How often do you see someone trying to get fit by eating a “bro-diet” of chicken, rice and broccoli every day? Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken and rice as much as the next guy but dieting or working towards your goal doesn’t have to involve eating the same thing 6 times a day.
The importance of varying your protein sources is based on the fact that different sources of protein contain different essential vitamins and nutrients. For example, red meat is rich in vitamin B12 and iron whereas fish like salmon or sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating too much of one thing can lead to deficiencies in another, keeping you from feeling and performing at your best.
Below is an example of how you can switch things up. I picked up some Organic Black Bean Spaghetti at my local grocery store with only one ingredient – Black Beans. The macros were awesome with 190 calories, 22g Protein, 21g Carbs and 2g Fat per serving before adding some Tomato and Basil Marinara sauce and half an avocado.
Just because I’m not a vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a meal without meat once in a while and still work toward my goals. The problem I often see with many vegetarians or vegans are nutritional deficiencies. Unless they are very on top of their diet, supplementing for deficiencies and getting frequent blood work done, many vegetarians are low on creatine, iron and B12 which are hard to get without eating meat. With that being said, eating vegetarian or vegan for a day or two a week can be extremely beneficial and will not ruin your fitness results.
Vegetarians or vegan can be just as healthy as someone who eats meat but it does require more planning and work to cover deficiencies.
The bottom line is vary your protein sources by incorporating fish, red meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, vegetables and dairy to keep you feeling great and covering all your dietary deficiencies.