Athletes need the right nutrition to keep their bodies energized, performing their best and injury-free. Some athletes may choose to limit animal foods, creating potential nutrient gaps. Learn how to make the most of plant-forward, flexible eating patterns.
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of plant-forward/plant-based diets:
Plant-Forward or Flexitarian
Eat red meat, poultry and fish sparingly. Dairy and eggs are included regularly. No food is excluded.
Eat eggs and dairy, but no poultry, fish or red meat.
Eat dairy, but no eggs, poultry, fish or red meat.
Eat eggs, but no dairy, poultry, fish or red meat.
Eat dairy, fish and eggs but no poultry or red meat.
Eat no red meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs or other animal-derived products (e.g. honey).
IS PLANT-FORWARD EATING RIGHT FOR YOU?
Incorporating a variety of plant-based foods is great for everyone. Remember, the more you eliminate certain foods, the more you miss out on key nutrients your body needs:
Building blocks for muscle and tissue. Key for recovery and preventing illness.
Found in: Milk, cheese, yogurt, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu. Smaller amounts found in whole grains
Helps with bone strength and muscle contraction.
Found in: Dairy foods, cooked greens, tofu, fortified foods
Important for nerve function and healthy blood cells.
Found in: All animal products, and some breakfast cereals
Moves oxygen around the body in red blood cells. Used to make hormones.
Found in: Lean meat, seafood, poultry, some breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, cooked greens
FLEXIBLE EATING TO STAY FUELED
Athletes can meet their nutrition needs and still enjoy plant-forward eating. Here are some key points:
- Focus on adding foods, not eliminating them
- Look for creative ways to add color to every meal
- Plan ahead so plant foods are easy to grab and eat
Breakfast: Steel-cut oats made with milk, apples, almonds and cinnamon.
Snack: Tuna-cucumber and cream cheese with crackers
Lunch: Trail mix
Snack: Cheese and grapes
Dinner: Soup, whole grain bread, side salad and a glass of milk
Snack: Frozen yogurt with berries