Packed with protein, this vegetarian and vegan meal plan boosts immunity, accelerates results and improves performance.
Veg out with the best-ever meal plan for plant-based athletes.
going green has a whole new meaning these days as more and more people opt for a plant-heavy diet. Whether you’re into animal rights or are simply greening up for health reasons, going vegetarian (or vegan) takes some careful planning. There are several vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you’ll have to consciously include — either in food or supplement form — in order to stay healthy, active and kicking ass in the gym. Here’s the lowdown on what it takes to veg out.
The New Rules of Protein
A lot of people get confused about what to eat, how and when as a vegetarian or vegan, but it’s really not all that complicated. All the clean-eating rules still apply, so no deep-frying your sweet potatoes or drowning your salad in blue cheese dressing. And keep control of your intake of sweets and junk foods, even if they are labeled vegan or vegetarian: A vegan cookie is still a cookie, and just because a treat is plant-based does not mean it is healthy.
The biggest issue will be your protein intake: You should still strive for a healthy macronutrient balance with plenty of protein to build muscle, aid recovery and facilitate fat loss. But traditional vegetarian and vegan protein sources, such as beans and nuts, often come with a hefty carb and/or fat price tag, so you will have to be very mindful of your choices.
The good news is that the so-called rules of vegetarian protein intake have been simplified. It used to be recommended that you pair complimentary proteins together (for example, beans and rice) to make a complete protein — one with all seven essential amino acids your body needs. But today things are a little less stringent, and the new guidelines indicate that if you eat a variety of protein sources throughout the day, you’ll get all the essential aminos you need, without having to combine things so precisely.