What I Eat as a Vegan Trainer

This article will provide a starting point for those of you who are considering a plant-based diet.

5 min read

Nutrition

What I Eat as a Vegan Trainer

It’s me again! If you loved my last article about the pros and cons of choosing a vegan lifestyle and are curious about what I eat in a day as a trainer, look no further. This article will provide a starting point for those of you who are considering a plant-based diet.

Though I did not have difficulty giving up meat and dairy, it was difficult to redefine my meals. I was raised on the typical plate of meat and two sides – take the meat away and you are only left with sides. That can’t be right.

I followed a 30-day meal plan by Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete, to get accustomed to a vegan diet, but my brain was still programmed to think meals should be centered around meat or eggs. I continued my research, tried different meal plans, and finally realized that I had to let go of my meat-centric approach to find ease in creating vegan meals.

 

The Flavor Approach

Start with flavor, prioritize plants, and create! These are the foundations of my favorite vegan meals. Drawing inspiration from all the meal plans I tried and the amazing vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, I realized that it wasn’t meat or dairy that I craved, it was a flavor. This realization changed everything. If I got the flavor right, I would never miss anything that I normally ate from a meat-centered diet. If I craved sushi, I simply combined rice, veggies, ginger, and soy sauce (liquid aminos for me!). If it was Italian or Mexican flavors, I learned to make a vegan lasagna or walnut tacos.

Now did I nail it every time? … No! But I did have a lot of fun trying. Below are some of my favorite concoctions, they are simple to make, as I am not a chef, and are health-centered to ensure that I get what I need to fuel my body!

 

A Sweet Start

Breakfasts are typically more on the sweet side for me. If I am in a more intense training program, I will typically go for an option below that includes a scoop of protein, but if not, I keep it simple with a bowl of fruit with cinnamon and drizzled peanut butter on top. If you are more of a savory breakfast fan, tofu is a great substitute for eggs. Season with turmeric, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper, and voila – you have eggs for a breakfast burrito or bagel breakfast sandwich.

 

Cake Batter Yogurt

Cake Batter Yogurt

  • 2/3 or 1 cup of plant-based plain yogurt (Forager’s is my favorite)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla plant-based protein (Truvani is AMAZING)
  • Mix the two– you can add some plant-based milk if you want a thinner texture – I like it when it is close to a cake batter texture.
  • Add berries of choice
  • Top with cinnamon and a little granola if you’d like (I do!)

PB & J Smoothie

PB & J Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana (can be frozen)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla plant-based protein (Truvani is AMAZING)
  • 1 large tablespoon of peanut butter or a scoop of Naked PB powder
  • Blend with water or plant-based milk of choice

Coffee is included with all 😊

 

Lunch, Brunch, & Munch

If I had to choose one meal for the day, it would be lunch! I love it, I love brunch, and I love to munch during the day. Those savory breakfast items tend to sneak their way into lunch as I am always a sucker for a good breakfast burrito or sandwich. SANDWICHES… enough said. I make chickpea salad instead of chicken salad, I bake tofu or mushrooms marinated in liquid-aminos as “bacon” for a BLT, and I simply make hummus and cucumber sandwiches as they are YUMMY! There are so many ways to make a vegan sandwich that you can’t go wrong. Below are more lunch ideas that are easy to prep at home.

 

Burritos

Burritos

  • Pack with Veggies – peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes
  • Spread – hummus and/or avocado!
  • Beans – always add a bean, they have amazing longevity benefits, favorites are chickpeas, lentils, and black beans.
  • Add rice or roasted potatoes (I typically go for the roasted potatoes)
  • Roll up in your favorite wrap (if you are trying to reduce calories you can choose to roll in butter lettuce leaves or simply make it into a bowl)
  • Breakfast version – scramble tofu with all the veggies, add pico de gallo, and scene!
  • All the above could also be made into tacos!

Hot sauce for me!

 

Grain Salad Bowls

Grain Salad Bowls

  • Start with 2 big cups of leafy greens – arugula and kale are my favorites.
  • Choose high-protein grain – quinoa, farro, wheat berries, wild rice (stick to 1 serving size)
  • Add favorite salad fixings – pepper, carrots, apples, oranges, etc.
  • Beans – always add a bean, they have amazing longevity benefits, favorites are chickpeas, lentils, and black beans.
  • Spreads & dressing – hummus and/or avocado, dressing of choice (sometimes I go without the dressing because I make it into a warm salad instead by sautéing the veggies and greens!)

 

Decadent Dinners

Dinnertime is my time to unwind and relax. My husband and I love to cook at home, it saves money and is easy to prep for the next day’s lunch. I do tend to crave a richer flavor at dinner compared to lunch so I decided to share some of the meals that would fall under a typical entrée menu.

 

Protein Packed Pasta

Protein Packed Pasta

  • Banza Pasta or other organic legume-based pasta - I love these, they taste the same as regular pasta to me and have a lot more protein so I can focus on just adding veggies and a yummy sauce.
  • Yellow squash and Zucchini – slice into thin circles and sauté with veggie broth and garlic until it becomes sauce-like.
  • Options – add diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to the sauce or a vegan pesto.

If you are an Alfredo fan you can use the Cashew Cheese sauce from my lasagna recipes in my cozy winter meals blog – it will add some extra protein and healthy fat 😊 – also try the lasagna recipe while you are there!

 

Tacos (duh!)

Tacos (duh!)

  • Walnut meat – pulse raw walnuts in your favorite taco seasoning in the food processor.
  • Sauté your favorite veggies – I like peppers and onions.
  • Add the walnut meat at the last minute sauté until just warm.
  • Fill your favorite tacos and top with avocado, cashew cheese sauce, and Tapatio!

 

Snack & Sweets

My snacks and sweets are typically fruit or nuts. They are the easiest for me to pack for lunches and filling enough to hold me over between meals. Now let’s talk about dessert…

 

Apple Donuts (totally stolen from Instagram)

  • Core apple and slice into a donut shape.
  • Spread nut butter onto each slice.
  • Drizzle chocolate and sprinkle granola on top.
  • YUM!!!!

Vegan Fudge

Vegan Fudge

  • Soak pitted dates in warm water for 20 minutes.
  • Drain and blend in a food processor with nut butter and cacao powder.
  • Spread mixture into a pan and freeze for 1 hour.
  • ENJOY!

In the cozy recipe blog I share a chocolate peppermint fudge for a festive flavor variation!

 

After Dinner Sip

Regardless of whether you choose to go vegan or not, I hope you find this article helpful and encouraging to make plants more of the star of your plate. Remember to start with a flavor idea, add veggies, and build from there!

 

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1 comment

Penny Hug

I am just starting out on a plant based diet. I was so excited seeing your article on Sunny Fit. Are their more recipes in your blog?

Thank you,
Penny