If you’ve ever come back from a run or some weight training at the gym and feel like you’re way more tired than you should be, some dietary changes could be the issue. A hearty, post workout vegan meal improves stamina and fortifies muscles. When we exercise with the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients in our bodies, we can go further and faster in our workouts.
We’ve gathered all of the information you need to know about the best plant-based foods and ingredients for your post workout vegan meal!
Why is a Post Workout Meal Important?
After a hard workout, it can be tempting to reach for the ice cream or some chocolate. While you certainly deserve a reward for all of your hard work, instead, opt for foods that will help repair your body and prepare you for the next exercise.
Muscle and joint strain are impossible to avoid when exercising. However, we can better handle that strain when we supply our bodies with healthy fuel. Additionally, when we exercise, we burn through that fuel and need a top-up afterward. If we replace that energy with unhealthy fuel, our next workout could be more difficult!
In this sense, a nutritious post workout meal is also an effective pre-workout diet. We are not only recovering from the tension we placed on our bodies, but also preparing them for the next day. Though, if you still want to satisfy that post workout sugar urge after a healthy meal, some vegan ice cream and chocolate can provide some sweet relief.
Does a Vegan Diet Affect Your Workout?
“If you don’t eat meat, where do you get protein from?” Many vegetarians and vegans have long been faced with this question. Though, there has always been a very simple answer: plants! Beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are packed with protein without many of the unhealthy ingredients that can come in animal byproducts.
It is true that plant-based diets become a harder challenge when it comes to getting enough protein. However, this is only a concern to those who require massive amounts of the nutrient, such as professional athletes. If you use protein-rich, plant-based ingredients, the average workout will not be affected by a vegan diet.
What is the Best Post Workout Vegan Meal?
When it comes to vegan nutrition, there is no single easy answer. Everyone has their own dietary needs, but they also have their own exercise goals. Consider whether the snack, drink, or meal you’re eating is best for muscle recovery, gaining weight, losing weight, or rich in a particular nutrient that you’d like more of.
We’ve compiled some of the most popular and most effective vegan foods to help you eat the best ingredients possible after exercising. After you’ve gotten to know the specific benefits of each food, you’ll be able to recover faster and get back to working out with more energy than ever!
Banana, Mangoes, and Grapes Post Workout
Besides protein, three of the most crucial nutrients we need after a good workout are fiber, potassium, and electrolytes. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with fruit that comes packed with these vital ingredients. Bananas, mangoes, and grapes can be eaten separately or blended together in a tasty smoothie! Let’s take a look at the way each fruit benefits us.
Bananas are known for their potassium, but they also supply our bodies with another vital nutrient: fiber. Foods rich in fiber keep us full for a longer time while remaining low in calories. Being more satisfied with less food assists in weight loss and boosts our metabolism’s function!
Bananas also contain carbs, but not the kind we usually associate with weight gain. The fast-acting carbs found in bananas absorb amino acids and help our bodies restore glycogen, which helps muscle recovery. To fuel those muscles, we can turn to potassium.
Mangoes and bananas each have their own delicious flavor, but what they have in common is high levels of potassium. Potassium is essential for our muscles to function. After working out, the body has used up a lot of that potassium. We can then replenish the levels of this nutrient with these tasty fruits.
Electrolytes are essential for regulating muscle control, keeping us hydrated, and balancing our pH levels. When some think of replenishing electrolytes, they often use sugary sports drinks. While these drinks come with their own benefits, we can also find electrolytes in fruits. Grapes, specifically green grapes, are one of the best foods for replenishing this nutrient.
Oatmeal Post Workout
We mentioned earlier that bananas provide good carbohydrates, but they are far from the only source of healthy carbs. Oatmeal is also a source of fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent or delay certain types of cell damage. The human body benefits greatly from this protective nutrition, but many rely on supplements. Research has suggested that antioxidant supplements do not help prevent diseases. The best post workout recovery diet contains naturally-occurring antioxidants.
Oats are gluten-free in their natural state, but try to check the food’s label to be certain. Some people with celiac have reacted to grains that were processed in factories that also deal with gluten-containing foods. If the oatmeal’s packaging explicitly states that it is gluten-free? This means that they have taken safety precautions to ensure no gluten is introduced.
CBD Post Workout
Before we dive deeper into the best vegan recovery foods, we thought we should include a highly beneficial ingredient that you can add to basically any food or drink recipe. If you want to boost your recovery regimen try adding some vegan CBD oil to your post workout!
Utilizing CBD after intense training can help promote muscle relaxation, which works great, especially after strenuous activity. Many consumers suggest that using CBD post workout also soothes sore or tense muscles.
Related Article: Soothing Actions of CBD Muscle Rub [Target Deep Relief]
In addition, using CBD post workout complements our sleep habits which is a key factor for the recovery process!
People use CBD for many reasons, as it works wonders for our endocannabinoid system (ECS). We all have an ECS, which regulates functions in our bodies such as breathing, digestion, and heart rate. All three of these functions are crucial for a good post workout.
You may be wondering, what can I mix CBD oil with? Well, the answer is pretty much anything! You can mix some CBD tincture into your own smoothie or yogurt recipe. You can also add it to your oatmeal, salad, drinks, or any other meal that helps you recover from a great workout.
Yogurt Post Workout
After an exhausting workout, protein is one of the most essential nutrients in the recovery process. A little bit of peanut butter, some chia seeds, or a protein powder are all great snacks for protein. Snacks are quick and easy, but what about post workout vegan meals?
If you want a heartier meal than a protein powder drink and some chia seeds, eat some yogurt after the gym. The highest-quality protein is naturally sourced, but it doesn’t have to come from animal byproducts. Dairy-free yogurt made from soy, almond, coconut, and similar sources is one of the tastiest examples of a vegan protein.
For the perfect post workout protein replenishment, try adding some nut butter and fruit to your dairy-free yogurt. A serving of nut butter contains 6 grams of carbs and 16 grams of the type of fat that our bodies need. Having a balanced ratio of healthy ingredients in your food is the best way to come down from that day’s workout. You’ll also be preparing your body for tomorrow!
Sweet Potatoes Post Workout
Sweet potatoes are another great way to get plant-based nutrition. Like many of the other foods we’ve mentioned, they contain complex carbs, fiber, potassium, and protein. In addition, sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C.
Experts say that Vitamin C is one of the most powerful nutrients for our bodies. Research is investigating Vitamin C’s benefits. However, it is believed that this incredible ingredient protects us against immune system abnormalities, skin wrinkling, heart disease, and eye disease.
If you’d like some additional Vitamin C while also eating like royalty after your workout, try incorporating sweet potatoes into your post workout meals.
Like their sweet cousins, regular potatoes (russet, yellow, red, & white) are a snack that is also packed with nutrients. However, a potato and a sweet potato have different nutrients to offer! So, one might be better for your workout recovery than the other. It all depends on your needs. Let’s take a look at what this delicious post workout snack has to offer.
Potatoes have more protein than sweet potatoes, while sweet potatoes have more carbs, fat, and sugar. Regular potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin B6 (aids the production of red blood cells and neurotransmitters), niacin (lowers cholesterol), iodine (thyroid health), and thiamin (helps the body turn carbs into energy). Both types of potatoes contain plenty of Vitamin C.
Did you know that potatoes have been considered by space agencies all across the world as a potential crop to sustain human life on Mars? The potato’s high level of carbohydrates, in addition to its ability to be grown with minimal light, makes it ideal for the harsh conditions of space living. If you’d like to learn more about this superfood that has been a staple of humanity’s diet for millennia, check out the incredible International Potato Center!
Lentils & Beans
Lentils can come in a variety of colors, but they all carry the same healthy nutrients. These legumes are low in calories, high in fiber, packed with iron, and a great source of plant-based protein. Lentils are also rich in folate, a B vitamin that is crucial for our nutrition.
Just how important is folate? Well, it plays a part in the production of red and white blood cells, converting carbs into energy, as well as in the creation of DNA and RNA. Lentils are also a good way for our bodies to get polyphenols, which are micronutrients bursting with antioxidants.
Lentils have long been a mainstay in vegan protein diets. They aren’t the only legume that we can get incredible benefits from. All beans provide protein, fiber, and B vitamins that are low in calories. Some bean varieties, however, come with their own unique nutritional advantages.
If you’re especially in need of protein, eat soybeans with your post-workout snack or meal. Soybeans are the most protein-dense beans, containing twice the amount of protein per cup than other legumes. Soy is also full of magnesium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that make our bodies develop and function normally.
Another bean worth mentioning is the kidney bean, which any vegan in need of more fiber should eat. Most legumes hold about 10 grams of fiber per cup, but the same amount of kidney beans contains 13 grams. Moreover, one study that looked into whether or not kidney beans could control a person’s blood sugar levels yielded promising results.
Nuts Post Workout
Nuts are not only one of the best ways to get healthy fats and calories; they’re also one of the easiest. Eat nuts before going on a run or heading to the gym to give you that extra boost of energy! Or, mix them into your post workout vegan meal fitness routine to strengthen your body.
So, what do we mean by “healthy” fats? Well, first let’s define what “bad” fat is because it’s unfortunately very common in the food we eat. Trans fat is artificially made and has been linked to inflammation, heart disease, and high cholesterol levels. Trans fats are commonly found in commercial snack products and fried foods.
Healthy fats can actually combat the negative effects that trans fats may induce. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats benefit our nutrition, strengthening the heart and lowering cholesterol. These fats can be found in some of the foods we’ve already touched on, including soybeans and nuts.
There are countless ways you can incorporate nuts into your workout regimen. Make a peanut butter and banana sandwich to get a healthy ratio of carbs, protein, and potassium. Or, simply carry almonds or cashews in your workout bag for a quick and easy snack on the go.
Final Thoughts – Post Workout Vegan Meal
Without animal byproducts, one of the largest concerns for vegans is having a healthy ratio between all of their protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, plant-based protein is just one of the many benefits that a proper post workout vegan meal has to offer. Fiber, potassium, B and C vitamins, and healthy fats are just some of the vital nutrients found in these whole foods.
Vegans use more ingredients per-dish than those that consume animal byproducts. This just means that we get to pack even more flavor into our recovery meals! When we use natural ingredients such as oats, beans, hemp seeds, and CBD products post workout, we are truly taking care of our bodies so that they can take care of us in return!