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Eat More Plants (without sacrificing protein)!

Are you a vegetarian or vegan gymnast or just looking to add more meatless meals to your routine? Don’t get stuck in a recipe rut! These simple high protein vegan and vegetarian recipes are great for a family sit down meal or to meal-prep ahead of time.

It seems like more and more of you gymnasts and families are looking to go "plant-based", "vegetarian" or even "vegan" these days. I also hear a lot of confusion about what these terms actually mean. A vegetarian does not eat their choice of animal products. This can differ from person to person, but may include: poultry, pork, beef, seafood, eggs, or dairy. A vegan does not eat any animal products at all. On the other hand, a person that is plant-based just looks to make the focus of their eating habits whole, unprocessed foods that come from plants. Most do not completely give up animal foods.

There are many reasons someone might want to eat less or no animal foods, including taste preference, ethical reasons, or just wanted to reap the nutrition benefits of eating more plants. However, for high-level gymnasts, eliminating animal products (or any food group for that matter) can pose some challenges, including getting enough protein, B Vitamins, and Iron. As a dietitian, I try to help those thinking about making this type of change to not get caught up in the label, but to define their own eating routine by what feels right for them and their needs.

Whatever your eating routine looks like, I often get asked for meal ideas that are plant-based or more vegetarian friendly! For high level gymnasts, finding recipes that fit this and also include enough protein can be difficult to find. To help you on your journey, I wanted to share some great protein packed meatless lunch and dinner recipes. Let me know which one is your favorite!


Plant Forward, Protein Packed Meals:

Vegan Sushi Quinoa Bowl (Nutrition A La Natalie)

16g of protein per bowl

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac (The Foodie Dietitian)

22g of protein per serving

23g of protein per wrap

Black Bean "Fried" Quinoa (Marissa Moore, RDN)

15g of protein per cup

Greek Lentil Power Bowl (Nutrition A La Natalie)

20g of protein per bowl

Thai Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl (The Plant Powered Dietitian)

20g of protein per bowl

27g of protein per bowl

Sheet Pan Tofu Bowls (Greatful Grazer)

26g of protein per serving

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Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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