Going vegetarian can be a healthy choice, but you need to be smart about how you do it. Why? Eating meat is an easy way to
-- that's when you have low iron and it makes you feel tired. And it's easiest to get
protein for healthy muscles
by eating fish, meat, eggs, or low-fat dairy. And you still need
calcium and vitamin D for your bones.
It's easiest to get those from dairy foods like low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese. But you have options.
If you're skipping meat, eat dark-green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified breads, or cereals to get iron and help avoid anemia. For protein when you're skipping meat and dairy, try tofu or other beans.
Dairy can be tougher to replace. Greens and some veggies have calcium but you may have to eat a lot more than you think to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Some orange juices have Vitamin D so that can help. But remember, juice can have a lot of unhealthy sugar. Try sticking to just one 8-ounce glass a day.
Bottom line: If you're giving up meat or dairy, talk with your doctor about how to do it safely and whether you should take vitamins.