Vegan Diets for Athletes

Vegan Diets for Athletes

So you live an active lifestyle and are looking for vegan diets for athletes. Maybe you’re vegan now, or just considering it. When you burn a lot of calories, you have to make sure you’re getting the right intake of nutrients every day. Every athlete knows that nutrition is just as important as exercise, if not more important. So how you can you make sure to take in the right food while being vegan and an athlete? Let’s look at some vegan diets for athletes.

Active people, especially athletes, need more protein than the average person. Protein is a vital part of an athlete’s diet because it rebuilds the muscle tissue, which is broken down during training. If one doesn’t get enough protein, that could lead to a loss in muscle tissue and a decline in strength.

Maintaining a Balance

A four-to-one carbohydrate to protein ratio yields the best muscle glycogen recovery results. Once we eliminate animal protein from the diet, we also eliminate a lot of dietary fat. Good quality fats are beneficial for an endurance athlete with a plant-based diet. Healthy fats slow the rate at which carbs enter the bloodstream, helping to provide sustained, consistent energy. Aim to consume protein and quality fats at every meal.

What are some good quality fats? Nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils such as flax, hump, coconut, and olive. Quality plant-based proteins include: hemp seed, tofu, beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, soy, adzuki) legumes, soy or vegan protein powder, unsweetened soy or almond beverage.

Endurance athletes experience low-energy levels. One eliminates a lot of iron when taking red meat out of their diet. And iron levels are already difficult for a lot of athletes to maintain for optimal performance. The more active the person, the more iron is needed. These foods provide a great plant-based source of iron.

  • Fortified cereal
  • Split pea soup
  • Cookies or other baked foods made with molasses (also high in calcium)
  • Dried peas and beans (kidney, lima, lentils)
  • Bran
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Spinach
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Prune juice, raisins
  • Enriched rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Apricots
  • Green beans
  • Walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds

A Vegan Diet for Athletes

So with all of these great individual foods, what are some actual vegan diets for athletes? An example vegan diet for an athlete may look something like this:

Morning:

A big bowl of berries, a banana and a couple spoonfuls of raw almond butter or a handful of soaked, raw almonds.  

Lunch:

A colorful salad. Sither a kale-avocado salad or a mix green salad with a variety of fresh seasonal vegetables and some seeds.

Snacks:

Fresh fruit, vegan protein powder with coconut water, a larabar, a whole-food smoothie with fruit, greens, and coconut milk or water.

Dinner:

A salad, sweet potatoes, and soup. Other options may be rice and lentils with vegetables, or a tempeh veggie stir fry.

If you are considering going vegan, Fresh ‘N Lean’s meal delivery service is a great start. You will have balanced, properly portioned meals delivered right to your doorstep!