Whether you choose to be vegan or not, there’s no denying that a plant based diet for runners is gaining momentum.
I think there’s a lot of validity in plant foods, however my nutrition philosophy is that I want people to eat the foods that feel best in their body. For some people, that’s exclusively no animal products, while for others, having some animal products may work well for them.
No judgment whatsoever. This post is not meant to shame, but instead, meant to provide helpful plant-based vegan meal options for athletes that can be ready quickly and some nutrition insight for how to be a healthy vegan athlete.
What Should Go Into a Vegan Athlete Meal Plan?
These 30 minute vegan meals can fit perfectly into your vegan athlete meal plan.
While I don’t break down calorie allotments because all of our bodies need different amounts of calories, I do want to convey that vegan distance runners do need to be mindful they are eating enough in general.
Vegan foods tend to be high in fiber which can lead to early satiety. Therefore, a vegan marathon diet plan and vegan runner diet needs to be sufficient in energy. Many of the easy meals shared here should help for those busy marathon training nights when time is scarce for cooking.
Vegan Runner Diet Necessities
Like all runners, vegan distance runners should focus primarily on carbohydrates before a run or workout. Many plant-based foods are carbohydrate-based so this typically isn’t an issue.
Beets are one of my favorite runner friendly plant foods (aside from my beloved sweet potatoes) that have been shown to help with performance. This is specifically due to their nitrate content.
However, a vegan runner diet may also be high in fiber, which can be problem some on the GI system, especially around a run.
Therefore, limiting high fiber sources before running may be helpful. More information on runners stomach and nutritional recommendations in this post.
Protein and carbohydrates become essential after a run or workout. Contrary to popular belief, runners following a vegan diet should not have issues getting enough protein.
It’s important that plant based meals are balanced in macronutrients, but also micronutrients, specifically iron, Vitamin B12, calcium and Vitamin D.
There are so many important properties of these micronutrients, including bone health, energy and oxygen transport, improved immunity and more. It is also helpful to be aware of iron sources for runners, specifically.
For example, if you are not consuming heme sources of iron (which come from animal sources), pairing your food with Vitamin C can help with non-heme iron absorption.
For more information on specific macro and micro needs on the vegan runner diet, check out my fueling course: Nail your Nutrition.
We have a whole module geared towards needs for the vegan athlete meal plan, and specifically, vegan female athletes.
Vegan Marathon Training Fuel
A vegan marathon runner or vegan long distance runner shouldn’t have too much trouble with finding fueling options for during the run, either.
Everyone can follow the same plan for race day fueling, whether you’re using a vegan diet for marathon training or eating animal products, too.
Need a vegan diet for marathon training? Many gels and chews are made without animal products. I also have some ideas for real food fueling options, like dates and homemade energy bites.
However, athletes will need to avoid honey and beware of products with whey or casein, egg, and milk powders.
Don’t forget about the electrolytes either, and make sure you’re reading ingredients for electrolyte powders and post-workout mixes.
This vegan chorizo and potato tacos recipe is packed with spicy chorizo flavor! These meatless tacos contain all 3 macronutrients which will restore glycogen and help repair tissue after a hard workout.
These vegan BBQ cauliflower tacos are a great choice for athletes. The veggies and tortilla supply muscle-fueling carbohydrates, while the chickpeas add a little plant-based protein. Topping with avocado adds potassium to help replenish losses in sweat. Pair it with a glass of soy milk or a vegan smoothie for a well-rounded meal!
These are the best gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan black bean burgers ever. They are great for work out recovery because have complex carbohydrates from the sweet potatoes and oats, and protein from the almond butter and black beans!
This meal provides complex carbohydrates from the pasta and chickpeas, protein from the chickpeas, pasta, and vegetables, and delicious Mediterranean flavors. Plus it's a time saver with less dishes to clean up!
This vegan eggplant teriyaki recipe is a quick, easy, and delicious dinner, ready in 30 minutes. Let the rice fill your glycogen stores and the edamame help build protein in this vegan meal for athletes.
A family-friendly and satisfying Vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe gets an Indian twist. Loaded with flavor-packed green lentils simmered in a tomato sauce infused with traditional South Asian spices, and topped with velvety mashed potatoes.
Vietnamese Noodle Bowls are loaded with fresh vegetables, tofu, glass noodles, and a tangy sauce. Naturally gluten-free, the colorful bowls have plenty of nutrients and can be enjoyed for weekday lunches or family dinners!
This Vegan Burrito Bowl Recipe combines seasoned black beans and fajita veggies for a healthy, delicious, protein-packed meal that’s sure to satisfy. You need just 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to put together this oil-free & totally delicious Chipotle-style feast!
These Italian flavored black bean meatballs are a delicious and hearty plant based alternative to traditional meatballs. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce over pasta or zoodles for a comforting healthful meal.
Athletes are always on the go! Having a quick snack ready for before the gym or after a workout can help performance and recovery. These cherry walnut energy bites have all of the nutrients required for energy, satiety, and recovery
Salted caramel protein energy bites make the perfect energizing snack. They are naturally sweetened by dates and packed with plant based protein. Customize the vanilla protein powder to fit your preference (soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein, etc).
These homemade pumpkin hemp bars are the perfect flavorful, on-the-go vegan and gluten-free snack. With no refined sugars, these hemp bars are perfect for before or after a workout and a great family-friendly, kid-friendly snack!
Sweet Potato Vegan Edible Cookie Dough is the perfect appetizer for your sweet tooth. This vegan cookie dough recipe is made with natural ingredients and goes perfectly with fruit, chocolate and graham crackers, making it one of the best healthy vegan desserts!
I think these quick and easy vegan meals should help you maximize your training and performance out of the kitchen, while still optimizing your vegan athlete meal plan and nutrition in the kitchen.
Don’t forget about breakfast! The breakfast hash and sweet potato breakfast bowl are some of the best breakfasts for vegan athletes.
It’s all about becoming more efficient – still allowing time and energy to cook nourishing meals, but not spending all of your time doing so – especially if you’re spending hours upon hours training, you have kids and demanding jobs, etc.
What’s your go to vegan meal or favorite recovery meal?