We have see a growing number of members within our community begin to transition towards a full or partly plant-based is growing every year whether due to health, lifestyle, environmental, cost or ethical reasons, and can still provide a highly nutritious, sustainable diet.
Our Training Camp meal plan has been designed to allow you to substitute certain protein sources for an alternative choice if need be, depending on your individual needs (Read our blog on Energy and Calories). Although we provide some plant-based meals throughout our meal plan, you can also use the following information to assist you in making further substitutions and adjustments as required.
It is important that vegetarians and vegans get the right amount of nutrients in their diet to ensure they are receiving nutritional adequacy. Therefore, you should aim to consume higher amounts or calcium, B12, vitamin D and iron on a daily and weekly basis.
Variety is also very important, incorporating a diverse range of whole and unrefined foods, such as wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruits as they provide high amounts of fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein and phytochemicals (with very little amounts of saturated fat). To ensure that you can achieve this, we recommend looking at your meal plan a week in advance to make the changes necessary prior to completing your grocery shop.
However, sometimes it can be challenging to meet your protein requirements which is why meat replacement or soy proteins can be particularly useful. These products are often fortified with the vitamins and minerals found in animal sources, ensuring that you receive the nutrients you need to thrive! Furthermore, we recommend selecting substitutions that are comparable in macro and micronutrients, or to add additional foods or supplements to ensure that you still achieve a heathy nutritional spread each day.
Key things to consider:
- Make sure you meet your nutritional adequacy – consume higher amounts or calcium, B12, vitamin D and iron on a daily and weekly basis
- Variety in your ingredients – make sure that you don’t just stick to the same substitutions all the time
- Weekly Meal planning – Be prepared ahead of time by looking at your nutrition on a weekly basis to guarantee an appropriate spread of nutrients and variety
- A healthy macro and micro-nutrient balance – in addition to substituting meat proteins with plant-based alternatives, also ensure that the nutritional offering is similar, or at least supplemented
Plant-based Protein Substitutions
According to the Australian Guidelines, adult males require around 0.84 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day and females require around 0.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. Yet these numbers can vary greatly depending on how much training you are doing and how active you are. So what does this mean for you? In each meal, you want to aim to be having around 20g of protein.
For example, some estimates are listed below (brand depending);
- 1/2 cup tempeh has 17g protein
- 1 cup of lentils is 18g protein
- 1 cup of chickpeas is 11g protein
- 1 cup of oats is 6g protein
- 1 cup of black beans is 14g protein
- 1 cup of tofu is 20g protein
- 85g of seitan is 20g protein
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast is 4g protein
- 2 tbsp of tahini is 5g protein
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter is 8g protein
Furthermore, here is a list of our recommended vegan and vegetarian options that will help you with substitution of your proteins throughout the Training Camp meal plan.
Vegan Protein Foods
- Lentils, particularly red lentils
- Black, kidney and pinto beans
- Nut milks*
- Nuts, particularly peanuts
- Peanut butter
- Seeds, particularly chia and hemp
- Nutritional yeast
- Edamame beans
- Seitan (wheat meat)
- Pasta made from edamame beans or lentils
- Grains (eg. oats, quinoa, brown rice, spelt)
- Vegan Protein Powder
Vegetarian Protein Foods
- Hard cheeses*
- Cottage cheese
- Natural yoghurt*
*You will need to check the protein content from the nutrition label, as there is lots of variation for this product between brands.
Note that many vegan options are a combination of carbohydrate and protein so your meal may need to be adjusted accordingly. For example, if your meal consists of meat, brown rice and salad and you choose to swap meat for chickpeas then you may not need as much brown rice as specified in the meal plan.
Additional tips for vegetarians and vegans
- Leafy greens contain anywhere up to 5 times as much calcium per serve when compared with other vegetables.
- Always buy calcium fortified milk alternatives to ensure you are getting enough calcium
- Dried fruits provide up to 6 times as much iron as normal fruits (just be mindful of the energy content)
- Consume a varied diet to ensure you receive adequate nutrition throughout your days
- Plan ahead and pre-cook protein sources so meals can be easy and quick when you are hungry