Becoming a vegetarian or vegan can be a positive lifestyle choice that leads to many benefits such as weight loss and lowered risk of chronic diseases. However, these diets are restrictive and difficult to follow long-term. Improving your diet is not just about cutting back on calories, carbs or fat; it’s about focusing on quality and nutrition. Luckily, there are ways to transition to a more nutritious diet that supports your athletic goals while also remaining true to your vegetarian or vegan principles. These tips will help you make the changes you want with ease so you can become healthier sooner rather than later.
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Go Slow and take your time
One of the most important tips for vegetarian and vegan athletes who want to transition to a more nutritious diet is to take your time. Moving too quickly can lead to feelings of deprivation, which can cause you to give up on your dietary changes. If you’re ready to make these changes, start by cutting out meat one day a week. Slowly work your way up until you’re eating vegan or vegetarian all of the time.
You may also find usefull advices in this previous post about clean eating: “What is clean diet: the essential guide for beginners”.
Diversify Your Vegan and Vegetarian Diet
One of the best ways to transition to a more nutritious diet as a vegan or vegetarian is to diversify your diet. You can still prepare meat-free meals that are rich in protein and nutrients. One way to do this is by replacing animal meats with plant-based proteins, such as beans, legumes, and nuts. Eating these foods will provide you with the protein you need without compromising on taste. Other ideas for vegan or vegetarian diets include adding new types of vegetables and fruits into your diet and finding different cooking methods for your staples.
Try a Whole Food Based Protein Powder
If you are a vegetarian or vegan and have trouble finding enough protein in your diet, try supplementing with a whole food based protein powder. The better-quality proteins will provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to stay full and energized without the need for animal products. The best sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans come from plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, peanut butter, soy milk and quinoa. These foods contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function properly. Vegetarian and vegan athletes should aim to get at least one serving of these protein rich foods per day to ensure they are getting enough protein in their diets.
Incorporate More Greens
Adding more greens to your diet is a great way to increase the amount of veggies you’re eating and reap the valuable benefits they offer. Greens are packed with nutrients and provide an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamin C and iron.
Eat More Whole Grains
Eating more whole grains is one of the most important changes you can make to your diet. Whole grains are a complete protein that contains all six essential amino acids. When you replace refined grains with whole grains, you will reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Add in some high-quality protein like beans and legumes to your diet for an additional boost.
Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated!
Drinking water is important for every individual so don’t forget to stay hydrated! Water will help you feel full and energized. It also helps your body absorb nutrients from food better.