No meat athlete? No problem! Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or striving to eat less meat this year, careful planning makes it possible to meet your nutritional needs. Nutrition plays an important role in giving athletes a competitive edge. Balance is top priority in supporting a meatless diet. Plant based athletes can find it a challenge to eat enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc.
Eliminating food groups without exchanging them with those key nutrients in other foods can lead to fatigue, poor recovery and injury. Often removing food groups can lead to eating less, but care should be taken to eat enough calories to meet your goals so you don’t lose muscle or decrease performance.
“But how are you going to get protein?” After going vegetarian, this is typically the first question people will be asking. The good news is there are plenty of nutrient dense proteins on a vegetarian diet like eggs, dairy, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Eating a variety of protein sources during the day will ensure the athlete is getting all the essential amino acids needed for muscle building and recovery.
One of my favorite whole grains for vegetarians is quinoa. Not only is it a complex carbohydrate with lots of fiber it’s also loaded with protein; a complete protein in fact… meaning it contains all nine essential vitamins and minerals! Give these Quinoa Veggie Burgers a try!
Try this Quinoa Veggie Burger for a protein-packed vegetarian lunch or dinner option! Tweet this
Quinoa Veggie Burger
makes 6 burgers
- 1 cup pinto beans
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup whole golden flaxseed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup rice flour
- In food processor or large bowl, process or smash beans until almost smooth, leaving it a little chunky.
- Pour pinto beans into large bowl, if using a food processor. Add quinoa, carrots, and shallot to bowl and mix together with beans until incorporated. Add egg, seeds and spices to bean mixture and stir until egg is incorporated. Stir in flour, taking care not to over mix. (Excessive mixing might make the burgers dry).
- Form bean mixture into 6 burger patties.
- Heat nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook for 5 minutes on each side. If desired serve with whole grain bun, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, pickles, mayo, and ketchup.