Athletes, thinking about eating more plants, but worried about getting enough protein? Here is a meal plan that will show you that it's easy to get plant-based protein from whole foods. It’s not only possible, but also may be beneficial, for athletes get their protein from more plants, given the other healing nutrients in plant-based foods. Athletes often require more protein than the average person (1.2 - 1.5 grams per kg compared to .8 grams per kg for the non-athlete). To get an example of a 3-day meal plan for an athlete on a plant-based diet, keep reading!
The 3-day meal plan has three main meals with two smaller snacks, but eating more often may be required depending on the sport or exercise program. While the average daily intake for calories is set at 2,000 for the average American adult, athletes typically require far more. This meal plan will be based off of a 2,250 calorie diet which may be more or less than you require (check with your local dietitian!)
Especially for athletes, snacks are a great way to maintain fullness, prevent overeating at subsequent meals, and provide energy for training. Athletes typically require more calories to make up for what they burn during training sessions and competitions. Frequent snacking is a great way to ensure maximal energy and performance gains.
Check out our previous post to learn about more snacking for workouts.
This 3 day meal plan has many recipes taken from Purely Planted’s website. Click the links to learn more and how to make some of these delicious meals and snacks!
Get yourself a glass mason jar or cup and fill it with one cup of oats, 1 cup soy milk, dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, hemp seeds and nuts (and maybe some chocolate chips!). If you like a little more sweetness, add a tablespoon of maple syrup. This is a great on-the-go breakfast that you can eat at work. Serving: 2 cups—Calories: 475kcal, carbohydrates: 48g, protein: 12g, fat: 12g.
Tahini is a versatile, whole-food ingredient made from sesame seeds and used in salad dressings, dips, sauces and desserts. This delicious snack is high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. For just two tablespoons of tahini there are 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrate, no sugar and 4 grams of fiber. Serving: 3 Tahini Bites—Calories: 290kcal, carbohydrates:16g, protein: 4g, fat: 29g.
Tofu and Bean Bowl
Make this meal in one pot by sauteing your favorite vegetables such as sliced onions, carrots, peppers or celery. Add two cans of black beans with 1-2 cups of cubed tofu, cook on mediums for 3-5 minutes or until warm. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Add other spices you like for more flavor (and healing nutrients) such as turmeric and paprika. Serve warm in a bowl and eat with tortilla chips or brown rice. Serving: 2 cups—Calories: 670 kcal, carbohydrates: 115g, protein: 48g, fat: 7g.
Hummus with Carrots
This snack adds a crunch with a rich and creamy hummus dip. Hummus is a flavorful chickpea dip and a great source of protein. It's a great energizing snack during work or on the go. Serving: ¼ cup hummus with 10-12 carrots—Calories: 240 kcal, carbohydrates: 32 g, protein: 10g, fat: 10g.
Italians (and everyone who likes Italian food), listen up! This is a delicious home cooked meal, that might take some more time to make, but will be totally worth it! Serving: 2 cups or around 4 shells—Calories: 570kcal, carbohydrates: 90g, protein: 25g, fat: 17g.
Soy Yogurt with Berries and Banana
Grab an unsweetened soy yogurt and add some berries plus sliced banana for an easy breakfast on the go or at home. Calories: 260kcal, carbohydrates: 60g, protein: 8g, fat: 5 g.
Apple or Banana with Peanut Butter
An apple or banana with some peanut butter or your favorite nut butter is a perfectly balanced sweet treat. Packed with protein and carbohydrates this is a great snack before or after workouts. Serving: 1 medium fruit and 2 Tbsp peanut butter—Calories: 270 kcal, carbohydrates: 31g, protein: 9g, fat: 16g.
Not only is this power plant-based wrap bursting with flavor but it only takes minutes to prepare! This versatile chickpea salad can be made as a sandwich, add some sprouts and wrap it in tortilla, or mix it into some healthy whole grains like brown rice or wheat berries. Serving: 2 cups—Calories: 750 kcal, carbohydrates: 101g, protein: 40g, fat: 25g.
Nuts and Dried Fruit
Mix your own favorite nuts with some dried fruit to create a delicious and easy trail mix! Serving: ¼ cup.Calories: 270kcal, carbohydrates: 20g, protein: 7g, fat: 20g.
Baked Sweet Potato with Lentils
Instead of bacon, try stuffing your sweet potatoes with lentils for a tasty and protein-packed punch (cook with a little liquid smoke and smokey paprika for a delicious smokey flavor). Bake sweet potatoes, add 1/4-1/2 cup of cooked lentils, drizzle with olive oil, diced onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper and a dash of sea salt. Serving: 2 medium sweet potatoes with lentils—Calories: 490kcal, carbohydrates: 110g, protein: 24g, fat: 7g.
Try these cheesy vegan-style grits on top of avocado toast! The nutritional yeast adds plant-based protein and B12, and avocado adds healing phytonutrients and essential fats for your morning dose of energy. Serving: 1 cup grits, 1 slice whole wheat toast, ½ avocado. Calories: 680kcal, carbohydrates: 120g, protein: 8g, fat: 23g.
Glass of soy milk with whole wheat crackers
A glass of soy milk with some whole wheat crackers can be a simple and tasty snack in the morning. Soy milk has a good amount of protein and the whole wheat crackers deliver complex carbohydrates to help feel fuller longer. Serving: 1 cup—Calories: 150 kcal, carbohydrates: 25g, protein: 10g, fat: 4g.
Three Bean Quinoa Salad Bowl
This lunch can be made by boiling 2 cups of water, adding 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and simmering for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and in a separate bowl mix quinoa, 1 can of each: black beans, pinto beans and edamame, ½ medium red onion (sliced), 1 tbsp olive oil, squeeze of 1 large lemon, black pepper, and parsley or cilantro. This meal is full of flavor and protein. Serving: 2 cups—Calories: 650kcal, carbohydrates: 120g, protein: 45g, fat: 6g.
A quick and easy snack, drain a can of chickpeas then drizzle with olive oil and top with salt, pepper, garlic and whatever other spices you like. Roast for 35 - 45 minutes on 375F to get a crunchy and delicious protein filled snack. Serving: 1/3 cup—Calories: 150kcal, carbohydrates: 26g, protein: 8g, fat: 1g.
Top with cilantro and scallions, melt your favorite vegan cheese, or add nutritional yeast on top for a cheesy flavor (and a B12 boost). Eat it with a spoon in your favorite soup bowl, add it to an organic corn tortilla for chili tacos or scoop it on top of brown rice. Serving: 2 cups. Calories: 550kcal, carbohydrates: 81g, protein: 39g, fat: 4g.
Nutrition facts per day for 3 day meal plan:
Total calories: 2255 kcal
Total grams of protein: 99g
Total grams of carbohydrate: 331g
Total grams of fat: 62g
Athletes typically require around 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. For an athlete who weighs 150 pounds, this would be tween 82 - 102 grams of protein per day. As you can see, it’s very easy to plenty of protein with plant-based foods!
Do you have favorite plant-based meals that fuel your workouts? Let us know below!
Hey everyone! My name is Alec Pienta and I am finishing the master's level Coordinated Program of Nutrition at Georgia State University, which will enable me to sit and (hopefully) pass the exam to become a Registered Dietitian. I was drawn to studying nutrition through sports and exercise in high school. Nutrition education is one of the aspects I am most passionate about. I enjoy being able to talk about nutrition guidelines, clear up misconceptions, and tell fun facts! I am open to where the world of nutrition leads me, but know that I will be happy being able to communicate nutrition information to anyone who will listen.