Diets with less meat and dairy and more sustainable plant based foods can provide enough protein, minerals and vitamins, provided that a varied choice of plant foods is consumed. Main sources of plant proteins are nuts, pulses, and whole grain cereals. Current consumption of pulses and nuts as a replacer of meat is low. Fortified meat and dairy substitutes can also be a source of certain vitamins and minerals (iron, calcium, vitamins B2 en B12). This is especially true for vitamin B12, since it cannot be supplied by plant sources.
RIVM carried out an exploratory study on the nutritional consequences of a shift from conventional animal to (more) sustainable protein rich plant foods. The focus was on protein, amino acids and selected micronutrients. In the Netherlands, meat and dairy deliver half of the daily protein intake. People consuming no meat typically do consume dairy products. In addition to dairy, grains are the main source of protein for them. Meat and dairy are major sources of vitamins A, B1, B2, en B12 and minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium en zinc. Further studies are needed to quantify the effects of different dietary patterns in which meat and dairy intake is reduced.