Well-planned vegetarian diets that meet energy needs and contain a variety of plant-based protein foods, such as soy products, beans, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein for athletes without the use of special foods or supplements. However, consideration must be made for the type of vegetarian diet an athlete follows:
- Vegan – a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, and which relies on plant protein only to meet protein needs.
- Lactovegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products, like fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, which are all sources of protein.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products, which are also sources of protein.