7 Tips on How to be a vegan athlete

Depending on the frequency and intensity of training, an athlete’s typical diet is usually a high-calorie one. Essential nutrients such as protein, iron, and calcium are crucial to support muscle building and recovery. Thus, athletes who want to become vegan faces the challenge of finding alternative sources of these essential nutrients. If you are an athlete who would like to live a healthier lifestyle, here are 7 tips on how to be a vegan athlete.

  1. Set yourself up for success

Every athlete has a diet plan. Since a vegan diet excludes eating any type of meat, poultry, fish, and for some, even eggs (lacto-vegetarians), proper planning is needed in order to find alternative protein sources. Before grocery shopping, plan out your meals and snacks and identify these alternative food choices. You may need to visit a specialty shop as some ingredients might be hard to find. Proper planning will help you keep a balanced diet and not have to resort to a protein bar after every meal.

  1. Make smart and healthy choices

The question, “how to be a vegan athlete?” can be answered by this short phrase: Make smart and healthy choices. There are a lot of “fake” meats available on the market. However, these are loaded with sodium and added sugars. Researching better alternatives such as plant-based food items will help you stay committed to your diet and being healthy. Beans, quinoa, nuts, and tofu are excellent sources of protein. Spinach and lentils are great sources of iron.

  1. Don’t forget your calcium

As an athlete, you put a lot of stress on your bones because of rigorous physical activity. It is imperative to include calcium in your diet. If you are excluding dairy products from your diet, you can get calcium from plant-based sources such as kale, broccoli, bok choy, and spinach. Soy products and cereals are also excellent sources of calcium.

  1. Include healthy fats

Healthy fats can be a great source of energy for a vegan athlete. As a vegan athlete, you might be consuming fewer calories during exercise. You may start to lose weight which might hinder your performance. Consuming food high in omega and fatty acids such as avocado, flax seeds, nuts, and oils, will help you replenish much-needed calories.

  1. Learn how to cook

There are a lot of vegan-friendly places to eat. However, for your vegan lifestyle to be truly sustainable, you also need to learn how to cook. Not only will this save you a few bucks but it also will help you ensure you get the best possible nutrition. There are a lot of easy-to-cook vegan recipes on the internet.

  1. Make time for meal prep

You might already be thinking that learning how to be a vegan athlete is a lot of work. But one pro trick is to prepare your meals for the entire week in one sitting. You may need to spend a couple of hours doing so but this will help save you the time and effort in the middle of the week. Pack and prepare meals in labeled containers that you can easily heat up in the microwave before a meal.

  1. Let your team know

Let your trainer or coach know of your decision to switch to a vegan lifestyle so that the necessary adjustments can also be done to your regimen. Ensure that they are knowledgeable and supportive of your lifestyle change and so they can help you know how to be a vegan athlete.

If you’re considering a vegetarian diet, without a doubt, it is no easy endeavor. These tips will help you make the transition an easier and more enjoyable one.

 

George Pitt

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