Removing meat from your diet completely in order to switch to a vegetarian diet can have unexpected side-effects. Don’t make the error of thinking you’re eating healthy simply because you’re avoiding animal products, instead find out how to avoid the most common mistakes in the vegetarian diet.

Eating the Same Amount of Food

Nutrients come in a more concentrated form in animal products, so eating the same amount of food after you give up meat, eggs, dairy or all of it is one of the most common mistakes in the vegetarian diet. When switching completely to plant food, you’ll need larger quantities of food to get the same nutrients. Balance your new diet correctly by making sure you include plenty of sources of protein for the vegetarian diet and make sure you eat enough to sustain your lifestyle.

Mistakes in the Vegetarian Diet: Thinking It’s All Healthy

Just because a product has “Vegan” written on the label, it’s not automatically healthy. In order to get the taste as close to meat and dairy products, a lot of vegetarian food products contain more salt, that raises blood pressure, and sugar, that can cause spikes in your appetite. Read the ingredients on everything you eat even more carefully than before to make sure you’re not making one of the big mistakes in the vegetarian diet.

Common Mistakes in the Vegetarian Diet

Failing to Provide the Right Nutrients

Some nutrients are simply not available in plant foods in the quantities needed for a healthy human body. Vitamin B12 is the most frequent deficiency associated with a vegetarian diet. You should make sure you eat fortified cereals or drinks with added vitamin B12 for a healthy vegetarian diet. Also be on the look out for foods rich in iron, zinc, carnitine and coenzyme Q10, nutrients that may also be absorbed through the right food supplements.

More on balance and nutrition: How to Have a Balanced Vegetarian Diet

Processed Foods, the Biggest Mistakes in a Vegetarian Diet

Again, vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy under any circumstances. Processed vegan foods and vegetarian junk food can have plenty of unhealthy fats and chemicals that threaten your healthy lifestyle. Avoiding the biggest mistakes in a vegetarian diet includes eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Settling for Salads and Nuts

Going out to eat when you’re a vegetarian is becoming easier, but when you’re at a restaurant where everything on the menu seems to be packed with meat, don’t always settle on munching nuts or eating a simple salad. Check out the side dishes and look for chili and other dishes that provide good nutrition without the animal products you want to avoid.

Common Mistakes in the Vegetarian Diet