Over the decades, veganism has been stigmatized and many people dismiss any idea that seems to deduce any form of athletic strength and prowess from consuming a vegetarian diet. Many believe such prowess can only be achieved through the consumption of diets rich in meats, dairy and poultry products.
In the recent past, however, more and more athletes have embraced veganism owing to the positive results and this trend might soon absorb the remaining “meat-eaters” across the sporting community.
That said! In this article, we will take you through the basic nutritional tips for a vegan athlete or those that are planning to adopt a vegan diet.
Have a meal plan
Any sportsman should have an eating plan whether vegan or not. The vegan should know what to eat before work-out, the recovery nutrition and hydration each day. It is important to note that there are certain nutrients vegan athlete needs and they should get enough of them on a daily basis.
Most people think that a vegan diet must be free from any proteins. Contrary to this, a vegan diet must include enough proteins but you need to be very mindful of what proteins to incorporate in every meal. Protein intake should be spread throughout the day meaning that equal portion must be included at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Vegan proteins include;
- Whole grains
- Nut butters
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia, etc.)
Lots of Calcium
Calcium is undeniably an important nutritional component in an athlete diet owing to the fact that the bones are subject to immense stress on a daily basis; as such calcium is needed to strengthen the bones.
Include the healthy fats
Vegans athletes need to consume enough calories and healthy fats from plants such as avocados, algae, nuts, and oil so as to help replace the calories lost during workout sessions. The fats also help to keep the heart healthy which is important during strenuous activities.
Do not forget about B12
Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat and poultry products and as such, a vegan athlete is likely to miss on this important nutrient. Most vegans opt to take a supplement but they are a couple of vegan sources of B12 for athletes.
Check the label on nutritional content
Always check on the nutritional contents for possible inclusion of any animal products. Most sport nutritional products contain honey which is why you should always check on such products before making any purchase decision.
Try and cook your meals if possible
As stated earlier, a vegan should always think about what to include in the meal beforehand and the best way they can do this is by preparing their meals whenever possible. This helps to ensure they get all that they need. This can easily be achieved by following the approved vegan recipes for athletes and such information is available in the public domain