Can vegetarians eat shrimp?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can vegetarians eat shrimp?” Also, we’ll explore what types of vegetarianism there are, why fish is not considered vegetarian, and what alternatives there are to shrimp for vegetarians. 

Can vegetarians eat shrimp? 

In a stricter sense, vegetarians may object to shrimp and other types of shellfish. By definition, vegetarians do not condone the slaughter of animals for sustenance.

Some vegetarians may rebuke the exploitation of animals for consumption, and this may extend to animal by-products such as dairy and eggs. 

However, within what are considered forms of vegetarianism, there is a type known as pescatarians, who do not eschew the consumption of fish and other types of sea foods. 

Therefore, some vegetarians may consume shrimp, prawns, lobsters, oysters, fish, and other seafood animals. 

This is however a matter of conviction, preferences and on occasion, dietary needs. 

What types of vegetarianism are there? 

Vegetarianism is an umbrella term used to describe individuals whose dietary preferences veer away from the consumption of meat and on occasion, animal byproducts. 

There are five types of vegetarianism, namely: 

  • Lacto-vegetarians – are those who avoid consuming meat, fish, and foods that are sourced from slaughtered animals. This may extend to some products such as cheeses that are made with rennet.
  • Ovo-vegetarians – are those who eschew meat, fish, and dairy, and consume eggs as a source of protein. Similar to lacto-vegetarians, they limit themselves to the consumption of protein that doesn’t require animal slaughter.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians – are a combination of the above-listed. They limit their animal protein to the intake of dairy products (save for cheese made with rennet) and eggs.
  • Pescatarians – are those who eschew the consumption of red meat. This may be medically required, as some patients may be instructed by their physicians to cut out their consumption of red meat. Alternatively, it may be a personal choice.
  • Veganism – these eschew the consumption of all animal products and by-products. Their diet is mostly plant-based, and outside of it, they can consume non-animal foods such as mushrooms.

Often, veganism expands well beyond dietary needs, and it can be reflected in the use of plant-based apparel and accessories (as they eschew leather and other products sourced from slaughtered animals). 

Why are shrimp not vegetarian? 

As vegetarians object to sourcing food from animals some may frown upon eating shrimp and other animals such as mollusks, shellfish, fish, and specialty foods. 

Some, however, may not have any qualms and consume it without a hitch. Being a pescatarian may be a personal choice or a medically indicated dietary style. 

There may be some confusion as to what meat is, and some may stem from cultural observations such as lent, and kosher. 

In the strict sense, all seafood is meat, though some religious tenets (such as Lent) may allow for the consumption of certain types during their festivities,  

Others, however, may forbid the consumption of some types with no room for discussion, such as Judaism. 

What alternatives are there to shrimp for vegetarians?

Vegetarians can consume substitutes such as those made from soy, seaweed, and other plant-based meal types. 

Vegan shrimp, a novelty food for this type of dieting, is manufactured using Konjac seaweed, though there are many recipes and variations that can be homemade and easily incorporated into vegan seafood dishes. 

Many people are turning to plant-based dieting, and a plethora of foods that were being manufactured with animal products and byproducts are now being formulated with vegan-friendly ingredients. 

Additionally, protein sources such as soy meal, and other pulse crops can be used as substitutes for seafood in many dishes. 

However, while plant-based dieting seems like both an economic and environmentally-friendly lifestyle choice, it is not necessarily synonymous with healthy, as few foods can provide the protein intake and other nutritional characteristics of animal products. 

Ultimately, diet preferences constitute a personal choice, and it is up to our users to decide what type of diet best suits their nutritional needs. 

If you wish to transition to a plant-based diet, we encourage you to speak with a certified medical professional, and/or a nutritionist. 

Either can help you safely make the dietary changes you desire, and provide tailored guidance for you to address your nutritional needs. 


In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can vegetarians eat shrimp?” Also, we’ll explore what types of vegetarianism there are, why fish is not considered vegetarian, and what alternatives there are to shrimp for vegetarians. 


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment