Any domain of physical work requires a very good nutrition system. Athletics of all things requires the most nutrition including good fats, carbohydrates and high quality protein rich foods. When we think of a sample meal plan for a protein rich diet, we picture in our heads a list of meat and dairy items. While they are no doubt rich sources of protein, it leaves little choice for the vegan athletes.
As independent and healthy food choices they do have every right to have the right nutrition. So here’s a list of vegan foods that would help you meet your protein requirements and won’t let your choice of food be a hindrance for you.
The essentials of a diet guide for vegan athletes
- It is important to have a plan:
Before you start off on any diet regime be it vegan or not, it is very important for you to have a set plan based on a fixed goal. Your diet plan will keep in mind whether you are looking to retain the physique or build muscle or shed some kilos. It would also depend on the kind of physical activities you are exposed to.
- Be conscious of having the right kind of protein: When someone is vegan it is naturally important for him to worry about his protein sources. There are many however and no big cause for worry. What you as an individual should be looking to do is have these protein rich vegan foods with every meal for the best results. Here is a list of protein rich food that you can choose from.
- Soy(like edamame, tofu and tempeh)
- Green and yellow peas
- All kinds of beans
- Nuts and all kinds of nut butters
- Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and faro or oats
- Seeds like the sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Be careful to give your body enough calcium:
A diet guide for vegan athletes has to have enough calcium rich food sources. This is because some of the main calcium rich sources like milk and eggs are not present in a vegan diet. But surely you do not want your family and yourself affected by osteoporosis. So make sure to include some plant based calcium rich food in your diet. You can choose from options like the orange juice and cereals which are fortified with calcium or soy products like tofu and soy milk.
Many green vegetables like the kale, broccoli, turnip green, spinach etc are rich sources of calcium too and can be included in your diet plan.
- Do not miss out on healthy fats: We are making it a point to let you know this in our diet guide for vegan athletes because there is much ignorance in this regard and many people live in a fool’s world thinking that athletes only need proteins and carbohydrates to perform. Since animal and dairy products like cheese are not available in vegan options, it can be compensated by having chia and flex seeds, nuts and avocados. It is important that you have a healthy heart first to be an athlete. These food choices are great options that you would have in case you don’t mind stocking up on the healthy vegan options.
- When in doubt eat vegetables:
If you are in doubt that you are not having enough nutrition from your food at any time stock up on your resources by eating some good vegetables. The large quantities of green vegetables will give your body the necessary vitamins and minerals that you seek for the refreshments for your body. Eat vegetables like carrots, broccoli, celery etc. and get the necessary boost.
- Avoid processed food: There is too much availability of processed and fake meat products in the market. These can affect your health adversely and it is best to not follow if you are looking to learn from a diet guide for vegan athletes. In case you are going for such alternatives you are actually harming the good work you did in the first place by choosing a healthy alternative in the form of a vegan diet.
- The hunger pangs:
One of the side effects of a vegetarian workout is the continuous hunger pangs bothering you. In this diet guide for vegan athletes, we would advise you to eat frequently apart from following a sample meal plan. Frequent eating also ensures good metabolism. We of course mean the healthy food choices like a fruit or a protein rich snack and not the fried or junk items that are a health hazard. It is horrible to stay hungry for long durations of time and plan your food such that the situation does not arise.
- Dealing with the B12 deficiency: This issue had to be addressed in the diet guide for vegan athletes due to its seriousness and importance. The most likely deficiency in a vegan diet is likely to be of this B12. It is mostly present in meat eggs and fish none of which are in your eating lists. It is thus important to be careful that you are not falling short on your B12 because the deficiency injections are just a lot of trouble. So check with your doctor whether you are getting deficient on this and in case you are do include a suitable supplement to stabilize your diet. Some nutritional yeast and algae can be the vegan food choices for you to replenish the B12.
- Check labels on the food packets for nutritional info:
You are an athlete looking to follow a healthy lifestyle. Clearly it isn’t your wish to be duped by products adding honey as sweeteners or using whey as the protein source. These would be dead against your sample meal plan as a vegan. So the next time while shopping for groceries ensure that you check the nutritional labels before buying these.
While a vegetarian workout regime is frowned upon, we hope that this article will be successful to erase such misguided ideas. Vegan diet too can deliver the right amount of protein and help the athletes to meet protein requirements. So eat healthy and perform better!