Surrounded by protein bars, power drinks and assorted processed goods designed as “fuel,” finding the perfect vegan snack before a workout can be even more tiring than the workout itself! With ingredients like erythritol and glycosides, it’s no wonder we’ve lost sight of what we’re putting into our bodies. Although many gym-goers will try to convince you that the only way to get adequate protein is to serve your lean chicken breast with a side of chalky protein powder, we know better than that. To make sure you’re keeping your strength and energy at an all time high, here are my top ten favorite vegan snacks to not only give you the boost you need, but feed your muscles the nutrients you crave.
Fruit & Nut Butter
While a banana and peanut butter are a long time fav, try switching it up and serving your nectarine with a side of cashew butter, or warm up an apple in the microwave for 20 seconds and top with almond butter. The options are endless for this carb and fat combo!
Hummus & Preferred Dipper
Hummus offers a delicious protein and is easy to match with cut up veggies or a sliced pita. Add a drizzle of olive oil or coconut oil to up your calories for workouts over an hour.
Turn Dinner Food into Snacks
Those leftover quinoa and couscous dishes aren’t just for dinner. Dice up some fresh produce and enjoy a small serving of your favorite meal to give you the energy you need to go the distance.
Dates Stuffed with A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G
This snack is best for when you’re in a hurry, or even during your workout! I tuck a couple dates stuffed with walnuts into my running belt to enjoy halfway through my long runs. It’s far more tasty than any gummy chew!
Sandwiches For All
Use your favorite sandwich bread (I always have Ezekiel bread stocked in my freezer) and create an open faced sandwich. Add a healthy fat, such as a smear of a fatter spread (avocados work great!) and add sprouts, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon for zest. Sandwiches aren’t just for lunch anymore!
Half an avocado makes the perfect bowl for a variety of flavors. Remove the pit and enjoy your avocado with homemade salsa or the grain of your choice. Try baking your stuffed avocado in the oven for a few minutes to really feel indulgent.
Dehydrate An Old Favorite
While zucchini slices and kale leaves can get a bit boring after awhile, spruce up your usual snacks by lightly covering them with olive oil and spices of choice before baking them in a dehydrator overnight. The crunchy snack is the perfect thing to wake you up before you hit the weights!
Whether you mix silken tofu up with cocoa powder for a creamy pudding or dice it extra thick to serve in a lettuce leaf wrap, tofu is the food of many hats and can take on the flavors of whatever you want to add to it!
Homemade Granola and Almond Milk
While store bought granola can have loads of preservatives, making your own at home is as simple as mixing up your favorite grain, sweetener (maple syrup, yum!), dried fruits and nuts and baking at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with almond milk for a little extra protein.
Smoothies (Lean, Mean, Green Machine!)
Blend up half a banana, a couple handfuls of greens and a serving of fruit with some almond milk and you’re good to go! If you’re in a rush, add all the solid ingredients into the blender the night before and store in the freezer. In the morning all you need to do is add your beverage of choice, blend, and bam! Plus, who doesn’t love having their serving of greens out of the way before 9 am?
While you might think reaching for the chewy, sugary power bar is an easy quick fix, you’re not doing your body any favors. It can be more than challenging deciphering misleading claims and wondering if ‘all-natural’ really is just that. To prevent label fatigue and preservative overload, stick to what you know. These snacks are not only easy on your system, but can be made efficiently when you have little time to spare!
What’s your favorite workout snack? Please share in the comments!
More fitness and nutrition tips: Thrive Diet for Vegan Athletes
More healthy, vegan snack ideas!
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Photo: Peaceful Dumpling; Mary Hood Luttrell