One of the questions I've been asked the most since starting Athlegan is what vegan athletes should eat. Aside from supplements – what real food should we fuel our bodies with?
Personally, I usually have just two or three lunches that I cycle through, because it makes it easy to shop and plan my meals. These lunches can change over time, as I grow tired of them.
One big criterion for any of my meals is that they should be simple to make. I love making more elaborate dishes every now and then, experimenting with different cuisines and ingredients. But the Internet is already full of elaborate vegan recipes, based on weird, organic ingredients you can only find once a month at some obscure farmers market.
My recipes are the opposite – dead easy to make, with ingredients you can find at your local super market. I know that the more complicated my day-to-day diet is, the more likely I am to fail it.
The two lunches I'm about to share have been part of my diet for half a year or so.
One I eat after training and the other on rest days. More or less – sometimes I go a little wild and have the post-training meal on a rest day. Livin' la vida loca!
I normally train mid-day and then have lunch afterwards. My idea is to pack my post-training meal with carbs, so that I can quickly refill my glycogene levels and prepare for the next lifting session.
The timing of my carbs isn't really super important, especially since I currently rest 48 hours between sessions1. Some periods I train twice a day, however, and … why not? :)
Beyond carbs I want plenty of protein in my lunches, aiming for 2 grams per kilo (lean) body weight.
As for fat, I consider it for three primary reasons. One is to cover daily need, another to stay full longer, and a third to help absorb fat soluble vitamins. For lunch I only care about the last bit.
Minerals and vitamins are important too.
We should however make sure that we get enough of some specific micronutrients, such as the vitamins B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids2. In some cases, iron and zinc as well.
If you're low on zinc and vitamin D, your testosterone levels are probably suffering as well. Eating food with more of those micronutrients is one of the few ways to naturally increase your testosterone levels. It's worth noting though, that extra supplementation on top of normal levels doesn't seem to increase testosterone further.
Vegan lunch recipes
With the above in mind, here's my ideas for how to eat healthy!
NB! I'm a 90 kg guy eating to grow – so you might want to modify the sizes of these recipes. Or simply break out the tupperware and call it food prep!
This is what I normally eat after training. By using pre-cooked lentils and already boiled rice, it takes me about five minutes to prepare.
You can of course cook it all yourself from dry ingredients and have yourself one of the cheapest and most nutrient efficient dishes possible.
- 400 g cooked green lentils
- 250 g boiled brown rice
- 200 g green beans
- Cumin, olive oil, and salt.
(Green beans are also known as haricots verts, french beans, string beans, and snap beans. Dear child.)
Wash and chop up the raw green beans in centimeter long rods.
Mix all ingredients together.
Sprinkle a generous amount of cumin on top, add a little salt and oil, and stir until it's well mixed.
Done! I said dead easy recipes, right?
- 804 kcal
- 46 g Protein
- 152 g Carbs
- 4 g Fat
- 16 mg Iron
- 175 mg Calcium
- 302 mg Magnesium
- 9 mg Zinc
Brawny veggie mix
For this nutrition bomb I've listed tofu but you can substitute it with seitan for even more protein.
- 200 g tofu
- 100 g green beans
- 100 g bean sprouts
- 100 g broccoli
- 100 g paprika
- 100 g peas
- 100 g mushrooms
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- Turmeric, salt
Dice all ingredients up in small pieces.
Cut the garlic in thin slices and fry it in the oil until browning.
Throw in all ingredients, sprinkle with plenty of turmeric and salt.
Done! Dead. Easy. Recipe. :)
- 849 kcal
- 56 g Protein
- 56 g Carbs
- 50 g Fat
- 8.3 mg Iron
- 225 mg Calcium
- 207 mg Magnesium
- 4.3 mg Zinc
- 18 IU Vitamin D
To each their own
The above vegan lunch recipes are my personal and current go-tos for day-to-day nutrition. They're very simple to make and provide lots of energy and nutrients.
But your milage may vary and I'd love to hear about it! I'm sure you have your own favorites, some tricks and tips on how to quickly put together something delicious to fuel your training.
Subscribe below and I'll send you more healthy recipes in the near future!