What to Eat Pre and Post-Workout…Vegetarian Edition
By Lori Zakalik
As a vegetarian and a runner, I used to find it difficult getting the nutrients I needed after a run. I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat fish and I don’t like eggs, so where do I get my post-workout protein fix? Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan foods that are high in protein, you just have to know where to look.
What to Eat?
Your post-workout meal should consist of a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1. Livestrong.com recommends you eat complex carbs such as whole-wheat or whole grain breads and crackers. And now, the question vegetarians hate to hear, where do you get your protein? It is actually easier than you think. Eating a peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread, or whole-wheat pita dipped in hummus can satisfy your carb and protein requirements. Foods like nuts, hummus, tofu, beans and egg whites (for non-vegan diets) are all suitable sources of protein for a vegetarian diet. Also be sure to drink a lot of water and eat fruit to replace lost electrolytes.
When to Eat?
It is important to time your post-workout meal to best aid your muscle recovery. According to No Meat Athlete, a blog about running and plant-based nutrition, the optimal re-fueling window is 15 to 60 minutes after your workout. This is the ideal time for your muscles to start recovery, so be sure to eat your post-workout meal within the hour after completing your run.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, what diets and techniques work best for you?