Discussion: Vegetarian Athlete

Read the discussion below and answer the three questions listed at the end.

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Ryan is a cross-country athlete running for one of the top collegiate teams in the country. He is a sophomore in college and is now living in an apartment with two other runners on the team. He lived in the dorm as a freshman, and towards the end of his freshman year he decided on a more vegetarian style of eating because his roommate was vegetarian. A variety of vegetarian dishes that he liked were available in the dorm cafeteria, and eating there was very convenient after long practices on campus.

Ryan is 5’8″ and weighs about 135 pounds. He trains hard daily for 1 – 2 hours at the track or on the road and lifts weights twice a week with the team. He eats some dairy, mainly yogurt, and soy milk, and occasionally eggs. He eats no meat or fish, but he does consume some beans, legumes, and frozen veggie burgers. Grocery shopping, meal planning, and vegetarian cooking are all new to Ryan. Thus, he schedules an appointment with the athletic department’s sports nutritionist for guidance with his new vegetarian eating habits.

1. What nutrients would you be most concerned about being insufficient in Ryan’s daily diet?

2. What questions would you ask about his typical food intake to help you determine a nutrition plan for Ryan?

3. What recommendations, both nutritional and educational, would you give Ryan to help him be successful in cross country while practicing vegetarian eating habits?

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