Athletes who abide by an animal-free ethos have a unique challenge when it comes to getting enough protein into their meals. The most abundant sources of protein in nature are animal based. Vegan and vegetarian athletes who do not get enough protein have a higher risk of experiencing muscle loss rather than muscle gain.

 

Being powered by plants has plenty of amazing performance benefits and can significantly improve many health factors. Plants are incredibly nutrient dense and provide a lot of energy. Athletes who eat a well-balanced, plant based diet are able to perform just as well as those who consume animal-based foods. Any athlete (vegan or not) who consumes a colorful variety of produce will see positive health benefits such as increased energy, glowing skin, and improved mental acuity.

 

Another potential struggle for athletes eating a primarily plant-based diet is that it takes a lot of plant matter in order to meet the caloric needs of a training athlete. Properly balanced vegan meals have more than one source of protein blended together with healthy fats to supply sustained energy, better nutrient absorption, and additional calories to support training.  

 

This vegan protein meal can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Surprisingly easy and flavorful meals such as this appeal to, and benefit, non-vegan athletes as well. Make this your no-meat Monday dinner and I promise you’ll be happy.

 

Cilantro Lime Quinoa Bowl

 

quinoa lime cilantro bowl

[Photo credit: Kari Lund]

 

Calories: 505, Protein 24g, Carbohydrates 69g, Fat 17g

Prep time: 10 min

Serves: 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth for best flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Pickled jalapenos (optional)

 

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Stir together the quinoa, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro.
  2. Place half of the quinoa onto each of two plates.
  3. Divide all other ingredients among the two serving plates.

 

Notes:

  • Non-Vegans can add 1oz of crumbled queso fresco to each serving for an additional 6 grams protein per serving.
  • Quinoa can be made ahead and refrigerated up to a week.

 

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