Following this question and other food-related questions, including on Quora, I failed to see mention of a meal without meat or fish. I suppose:

  • It is technically possible to have healthy vegetarian space food?
  • As any other human being, astronauts may have alimentary restrictions (whatever the reason).

Has there already been an astronaut who ate vegetarian for all their journey in space? Let's restrict this question to journeys longer than one day (otherwise, not eating would be valid).


3 Answers 3


Yes, a simple Google query returns a few astronauts who were or are vegetarians:

From the answer to my previous question that you linked:

In the shuttle and post-shuttle era, with actual toilets available, astronauts have more options, and can pretty much ask for whatever they want for their pre-flight breakfast -- for example, lobster and baked potato -- but many stick to the steak-and-eggs tradition.

In this modern age of manned space flight, having convenient and working toilets means that crew members can enjoy any dietary requirements they might have, limited only by the olfactory tolerances of the companion crew members and NASA guidelines.

Foodstuff that might cause health issues (oysters, shellfish, allergies, etc.) or otherwise might affect the other crew members or equipment/mission might well be denied. However, that's a different question.


In addition to the vegetarian and even vegan astronauts mentioned elsewhere, there soon may be more. In at least one of many possible scenarios for food on long flights, NASA astronauts on the proposed Mars mission for 2030 will be on vegan diets. The need for sustainable food options and preservability of the food is driving this choice.

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    $\begingroup$ @Therac mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/3/1318/htm The vegan diet has its disadvantages, but it is on the whole the healthiest. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Jun 21, 2019 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage: “extra items (products such as humus, tofu, quorn and fortified cereals, and fortified soy drinks) that are typically used by vegans and vegetarians were included” (emphasis mine). Of course you can make any diet work if you add supplements. I do think that a vegan diet is best from an ethical and environmental standpoint, but it’s hard to get enough protein and some micronutrients from plants only. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jun 22, 2019 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ "it’s hard to get enough protein ... from plants only." Not exactly. The larger problem is getting the right combination of amino acids for assimilation into human proteins. Amino acids are the thing, because all ingested proteins are broken down to their amino acid components by digestion before being reassembled into our proteins. $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2019 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ @OscarLanzi: True, but the amount itself is also a problem. To reach 1.5g protein per kg body mass I’d have to eat half a kg of dried chickpeas or other legumes which would have ~1500kcal on their own. With food such as low fat curd cheese or eggs it’s much easier and they have a better amino acid profile. Sorry for starting this discussion. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jun 22, 2019 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ Re NASA astronauts on the proposed Mars mission for 2030 will be on vegan diets. That's typical popsci media overhyping a NASA research effort into raising the readiness of something at a very low technology readiness level (TRL). Supplying food for a 3 year mission to and from Mars is at a rather low TRL. This is not a problem for the ISS, or even for missions to the Moon because the technology to store foods at room temperature for over a year is a solved problem. Two years is a challenge. Three years (which requires four year shelf life) is a big problem. (continued) $\endgroup$ Jun 23, 2019 at 18:27

As astronaut is always to choose the food of his/her own choice . They have a tasting period of 15 days to eat and choose what foods he/she likes to eat in space and the food choice has to meet the standard for rocket travel though. Of course there will be moderation by nutrition experts to ensure the astronaut is getting the recommended diet value of car/calories and so on.

Kalpana Chawla, a vegetarian stayed in space for close to 31 days. There are a few other people who stayed much longer than this.

P.S.: Not every astronaut is going to be vegetarian but if they are going to Mars they should become vegans. The Mars living room test (underground test) for 1 year included only vegan foods.

Food Options in Space

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! Can you support your answer with references? For example, where did you get the information that Kalpana Chawla was vegetarian? Do astronauts have as much choice over their diet as you claim? Why "should" astronauts going to Mars be vegetarians? You need to support these claims in your answer. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Jun 21, 2019 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ I have added links which i know of. Let me know if you need more links. $\endgroup$
    – yoga
    Jun 24, 2019 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ It's incorrect to say that "As astronaut is always to choose the food of his/her own choice". There are strict limitations on what can be flown in spacecraft. They are allowed to pick their food choices from the list of allowable foods. $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2019 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ good catch @OrganicMarble. I have updated the statement. $\endgroup$
    – yoga
    Jun 24, 2019 at 18:11

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