What I Eat in a Day as a Weight Lifting Vegan
When I first went vegan in January, it was such a major shift in my diet I actually stopped weight lifting to focus only on what I was eating. I had this idea that weight lifting as a vegan would be hard; I would be forced to drink protein shakes to make up for lost protein and it’d be a high carb diet full of beans and pasta. From January to the middle of February, I exercised by walking more and just did all that I could to stay vegan with my main carbs being vegetables. But as time went on, I would see the squat rack in the garage and look longingly at it. When could I lift again? Would I be able to lift again? I also wanted to lose weight, so finding that balance was key for me and it was unknown territory being vegan and weight lifting again. Walking actually had been great for my mental health as well, but being able to lift heavy weights is like nothing else.
So in February, I decided to lift again and I took a look at my current diet and what I could change. I was getting great results with weight loss, and there were a lot of things I really liked in the way I was eating. While this may not work for you, eating high carb for breakfast and lunch and keeping my calories and carbs low for dinner has been the best thing for me. I found that I slept better, and I didn’t feel as heavy when I woke up the next morning.
So now that I’ve added weight lifting back, the only change is I added more protein and yes, you can be vegan and get enough protein. But since I know a lot of people have ideas about what vegans eat, this is what I eat as a new vegan who also has enough energy to lift weights.
Something that I can’t do is eat before working out or I’ll feel really nauseated the entire workout. I do cardio or weight lifting fasted around 7am and drink a lot of water and if I need an extra boost, I’ll take some pre-workout. 3 days a week, I do the Stronglifts 5x5 workout and every other day, I’ll do light cardio on the treadmill.
Once I’m done working out, I’ll eat a protein bar or some peanut butter immediately as I prep everything I need for coffee.
Then I shower and after getting dressed, it’s breakfast time. I generally eat the same thing every day and that’s tofu scramble! What I love about being vegan is that I can prepare some plain tofu scramble ahead of time and eat it throughout the week. So when I finish showering, all I have to do is just heat up tofu scramble and either put it on avocado toast or make breakfast tacos out of it. I keep it pretty basic and generally just add green onions and tomatoes which I can also keep prepared in the fridge.
Tofu scramble is so easy to make and you can spice it however you want but here’s how I make it:
- spray cooking oil in a pan or lightly drizzle oil into it
- literally just plop the tofu into the pan and either use a fork or potato masher to mash it into the consistency of scrambled eggs
- season with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast
….and that’s it, you are done with a pretty basic tofu scramble that keeps well in the fridge for quite a few days.
I also have coffee with Laird coffee creamer as it adds a little flavor and energy boost with MCTs.
Lunch is where I vary a lot because it’s my highest carb and calorie meal out of the day. But more often than not, I’ll have stir fried noodles with tofu and a ton of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and onions. If I feel famished, I’ll add steamed vegetable dumplings as well. I prefer eating as many vegetables as I can for lunch since I’m not as hungry later. Most of my meals end up being about 600 calories and have a lot of protein.
I don’t always eat perfectly though! Since lunch time is my highest calorie meal, I’ll splurge a little and have a burger with fries or spaghetti with meatballs. Every body is different but for me, I don’t do well with a lot of carbs that aren’t vegetables so on days that I have more carbs, I’ll take a long walk after lunch. But sometimes, especially if I went climbing in the morning, the craving for a burger is high!
Today I had leftover sauce from spaghetti so I made meatball subs for lunch on toasted buns with some vegan mozzarella.
I’m just as boring when it comes to dinner as I am with breakfast and literally have the same thing almost every day- burritos made with low carb tortillas.
My favorite burrito is made with mushrooms seasoned like taco meat, tomatoes, avocado, and nutritional yeast. If it’s not burritos, I might have a taco, or quesadillas but it’s still all of the same ingredients. Since I go to sleep around 8–9 p.m. I don’t like having a lot of carbs at night nor do I want to figure out what to eat so I like dinner to be as easy as possible. The mushroom mix is also something you can make ahead of time and you can easily heat it up and make anything with it!
Sometimes if I had a really large lunch, like the burger and fries, I might even skip dinner or just have a protein shake with added PB powder and powdered greens if I’m lifting weights the next day.
Hopefully, you realize by now that you don’t have to supplement like crazy or have complex meals to be a vegan who lifts weights. With the foods that I eat, you don’t have to take B-12 as a lot of it comes from the vegetables and the nutritional yeast which is something I know a lot of people give the vegan lifestyle grief about.
The only supplements that I do take are DHA and BCAAs with the BCAAs being more for the flavor and extra support after weight lifting.
But you don’t have to eat beans for every meal and be chugging protein shakes to have be vegan and lift weights. Every way of eating takes tinkering and for me personally, I’ve never felt better. You don’t have to go vegan yourself, but if you need some meals that can be prepped ahead of time that have protein, keep tofu scramble in mind!