.2 
Sunflower seeds                                2.3 

Other foods 
Blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon              3.5 


ZINC                                mg per serving 
------------------------------------------------------
Breads, grains, and cereals 
Cereal, fortified 1 oz                 0.7 to 15 
Wheat germ, 2 tablespoons                      1.8 

Legumes (1/2 cup cooked) 
Adzuki beans                                   2.0 
Baked beans, canned                            1.8 
Lima beans                                     0.9 
Lentils                                        1.2 

Soy foods (1/2 cup cooked) 
Soybeans                                       1.0 
Tofu                                           1.0 
Veggie meats, 1 oz                      1.2 to 2.3


Vegetables (1/2 cup cooked) 
Peas                                           1.0 
Mushrooms                                      0.7 


VITAMIN D                           mcg per serving
--------------------------------------------------------
Cereals, fortified, 1 oz                 0.5 to 1
Egg yolk, large, 1                              0.6
Cow's milk, fortified                    1.2 to 1.3
Soy milk, fortified, 1/2 cup             0.5 to 1.5


RIBOFLAVIN                            mg per serving
--------------------------------------------------------
Almonds, 1/4 cup                                0.3
Cereal, fortified, 1 oz                  0.2 to 1.7
Cow's milk, 1/2 cup                             0.2
Yogurt, 1/2 cup                                 0.3
Egg, large, 1                                   0.6
Mushrooms, cooked, 1/2 cup                      0.2
Nutritional yeast miniflakes, 1 tablespoon      1.9
Soy milk, fortified, 1/2 cup                    0.2

VITAMIN B-12                            mcg per serving
---------------------------------------------------------
Cereals, fortified, 1 oz                 0.6 to 6.0
Cow's milk, 1/2 cup                      0.4 to 0.5
Egg, large, 1                                   0.5
Nutritional yeast miniflakes, 1 tablespoon      1.5
Soy milk, fortified, 1/2 cup             0.4 to 1.6
Veggie "meats," fortified, 1 oz          0.5 to 1.2


LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3  FATTY-ACIDS)  grams per serving 
-----------------------------------------------------------
Canola oil, 1 tablespoon                 1.3 to 1.6
Flaxseed, ground, 1 tablespoon           1.9 to 2.2
Flaxseed oil, 1 teaspoon                        2.7
Soybean oil, 1 tablespoon                       0.9
Soybeans, cooked, 1/2 cup                       1.0
Tofu, 1/2 cup                                   0.7
Walnuts, 1/4 cup                                2.7
Walnut oil, 1 tablespoon                 1.4 to 1.7
Developed by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-11-27
Last reviewed: 2006-09-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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