I've been Vegetarian now for almost 3 years and I can definitely say that hitting the Protein macro nutrient requirements has been the biggest challenge. Being vegetarian can be a real benefit, weather you have make the choice for health reasons or any other.
The first thing that I notice was it forced me to eat more fresh fruit and vegetable. However, I soon found out that most vegetarian options are higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein. I've learnt some simple tricks over the years and I hope they can help you too.
1. Don't Stress - If you're transitioning to a vegetarian diet it can sometimes take time to adjust to the changes. Don't panic if you're not 100% perfect on day one, talk to your Trainer and slowly build up positive habits and work towards getting to the +-10 mark on your protein Macro Nutrient.
2. Portion Sizes - First thing I do when I'm helping my clients with their protein numbers is scan down the protein column and anything that has a good amount of protein, I try to increase the serving size of that item. It's a simple way to boost those protein numbers.
3. Product Selection - When it comes to vegetarian products at the supermarkets all is not equal. For instance, you can get Tofu with 3 times the protein of the tofu right next to it with no increase in carbs or fats. Read the labels and see which options best fit your macro's.
4. Supplementation - Firstly, your body absorbs protein better from natural sources so it's always best to get your protein from fresh foods however if you have a busy lifestyle or simple struggle to reach your requirements protein supplements like bars and shakes are a great option to quickly and easily boost your protein.
5. Plan before you eat - The first thing I hear when people find out I'm vegetarian is "do you eat heaps of lentils & beans?" The answer is yes, I do but you need to be very careful about the amount of carbohydrates. A lot of the first thought of vegetarian options are quite high in fat or carbs. The best things to do is the pre plan your meals AT LEAST the day before so that you can fix any problems before you have eaten the food.
Lastly although your trainer might not be vegetarian, but they are still trained and happy to help you with any food requirements you have. We have years of experience with all types of food options and chances are we have helped people through the same challenges before and will have some great ideas for you.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.