Vegetarians, Get Into Shape!

Veggie...? Don't forget the protein....

If you're a vegetarian, for ethical or other personal reasons, it’s important to ensure that you don't remove an entire food group, the one that predominantly supplies your protein, then not look at other foods to provide the daily protein needed.  You will find many trainers are quite rude about those who follow a vegetarian lifestyle. But as a trainer you will come across veggie clients. It's not my job to convert them back to or even begin a carnivorous nature but teach the importance and sometimes limitations of excluding meat and fish.  Ensuring an understanding of better nutrition management without meat.

I am not veggie now, but was for a good few years whilst going through a rebellious period and basically trying to make life difficult for my mum.....! (Sorry mum!!)  I decided age fourteen to jump on the bandwagon (it was the in thing at the time in my school), declare my independence and strong morality by announcing my new vegetarianism. There was a little eye rolling at this prospect but my mind was made up.  Secretly, I hoped I would lose weight, get skinny and all would be good with the world. Consequently, I turned into a bit of a ‘Weeble’ as I relied on bread, pasta and sauce covered in cheese (its protein, right.....?) and copious amounts of breakfast cereal. Not quite the result I was after. It was only about 3 years ago that I brought meat and fish back to my diet and I haven't looked back

Protein is a vital macronutrient that will aid your training by providing your muscles with the right substance to repair them and help them grow. Help manage hunger and feeling satisfied plus keeps skin, hair, nails healthy. Many veggies go into carb overdrive and find themselves gaining weight.  Cheese, pasta, bread, potatoes suddenly become the main food source and often brings the extra pounds with it. Often reports come to me of never feeling full and constant food searching. If you are making a big change like that to your diet, it pays to do your research. Talk to a trainer, a nutritionist, invest in a veggie cookbook and be prepared to put some time into ensuring you get the required amount. I tell clients that a BARE MINIMUM requirement is 1g per 1kg bodyweight. This changes with individual goals and situations.

Many foods have a reasonable protein content but also high carbohydrate content. So it shouldn't be assumed that baked beans for example, are just proving protein and nothing else. Per 100g you'll get 4g protein but also 14g carbohydrate. So in one tin, 16g protein and 56g carbohydrate. Put that on top of toast or baked potato and it's easy to see how overconsumption of carbohydrates can occur. Know what you're eating!

Here's a list of foods that provide protein, look to include in your diet.


Quorn meat substitute.



Nuts and nut butters

Whey protein


Beans, lentil and legumes

Cottage cheese


As with most food plans I prescribe, here are some other considerations.

-Regular eating times will help with hunger and provide consistent energy.

-Look for protein in every meal

-Be aware of other components of the food. Example; yes nuts provide protein but also they are high fat. You have not been given a licence to overeat these so you hit your protein requirements!

-Experiment with recipes, flavour, and other foods.

-Accept the lifestyle you've chosen, don't make it an excuse. 'Oh woe is me! I can only eat the creamy high fat, high carb, fat laden, giant vegetarian lasagne on this menu because its a veggie option, I've not eaten all day and I'm starving (but I'm just going to ignore the bean casserole on the menu because that means I get to have a little over indulgence under the guise of vegetarianism even though I know it's the better choice....)

Ever noticed how sometimes a veggie, vegan or fruitarian, can sometimes look the unhealthiest? Like I said it's not an excuse to not eat or eat badly. I made that mistake and learnt from it!

Take pride in your body and provide it with health and the respect that it deserves.

About the Author

Monster Supplements - sharing posts from guest writers and athletes!


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