• How to ensure a plant-based diet is nutritionally complete

Millie Padula is a Nutritionist, Dietitian and ambassador for  Inside Out Nutritious Goods.

Today, she shares her knowledge with Melbourne Lifestyle Blog on how to ensure a plant-based diet is nutritionally complete.

How to ensure a plant-based diet is nutritionally complete 

Dietary patterns that are centred around the consumption of plants can easily provide all the nutrients you need to lead a healthy life. Despite common misconceptions, a well-planned, balanced plant based diet (one that includes small amounts of animal products or excludes them entirely) can be nutritionally complete, given you pay careful consideration to the nutrients present in the food groups you have limited or removed so you can replace these elsewhere in your diet from a food source that aligns with your dietary goals and values. 

Let’s take a closer look at the most common nutrients I see as a Dietitian that are lacking in plant-based diets.  If you suspect a nutritional deficiency, please seek medical guidance from a doctor and dietary advice from a dietitian who can prescribe you the most appropriate dietary interventions. 


Dairy foods are the richest source of Calcium, which is why calcium consumption can be inadequate for those who choose to exclude cheese, milk and yoghurt from their diet. Calcium is essential for the strength of our teeth and bones, but also plays an imperative role in the functioning of our cardiovascular, neurological and muscular systems. If we fail to meet our daily calcium requirements, our risk of osteoporosis is exacerbated. Aim for 1000mg of calcium each day from green leafy vegetables, pulses, calcium-set tofu, sesame seeds and fortified plant-milks such as Inside Out’s Unsweetened Almond Milk. Just 1 cup contains 20% of our daily calcium requirements. Inspired by their original and best-selling fresh almond milk, which uses only the very highest quality pressed Australian almonds, Inside Out’s long-life range is made from 100% Australian premium, non-GMO, clean ingredients, with no added sugar, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.

Vitamin D

Most of us meet our daily Vitamin D requirements through safe sun exposure, however it is important to understand that most dietary sources are animal-based and may be difficult to attain for those following plant-centric diets. Aim for 5-10ug (depending on your age) of Vitamin D per day from enriched mushrooms (mushrooms left in the sun for 20 minutes) and fortified plant-based milks can be a useful way to ensure you are meeting your calcium, Vitamin D and B12 requirements. Just 1 cup of Inside Out’s Milkish Oat contains 50% of your daily Vitamin D requirements, that’s impressive! 

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for brain function, bodily inflammation and heart health. Commonly found in marine sources such as salmon and tuna, levels in vegans and plant-based eaters may be low. Incorporate walnuts, chia seeds, soy products, flaxseeds and algae into your diet to help meet your requirements. 


Essential for energy and hormone production, meeting your Iron requirement is crucial. Whilst you might believe animal products are the only way for us to consume enough iron, think again. Plant-based iron sources include lentils and legumes, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron-rich sources also tend to be high in protein (think pulses, tofu, nuts and seeds) which makes it easier for plant-based eaters to meet their protein requirements too. 


Meeting your B12 requirements can be difficult on a vegan or plant-based diet because the richest sources are animal foods such as meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs and dairy. B12 is present in fortified foods such as Vegemite, nutritional yeast and plant-based milks. Again, 1 cup of Inside Out’s Oat Milk contains 1ug of B12 which is 50% of your B12 requirements. 


Lastly, let’s talk about Zinc. Predominantly found in seafood and meat, meeting your zinc requirements may be a little more difficult (not impossible though) on a plant-based diet. You can find Zinc in pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, tofu and certain whole-grains, so be sure to include a variety of these foods in your diet to ensure your zinc intake is adequate. 

Take home tip: Enjoy a wide variety of plant-based foods from each food group to ensure a nutritionally adequate diet and seek professional advice if needed. 

Recipe - Choc Oat Mousse


300g silken tofu

200g dark chocolate

180ml of Inside Out Milkish Oat Milk


1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. 

2. Refrigerate for four hours.

3. Serve with fresh berries.