Diet for Marathon Runners – Vegetarian


  • People become vegetarians for many reasons. A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide all of the nutrients you need, as well as being enjoyable and interesting.
  • An unplanned vegetarian diet, for example just leaving the meat out of your meal, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and impair sporting performance.
  • Lean red meat is a great source of many nutrients including iron and zinc and is low in fat.
  • Low-fat dairy products are a great source of calcium and other nutrients. 

Nutritional considerations for vegetarians

  • When you are vegetarian you need to consider the nutrients you are excluding from your diet and plan to get these from another source:
  • Eat plenty of protein foods that make good red meat substitutions (eg: poultry, eggs, fish, milk, soy products, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, breads and cereals).
  • Ensure you are getting enough iron from non-meat sources.
  • If you are excluding dairy products from your diet ensure you are getting sufficient calcium. Remember that calcium from non-dairy sources is not as easily absorbed by the body. 

Vegetarian meat substitutes

  • Legumes – lentils, peas, beans
  • Soy foods – soy beans, soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu, tempeh
  • Nuts – Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds
  • Seeds – sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds
  • Milk products – milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream
  • Eggs 


Maintain a healthy body weight with regular physical activity and healthy eating.

People come in all shapes and sizes. By taking part in regular exercise and following healthy eating patterns you will be at a healthy body weight that suits you. As a marathon runner you generally should be better position than most in this regard.