Working out is a huge part of many peoples’ lives. It makes you feel good, and it makes you feel like you. But some people are under the impression that working out and a vegan lifestyle don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
There are those that claim that plant-based protein, plant foods, and vegan meals can’t fuel your workout in the right ways. However, there are several health benefits when it comes to a plant-based diet. And plant-based protein is still protein.
Read here to learn about consuming plant-based options before and after working out. They may offer some health benefits and might be just the thing you need to kick your body into gear.
Eating A Vegan Diet Before And After Exercise: Plant-Based Protein Intake And Replacing Dairy
More and more people are adopting plant-based diets (or making more meat-free choices), and that’s wonderful. It’s important to grasp the fundamentals of where to get your protein and how to spend your fuel. Planning out what you should eat before and after you hit the gym, take a yoga class, or go for a run is as important as knowing how to properly exercise.
For starters, you want to make sure you’re not running on empty when you start your workout. Whether you’re a vegan or non-vegan, you want to make sure and fit a mini-meal into your day before your workout. Eat around 60 to 45 minutes to an hour before you hit the gym. This meal is your workout fuel, so you want to make sure to pick the food you can digest relatively quickly.1
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to rely on dairy for protein. There are plenty of great dairy replacements — almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Furthermore, whole plant-based foods made up of carbohydrates and raw protein are really your best option pre-workout. Think about the following foods as good options:
- Grains, like quinoa and oats
- Sweet potatoes
- A small cup of kidney beans or black beans
Vegan Pre-Workout Mini-Meals
If you have time to prep a pre-workout meal, you might want to consider your own version of the meals below:
Plant-based Smoothies — Smoothies are wonderful before a workout because they are easily digested. Not only that, you can make all different kinds of smoothies using various fruits, veggies, and plant-based milks like coconut milk and oat milk. Banana, zucchini, chia seeds, blueberries, mangos, avocados, and a spoonful of nut butter are all great smoothie ingredients to enjoy pre-exercise.
Banana And Nut Butter Roll-Up — Bananas really are one of the most amazing plant-based foods out there. Why? Well, they’re chock full of potassium, manganese, and carbohydrates. Plus, bananas are energy superstars. And not only can they help up your fuel, but they can also help you avoid cramps. A single medium banana contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates, over 3 grams of dietary fiber, and is an excellent source of potassium at 422 mg. Not to mention bananas are loaded with vitamin B6 — a vitamin that’s known to energize.2
Pick your favorite nut butter and spread it on a low-carb wrap. Slice your banana in half the long way, and lay both sides down flat on the wrap. Then, roll until you’ve got yourself a little P.B. and B. burrito. You’re sure to have enough energy to get through even the toughest workout.
P.B. and D (Peanut Butter and Dates) — Let’s start with how undeniably delicious dates are. They’re so good. But beyond their unique sweetness, they pack an energizing punch. They are full of wonderful nutrients and minerals like —
- Vitamin B-complex
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fiber
If you’re prepping for a long hike, run, or bike trip, pack a few dates and dollops of peanut butter. A P.B. and D. is a convenient, portable, and powerful fix to help motor your sustained workout.
Vegan Options To Eat Or Drink Post Workout?
What you eat after your workout is important for muscle recovery and growth.4 Beware, after you work out, you could be so hungry that all bets go out the window and you find yourself raiding your pantry for sugary snacks or drinks. You could end up jeopardizing all your sweat and hard work.
Before you do anything else after a workout, hydrate. Hydrating is essential. But beware of sugary sports drinks. Stick to drinking plain, unflavored water and make sure you drink at least two 8 oz. glasses as soon as you’re done working out.
And when it comes to post-workout snacking, stick to foods that can be digested with speed and ease.
Avocado, Olive Oil, Lemon, And Salt
Who knew a superfood mini-meal could be so simple? Just half of an avocado will do you a world of good, as the avocado boasts the following nutrients —
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B
- High-monounsaturated fatty acids
Furthermore, avocado oil consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids which can help in a big way when it comes to promoting healthy cholesterol levels.5
To add a little flavor to this super post-workout food, slice the avocado in half. Pinch a squeeze of lemon juice over the top of the avocado half. Then, drizzle some olive oil on. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grab a spoon. Simply spoon out the meat of the avocado for smooth, buttery goodness.
Vegan Foods For Before And After Working Out
In the end, a plant-based diet might help propel you toward better health and stronger athletic performance.
A vegan diet combining rice, corn, potatoes, or beans with any number of fruits and veggies can, in fact, supply all of the protein and amino acids a person needs. In addition, a thoughtful vegan lifestyle can supply you with all the essential fats, minerals, and vitamins you need for optimal health.6
If you’re interested in pursuing a vegan lifestyle or just want to incorporate vegan foods into your diet, talk to your doctor. They can help you make these changes in the safest way possible and may have further recommendations on how to best support your health.
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