Well-planned vegetarian diets, that exclude meat, fish and poultry and contain a variety of plant-based protein foods, such as soy products, beans, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein and essential nutrients for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Here's some helpful advice from our healthpro Dietetic Clinic;
- Protein - In addition to dairy products and eggs, eat a wide variety of plant-based foods throughout the day to ensure adequate intake of essential amino acids. Examples of good plant sources of protein are beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, and soya.
- Iron - Consume vitamin-C rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, at the same time as plant-based sources of iron such as wholemeal bread, wholegrains, nuts and green leafy vegetables, to maximise absorption.
- Vitamin B12 - Only found in animal products, diets excluding dairy products and eggs should include daily B12-fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and soya products or a regular supplement.
- Calcium - Good sources of dietary calcium include dairy products, sunflower seeds sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli, almonds, brazil nuts, figs, and fortified soya products.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids - In the absence of oily fish from the diet, these essential fatty acids may be obtained through foods such as pumpkin and flax seeds, rapeseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil, soya products, omega-3-fortified spreads, yoghurts, and eggs.
When planning a vegetarian diet it is important to make sure it contains all the necessary nutrients you need for health and training. A vegetarian diet can easily meet the nutritional needs of any sport or lifestyle, when healthy balanced choices are made. If you are unsure about planning a vegetarian diet, find a registered dietitian who can work with you to create a personalised eating plan and help you choose the foods that are best for you and that can meet your individual requirements.
Book an appointment with a registered dietitian here
Published on 13 December 2016 | Back to December Articles