Did you know that athletes of all kinds and on all competing levels can achieve their nutritional requirements and energy needs with a plant-based diet? And that too, irrespective of the kind of sport they are into. From Crossfit trainers to Triathlon athletes, veganism has you covered!
But let’s not forget that although veganism is a healthy lifestyle change many athletes prefer to take up, different sports and sports persons have varying nutritional priorities. The effects of which can have a major impact on your training, performance, physical and mental health and more.
Our top 5 diet tips on how to be a vegan and an athlete too:
#1. Follow A Diet Plan
Vegan or not, having a diet plan is a sine qua non for your everyday routine. Different sports demand different workout regimes, thereby have different energy requirements. While veganism does offer a healthy dietary style, vegan athletes must take into consideration that they might not be able to find food options on the go.
Therefore, charting out a diet plan helps you with your nutrient count as well as meal ideas to keep you energized throughout the day. Moreover, some sports may require you to snack in between meals while others do not. Thus, a diet chart in accordance to your daily routine is a must.
#2. Be Mindful About Protein
As a vegan, you must be mindful of your protein, even more so when you are a vegan athlete. The best way to ensure that you consume enough of it is by including various plant-based protein in your everyday meals and make sure you get your portions right while you are at it.
Foods such as lentils, beans, soy, nuts, nut butter, whole grains, peas, and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp, etc. can be incorporated in your meals to give you your daily dose of protein.
#3. Get Enough Calcium
With the amount of stress you put on your bones during your training and the big games, you sure are aware of the importance of calcium and what it can do for bone health. Dairy products such as milk and yoghurt are rich in calcium but as a vegan, you ought to steer clear of them. So the big question is how do you get enough calcium without dairy sources?
Green veggies such as kale, bok choy, spinach, and broccoli are rich sources of calcium and including them in your meals helps up your calcium levels. You could also try soy milk and tofu as substitutes for dairy. Moreover, 100% orange juice and most cereals are said to be fortified with calcium and they work well too.
#4. Hydrate Often
This one’s a no brainer. Since your body helps you get through intense workouts and training sessions, your body runs out of energy quickly.
However, you might not be able to replenish nutrients immediately due to your vegan diet plan, therefore we suggest that you keep your playbook close and your water bottle closer! You could even switch your regular hydrating sports drink with coconut water if you would like. Even fruit juices would do the job. Remember, keep sipping!
#5. Calorie And Healthy Fats
Athletes tend to burn up a whole lot of calories during their workout and game sessions but since meat, fish, and dairy don’t figure on your menu, you’ve got to watch out. When the lost calories aren’t made up for, you might lose weight and also put your performance on the line. Eating plenty of plant-based fats such as flax-seeds, avocados, nut butter, etc. helps in providing healthy fats to your body.
Another important healthy nutrient that vegan athletes tend to lose out on is Vitamin B12. Eggs and meat are rich sources of vitamin B12. Maybe, you could consult your physician on how to compensate for it. Lack of vitamin B12 can lead to extreme exhaustion which is detrimental to your functioning. That brings us to the next point…
Supplements aren’t really necessary if you are eating well, hydrating and catching up on enough sleep. But then again, talk to your physician on how and what supplements can help you depending on the type of sport and training intensity you are into.
P.S If you really want to be a vegan athlete, learn to cook! Cooking your own meals can help you chart out your diet plan and give you full control of your health and your taste buds too!
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