The strategy for a vegetarian sports nutrition plan is the same as any other athlete’s nutritional plan – it needs to have the right balance of all the essential nutrients.
However, there are two questions that are often asked by athletes who are also vegetarians:
The answer to the first question is no, you don’t have to give up being a vegetarian to be successful in sport. However, you do have to be very focused about your diet. There are and have been a number of world beating sports men and women who follow a vegetarian lifestyle.
The answer to the second question is what this article is really all about! So let’s get to it…
While it is true to say that a vegetarian’s diet is healthy there are certain things you should take into consideration. The most obvious risk of a vegetarian diet especially if you are a vegan is that you might have low intake of the following nutrients:
It is important therefore to know the vegetarian sources for some of the essential nutrients which are normally derived from meat and animal products.
|Protein - normally found in meat and poultry products||Milk and dairy products, eggs, peas and beans, tofu and soya products, grains such as rice, pasta, breakfast cereals and bread|
|Iron - normally found in red meat, liver and offal products||Pulses, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, fortified breakfast cereals and breads|
|Zinc - normally found in red meat, fish, shellfish and poultry||Milk and dairy products, eggs, breads, cereals, green leafy vegetables and pulses|
|Calcium – normally found in milk and dairy products (avoided if the athlete is a vegan)||Fortified soy products, leafy vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, white flour products such as breads and breakfast cereals|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2) – normally found in liver and offal||Green leafy vegetables, yeast extracts, fortified breakfast cereals, breads and dairy products|
|Vitamin D – normally found in Oily fish||Breakfast cereals, soya products and fortified margarines|
|Vitamin B12 – normally found in Fish meat and poultry||Soya milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products and yeast extract|
Some Essentials to Remember
It is not always easy to keep track of your nutrient intake when you have to think of substitutes for meat. So here are a few take away points for your vegetarian sports nutrition plan:
From "A Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Plan To " Faster, Stronger, Better – Your Shortcut To Improved Athletic Performance"
More information about a good sports nutrition diet in the Sports Nutrition Guide