There are many reasons why an athlete may choose to follow a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet tends to be higher in carbohydrates, fibre, fruits, vegetables and antioxidants. As the same time, it tends to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is possible for athletes, or anyone for that matter, to meet their nutritional requirements from a vegetarian diet. However, there is an increase risk of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D deficiency. There is also an increased risk of insufficient protein intake due to the few sources of vegetable proteins that provide sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids.
When foods are limited in one or more essential amino acids, a variety of protein sources need to be eaten in one day to ensure the correct amino acid balance is achieved. As long as you eat a variety of foods this can easily be archived.
Good sources of non-meat protein includes:
Additional foods that provide a small amount of protein include; rice, bread, pasta, oats, quinoa and cereal.