Spill The Juice: Being A Vegetarian Athlete | Jaffa Fruit

Spill The Juice: Being A Vegetarian Athlete

We have been testing some vegetarian recipes using Jaffa citrus fruit which we can report are super tasty and satisfying, nutritious and not to mention gentle on the wallet. We’ve added our favourites to our recipe collection which we shared with our partners at England Netball.

We asked some vegetarians in the Roses squad about their diet, what they enjoyed, and how they had to consider their diet when it came to training and performance. More on that later but first a couple of pointers.  

If you are planning to reduce the amount of meat you are consuming, or switching to a completely vegetarian diet, it just takes a little know how and a few simple changes to recipes that you already know and love.

They main change to your recipes will be the source of protein. A key alternative source of protein are beans which you can use straight from the tin, or buy dried beans which are extremely cost effective. Tofu can easily be used in place of meat, cut into chunks or strips in stir fries for example and meat substitutes are readily available in most supermarkets, literally replace the meat with the meat substitute.

As well as protein, a vegetarian will need to consider the source of iron in their diet which can also come from similar sources as protein. The main sources of iron for vegetarians are cereals and bread, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and leafy green veg.

This is also where Jaffa, your favourite citrus fruit, plays a vital role. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. So squeeze a couple of juicy Jaffa oranges to drink with your meal, or add some orange to your portion of vegetables or salad for another flavour layer.

But what if you are an elite athlete? How does a vegetarian diet affect your training and performance?

England Netball Roses Zara Everitt, Hannah Joseph and Kira Rothwell

We asked the England Netball Roses Zara Everitt, Hannah Joseph and Kira Rothwell to see what they had to say.

Does being a top athlete and being vegetarian sometimes make food choices challenging?

HJ: Definitely not, there are lots of options. You can be really creative!

KR: Very rarely! Nearly everywhere has vegetarian options now. The only times I have to think about it more is where I know there might not be a choice, for example when a set post-game meal is provided.

What is the must-have ingredient you have for your vegetarian cooking?

ZE: Peanut butter for sweet things, tofu for savoury!

HJ: Lots of different beans

KR: Paneer or Tofu – an easy way to add protein to any meal

What do you eat pre- and post-training to prepare your body and help it recover?

ZE: Before training I have a meal with a good source of carbohydrates, such as rice or pasta. As this is usually my dinner, I’ll have something like tofu stir fry, or vegetarian bolognese, using lentils to replace mince.

HJ:   Lots of variety. I try not to eat too much of the same thing. I just make sure I’ve got plenty of protein, carbs and veggies.

KR: After training I have a protein yoghurt straight away and then eat dinner once I get home, pasta, rice, halloumi burgers, paneer curry!

What advice would you give to another vegetarian / vegan / pescatarian embarking on a new tough training regime?

ZE: I would say to make sure that you don’t under-fuel your body. New training programmes mean that your body is having to adapt suddenly, and food is one of the primary ways to help you recover. Putting a bit of thought into planning your meals, so that you get enough of each macro-nutrient, will be important in making sure you can keep up your regime without getting injured.

HJ: Make sure you have plenty of variety, lots of carbs and find food you really enjoy to eat.

What are your favourite recipes using Jaffa fruit?

ZE & HJ: My favourite Jaffa recipe is the Chickpea, Broccoli and Jaffa Orange stir fry.

KR: Jaffa Orange Halloumi Carrot Salad! Yum!

Stir Fry-
Jaffa Orange, Halloumi & Carrot Salad (GF, Vegetarian)

Do you sometimes find it hard to fit mealtimes in around training? And if so, how do you manage it?

ZE: Once I have a routine going, it’s usually quite simple to fit mealtimes around training. I have had to make small changes, such as having my dinner earlier, to make sure I have enough energy for training, without feeling full on court.

HJ: Make sure you’ve got your food prepared the night before, so you’ve got plenty of energy for training.

KR: I’ve definitely got better at this. I now find it easier to have 4 smaller meals instead of 3 big meals a day

What are your favourite snacks? Sweet or Savoury?

ZE: My favourite snack is either banana and peanut butter, or hummus and crackers!

HJ: Fruit, peanut butter and nuts

KR: I love crackers, flatbreads, carrots etc. and humus. Also love graze mixes.

Are you considering vegetarianism, or simply trying to reduce your meat consumption? Jaffa has a growing collection of vegetarian recipes for you that you will keep wanting to come back to, time and time again.

Are we missing a favourite recipe of yours that uses Jaffa fruit? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter next time you make it!