What to Eat Instead of Meat?

There are many alternatives to getting the protein and other nutrients your body needs.

Published July 17, 2009 10:19

What to Eat Instead of Meat?

What to eat instead of Meat?

Meat Alternatives & Vegetarian Proteins for the Athlete's Diet

If you are a vegetarian athlete or simply want to eat less meat, there are many alternatives to getting the protein and other nutrients your body needs. There are recipe books full of great ideas for meatless, high-protein meals. Be creative!

Protein is needed to build and repair our muscles

  • Protein is the building block of major organs
  • Every Enzyme in our body and many of our hormones are made of Protein
  • The antibodies we make to fight infections are Proteins
  • They are important source of iron, zinc and niacin
  • The body cannot store Protein, so our diet must supply a fresh source of Protein every day

Athletes often struggle meeting their protein needs when traveling on the road or when needing quick recovery protein sources when away from home.  These lists may provide ideas for alternative sources of protein when you can't find your familiar meat proteins or if you are vegetarian looking for new ideas.  Remember protein is KEY for meeting building block needs for building and repairing muscles and you can't go without this on a daily basis as a competitive athlete. 

    • Choose at least 2 protein choices daily. 
    • Time your pre-match choice two (2) hours before match play to allow adequate digestion time, but try to get your recovery choice within 30 minutes to two (2) hours after play. 
    • A simple way to determine the protein grams that you need is base it on your kg weight.  So a 65 kg athlete would need minimally 65 gms per day. 
    • Use meat alternative proteins to help you meet these needs, see below for options: 



·½ cup Soy, Tofu, Tempeh, Setian (8g)

·Veggie burgers and sausages (13g)

·Legumes 1/2c peas (4g), ½ c beans (7g)

·2 oz grains (5g), 2 oz. nuts (12g), 2 oz. seeds (6g)

·3 oz veggie luncheon meals

·3 oz veggie chicken meat (10g) 3 oz veggie turkey meat (15g)

·1 oz veggie jerky (10g)

·1 egg (6g)

·1c soy milk (9g)

·2 tbsp hummus (1g)

     Serving Ideas


     Page Love

    Thanks to Page Love, MS, RD, LD

    Sports Nutritionist, Nutrition Therapist Health Fitness Instructor, ACSM

    Read more about protein HERE

    The contents of the Game, Set, Health site, are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice.  The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.

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