No meat meal plan for athletes

No meat meal plan for athletes

You might think that you will not be strong enough if you don`t eat meat. That is a common misconception. Many athletes across all disciplines are adopting a no-meat diet.

For many athletes, this is a way that gives them speed and they can train longer and better. However, some do it because of ethics or health. Whatever reason they choose, more and more athletes decide to stop eating animal products and switch to a fully plant-based diet.

In this text, we will talk about the advantages of a no-meat meal plan for athletes, what athletes eat when they follow a no-meat meal plan and some meal ideas.

Advantages of a no-meat diet

Some athletes that started following this diet said that they noticed changes in their strength, stamina, endurance, and recovery. Every nutrient essential for our health we can get without eating animal products. Therefore, without the high levels of cholesterol, saturated fat, and inflammatory substances that animal products contain our body reacts amazingly. 

The no-meat meal plan is something that can bring benefits to everyone. It will reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer`s disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Many people said that following this type of diet helped them improve their skin, energy, sleep, hair, and digestion.

Additionally, some people said that they had fewer colds and infections, and many improvements in serious chronic health conditions. All of these improvements, you must admit, sound great. But, for athletes, there are other advantages of this diet, too.

Many athletes reported a loss in fat but a gain in muscle and strength. Likewise, improvements in their endurance, so they can train harder, longer, and faster. Post-training soreness is reduced so recovery is faster, which means that they can get back to training sooner.

Besides these health and performance benefits, eating a more plant-based diet is good for your budget, too. Usually, it is less pricy than meat.

What do athletes eat on a no-meat diet?

Like everyone else, each athlete has dietary plans and preferences, but the food they eat is based on three nutrients, protein, fats, and carbohydrates. They usually add plenty of fresh salads, fruits, and vegetables to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need to be at the top of their game.


The recommended daily intake of protein for adults is around fifty grams, so most people get enough of it in their diets. Protein needs might vary with weight, age, pregnancy, activity level, health, and other factors. So, five to seven ounces of protein-rich food a day is enough.

Remember, you can choose more than one protein source. It is a recommendation to choose a variety of proteins. You can include peas, beans, soy products, lentils, unsalted nuts, seeds, and many others.

Protein is something that we need for building, maintaining, and repairing cells, and also for energy and supporting cognitive function and mood. The body breaks protein down into twenty amino acids and then uses them. These acids are in plant foods and it is enough to get sufficient protein on a vegan, vegetarian, no-meat diet.

As previously mentioned, athletes can load up on peas, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy products, and wheat protein. We can find it in so many different foods, such as potatoes, bread, quinoa, oats, and peanut butter.


The right amount of fat will give us energy and cell growth, but too much and the wrong kinds can cause problems. That is why we need to avoid saturated and trans fats because they raise cholesterol levels. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are doing the opposite.

Fats in plant foods are the good kind, unlike the fats in animal products. Therefore, eating avocados, seeds, and nuts in foods like peanut butter, guacamole, and tahini can add to your healthy fat intake.


These are also important because they provide energy for working muscles. There are three kinds of carbohydrates – starch, fiber, and sugar. Sugars are simple and they are of limited use to our bodies because they can cause negative consequences.

However, fiber and starch are complex carbohydrates and they are our friends. We can find fiber in the cell walls of plant foods. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help us get what we need. Starch is something you can find in pasta, bread, potatoes, and rice and it will give you good slow-release energy.

How much should you consume?

This is something that depends on your sport, what your body needs to do that sport and your metabolism. If you are a boxer, dancer, or gymnast you will probably need to keep your weight at the same level. However, for strength athletes, calorie intake can be higher and more important.

For athletes who follow a plant-based, no-meat meal plan achieving calorie goals can mean that they are eating larger portions. This is a great thing because there are various micronutrients that your body needs for optimal health and it can be a struggle to get them all if you eat large portions of meat at mealtimes.


Dietary supplements are a regular part of their training or competing routine for many athletes. Protein powder is the one that is commonly used and you can also choose many different types. Some are made from pea, soy, or hemp protein and have a variety of flavors.

Additionally, there is vegan creatine available for power athletes. You can choose to supplement with BRAAs(branch-chained amino acids) that help build muscles and decrease or alleviate soreness and fatigue.

Food ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

If you find yourself without an idea for a meal, these can help you out and you can choose something that looks the most appealing at the moment.

Firstly, breakfast ideas to choose from:

  • Sweet potato and kale cooked in avocado oil, and some hemp seeds on top
  • Tofu with kale, mushrooms, onion, and peppers with toast or sweet potato, nut butter, and some avocado
  • Baked tofu with broccoli and spaghetti squash
  • Marinated tempeh with kale and sweet potato

Secondly, some lunch ideas for you:

  • Cauliflower and rice
  • Big salad with marinated tempeh, cabbage, veggies, nuts, tahini, avocado, and seeds
  • Buddha bowl with greens, hemp, pumpkin seeds, edamame, and tofu
  • Pineapple cashew cauliflower rice

Furthermore, this is what you can choose for dinner:

  • Coconut cauliflower rice buddha bowl
  • Zucchini noodles with pesto, seitan cooked in avocado oil, and broccoli
  • Brown rice and vegetables
  • Roasted potato and avocado bowl
  • Spaghetti squash noodles with vegetables

Lastly, ideas for desserts and snacks:

  • Roasted cabbage and tahini
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Broccoli with tahini
  • Avocado with salt and pepper
  • Flax crackers
  • Bread with avocado and nut butter
  • Paleo energy bars
  • Protein or coconut bar

The bottom line

To conclude, following a no-meat diet is suitable for athletes and it can improve athletic performance. To do so, you will have to make healthy choices and eat a wide variety of plant-based, whole foods and forget about highly processed foods and meat.

If this sounds like something that might be difficult, we are here to support you. Just remember, it is worth it and it will help you achieve your goal. You will be able to fuel your performance, you will recover faster, train hard, and most importantly be healthy and feel great.

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