Plant-based diets focus more on plant foods, all the while including animal-derived foods in moderation. Plant-based diets could also be devoid of animal foods. For example, vegan and vegetarian diets are completely based on plant foods.
As the benefits of plant-based diets are being discussed widely, many are switching to one. For some, the contribution a plant-based diet makes to animal welfare seems an inspiring feature.
How should athletes follow a plant-based diet? Read ahed to know.
Don’t Stress Yourself To Eliminate All Animal Foods
A plant-based diet is one that is primarily based on plant foods. But it should not be misinterpreted as one that is exclusively based on plant foods. If you are eating more plant foods while eating animal foods in moderation, you are still following a plant-based diet.
Switching to a diet that is devoid of any animal food, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy at once can be quite overwhelming. Athletes can choose a diet that contains more plant foods but also allows animal foods in moderation. If they want to switch to a diet that contains plant foods alone, it is recommended to take it slow.
Include Protein-Rich Plant Foods In The Diet
Animal foods like meat, dairy, and eggs are high in protein. If you are cutting down on these foods when switching to a plant-based diet, you should eat enough protein-rich plant foods. Athletes have larger protein requirements than non-athletic ones. The daily protein requirement for an athlete is about 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Eat high protein plant foods like lentils, tofu, seeds, nuts, quinoa, and more.
Make Sure That Energy Needs Are Met
An athlete is more physically active than non-athletic people, which means more calories will be burned when they train hard. If the caloric intake is lesser than the energy expenditure, it causes a negative energy balance that could cause weight loss and loss of bone mineral density.
Athletes have to ensure that they are getting enough calories, considering their high volumes of training. Athletes following a plant-based diet have to add calorically dense plant foods like avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds to their diet for ensuring that their calorie needs are met.
Switching to a plant-based diet from a diet that was primarily based on animal foods is not that easy, especially for an athlete with higher calorie needs and protein requirements. But if you plan your diet well and work towards your goal, you can be successful at it.