How can I convince my parent(s) that being a vegetarian is healthy – that I don’t have to eat meat to get enough protein?
Following a balanced vegetarian diet can absolutely be healthy. Many studies even show that eating a vegetarian or plant-based diet can help prevent certain diseases and is actually healthier than having a diet that is high in meat. Yes, protein is very important for muscle and tissue growth and repair, but meat is not the only source of protein. Excellent vegetarian sources of protein include milk/yogurt, beans, eggs, soy products, and nuts/peanut butter. In addition to protein, vegetarians may come up short on vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids if they eat an unbalanced vegetarian diet (fries, pizza, mac & cheese…). Vegetarians need to plan ahead to make sure they are eating a variety of foods and are able to fit in plenty of plant-based protein, dairy foods, fruits, veggies, and grains every day!