Twenty healthy, non-smoking, normal-weight omnivores volunteered for a nutrition counselling programme and changed from a mixed to a Scandinavian lactovegetarian diet. Dietary surveys were performed before and 3, 6 and 12 months after the dietary shift. The major trends when changing from a mixed diet to a lactovegetarian diet included an increase in the consumption of fruits, berries, vegetables, herbal tea and dairy products, and a decrease in the intake of biscuits and buns, sweets, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea. There was a total absence of fish, eggs and meat products at 3 and 6 months after the dietary shift. At 12 months after the dietary shift two subjects ate small amounts of these animal products. The energy intake decreased throughout the study. The nutrient intake showed the greatest change between the period before and 3 months after the dietary shift. Between 3, 6 and 12 months after the dietary shift there were only minor changes. The observed change in meal pattern is associated with the change in consumption of various food items, the change in nutrient intake and the change in food preparation methods. Further studies should try to clarify the relationship between meal pattern and food intake, nutrient intake and food preparation methods, because counselling on meal pattern most certainly is more rapid and more easily understood than counselling on food and nutrient intake.