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Vegetarian diets were once thought to be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, but with a little planning, athletes that choose to follow a vegetarian diet can meet all their nutritional needs.

First, here is a little vegetarian lingo.  Not all vegetarians are alike.

  • Vegan. Strictest of all, eats only plant products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian. Eats dairy products along with a plant-based diet.
  • Ovo-vegetarian. Eats eggs along with a plant-based diet.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian (most common). Eats both dairy products and eggs.
  • Pesco-vegetarian. Eats fish along with a plant-based diet.

Whenever you restrict a certain food(s) from your diet, you run the risk of missing out on important nutrients, so it is important to be well informed and plan your meals to ensure you are properly fueling your workouts.

Some of the nutrients to be aware of are protein, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids.  Here are few tips and tricks to help you while planning a vegetarian diet.

  • Good non-animal protein sources include peanut butter, nuts and seeds, beans, vegetable burgers, and most soy products such as soy milk, soy yogurt, or tofu.
    • Choose foods that are fortified with extra nutrients such as calcium-fortified orange juice, or soy products fortified with calcium, vitamin D and B12.
    • Try meat-alternatives like tofu and soy crumbles in place of beef or poultry in your favorite recipes
    • Top salads, casseroles, or any dish with nuts such as walnuts or almonds
    • Enjoy bean-based soups or add beans to dishes like stir-fries or pasta
    • Eat plenty of dark, leafy greens, which are rich in iron and provide calcium.
    • Boost the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating fatty fish (if you include fish in your diet), omega-3 enriched eggs (if you include eggs), walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil.
  • Be sure to include a multivitamin into your daily regimen and be sure to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian if you think you may not be getting enough of a certain nutrient like calcium or protein.

Destination Athlete carries a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and protein supplements.  For more information on a supplement that is right for you, please don’t hesitate to ask for our help.  Destination Athlete is committed to your health and athletic performance