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  • reillybrophy03

Plant Based for Athletes - Is it Possible?

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

This is a commonly asked question, and there is a lot of controversy around whether going plant-based will provide athletes with enough protein to perform at the highest level. Despite popular opinion, a plant-based diet, if outlined correctly, will not only provide an athlete with enough protein, but an excess of all important nutrients. There are plenty of athletes who swear by a plant-based diet, myself included, and here are some reasons why.

First of all, by eating an array of whole foods, your body receives all the nutrients it needs to function at the highest level. Athletes will experience quicker recovery time, more energy, and less fatigue eating these nutrient dense foods. Speaking from personal experience, after only one month of switching, there was a noticeable change in my speed and endurance while training. I was not the only one who noticed this. I received many comments from coaches, friends, and family that I looked in great shape. I never realized how much truly changing your diet could help improve athletic ability.

Interested in quick and easy plant-based recipes? Check out my recipes page for more information.

Nutrition Outline for Athletes

I started my transition to a plant-based diet very slow. First I made sure my breakfast was made up of only Whole Foods, but was lenient on what I ate for lunch and dinner. Then a week later, after picking out 4-5 meals to try, I began cooking plant-based dinners. Lunch was the most difficult meal to replace with only Whole Foods, since most days I eat out for lunch. After extensive research, which I will share in another post, I found easy restaurants that serve vegan options. Within one month, I was 100% plant based.

ftThe way I currently outline my daily meals has changed a lot since I first started my Whole Foods journey. I highly reccommend this method for teenage athletes, but remember this is just an outline, and needs to be adjusted for every person. I start my day with a cup of coffee or tea, and water. After 2-3 hours I eat my first snack around 9:30am. This snack consists of good protein and fiber, my go to being a tortilla filled with peanut butter. Other ideas are nut butter in a pita, a healthy plant-based protein bar or my Nut Butter Ball snacks. An hour later, around 10am, I will eat a huge serving of fruit, or a fruit smoothie. I like to mix my fruits up daily to make sure I am getting all the nutrients each fruit has to offer. After this, I do not eat again until lunch around 12-1pm. I will eat a decent size lunch, usually consisting of a veggie burger and sweet potato fries, or a black bean quesadilla. My lunch keeps me full until after my workout around 4pm. After my workout, I will eat a quick snack before dinner, usually a small protein bar or veggies and hummus. Finally, around 6pm I will eat a big dinner (check dinner recipes for ideas). This outline is what I have been following for months now, and it has kept me full everyday. Once again, this is what works for me. It is important to remember that every body is different and many outlines will need to be adjusted to fit you specifically.

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