A vegetarian diet can indeed meet all of one's nutritional requirements.
Good sources of protein include lentils, tofu, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, tempeh and peas.
Many common foods such as whole grain bread, greens, potatoes, pasta, and corn add to one's protein intake.
Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids required for growth.
Good sources of iron include dried beans, spinach, chard, beet greens, blackstrap molasses, bulgur, prune juice, brewer's yeast and dried fruit. Foods containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomato, or broccoli, increase the absorption of iron from a meal. Cooking food in iron utensils also adds to iron intake.
Good sources of calcium include collard greens, broccoli, kale, low fat dairy products, turnip greens, tofu prepared with calcium, and fortified soy milk.
A diet containing dairy products or eggs provides adequate amounts of vitamin B12. Certain fortified foods, such as some brands of cereal, nutritional yeast, soy milk, or soy analogs, are good non-animal sources of vitamin B12.
Good sources of zinc include whole grains, nuts, soy products, wheat germ and legumes.
Most vegetarian diets are generally lower than non-vegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.