I thought I’d write a post about my diet since I know when I first started to seriously run I had no idea what to eat or how much I should be eating. And then, when I went vegan, I had to educate myself all over again on how to get the proper nutrition necessary to be a healthy runner. I don’t want people to read this and think they have to eat exactly like me– this should just serve as a guide or a way for fellow vegans or runners to get ideas on different meal or snack ideas.
I’m still working out some kinks, like trying to figure out what amount works best for me, or what the best products are for me, but for the most part I’ve gotten into a pretty solid rotation of meals. They change daily, but there are a few staple items that I eat most days of the week.
Some things I can’t live without include: bread, avocado, sweet potato, red chili flakes, almond butter, matcha, popcorn and fruit. One thing I’ve learned from cooking is that if you switch around the spices, you can repeat the same meal and have it taste completely different each time. I try to eat every 2 hours or so– not a full meal or anything, but I’ll have breakfast around 8 or 9, a snack two hours later, then lunch, then a snack around 2 or 3, then another snack around 4 or 5, then dinner, then a snack before bed. So, in all I eat around 7 times a day.
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp almond butter
handful of dried fruit (usually dates or dried cheries)
multiple shakes of cinnamon
Mid-morning Snack: Avocado toast and/or almonds
Avocado toast: 1 slice of bread with 1/6 of a hass avocado
Almonds: Small handful
Lunch: Veggie stir fry with rice or noodles
1 tsp oil (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, etc)
2 cups veggies (can be anything in the fridge– I usually stock mine with onion, broccoli, carrots, peas, corn, bell peppers, tomato, avocado, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, lemon, celery, sweet potato)
2 ounces protein (tempeh, tofu, beans, seitan, etc)
1 tbsp sauce (I usually do a spicy sauce of some kind– e.g. soy sauce or teriyaki sauce combined with sriracha, guchujang sauce, or simply rice vinegar)
1/2 cup rice or 2 ounces of pasta/Asian noodles
I also always, always have a piece of fruit after my lunch. It’s just a thing I do– it satisfies my inevitable craving for sweets after a savory meal, and I freaking love fruit, too.
My afternoon snacks usually vary. Sometimes I’ll have cereal (Cheerios, Barbara’s Puffins, Trader Joes O’s, etc) with soy milk/almond milk and a piece of fruit (like an apple or peach). Other times I’ll have wasabi peas, tortilla chips and salsa, toast with hummus, or even a baked sweet potato. It just depends on my mood, how hungry I am, and what I have in the pantry.
I also will usually have a smoothie or matcha latte. For the smoothie I’ll combine a serving of fruit, 1/2 cup soy milk, a sweetener of some sort (agave nectar, stevia, dates), some cinnamon or cocoa powder, and ice cubes. For the matcha latte I heat up some water, pour a little bit of it into a cup with matcha powder, mix it up until the powder is dissolved, then add in soy milk (warmed up in the microwave), and the rest of the hot water. It’s delicious!
Dinner: Some sort of cooked/raw veggie combination with a carb
My dinners vary depending on what I had for lunch, so it’s hard to say what I’ll have on a typical night of the week. I usually take a little more time to cook dinner than I do for lunch, so sometimes I’ll bake veggies in olive oil and spices and have them with rice, or I’ll do a stir fry if I didn’t have that for lunch, or if I’m feeling really lazy I’ll just make a massive salad with beans and rice. I also like to sautee veggies, then make an avocado cream sauce (1/2 avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, black pepper), mix the sauce in the pasta and add the cooked veggies on top.
1-2 cups veggies
Carb: rice, noodles, or sweet potato
Fat: 1-2 tsp, either used for cooking the vegetables or as a salad dressing
Protein: Tofu, tempeh, seitan, soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc.
Night-time Snack: Popcorn/Ice cream
This one’s easy. I almost always have popcorn after dinner. I also add chocolate to it, which adds an extra layer of deliciousness. After the popcorn is popped, I just throw in the chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand), shake the bag around so the chocolate gets distributed, and then the chocolate gets all melty and you’re left with the most delicious, mostly guilt-free dessert. Go on, try it. You won’t regret it.
If I don’t have popcorn I’ll have non-dairy ice cream (my favorite is the SoDelicious brand) with cereal, OR I’ll combine the ice cream and popcorn if I’m feeling extra ambitious. The combination of the smooth ice cream with crunchy popcorn makes for a satisfying snack!
The popcorn: Orville Redenbacher’s Kettle Corn Smartpop. Warning to vegans! Do not get the normal Orville Redenbacher Kettle Corn. It contains milk! Be sure to get the smartpop kind.
Ice cream: So Delicious Coconut or Cashew Milk ice cream (the coconut milk ones seem to be the most easily found in grocery stores). I recommend the matcha, cookie dough, dark chocolate truffle or mint chocolate chip flavors.
Sometimes if I’m still hungry before bed, I’ll have osenbei (Japanese rice cakes), another piece of fruit, or a piece of toast with jam, almond butter, or vegan butter.
All in all, I aim for 9 servings of grains, 3 cups of vegetables, 3 cups of fruit, 8 tsp of fat, 8 ounces of protein and 3 cups of dairy a day. On the low end I eat around 2,200 calories, and on the high end I end up with about 3,200 calories. My diet may not be *perfect* — sometimes I’ll eat more fats, sodium, or sugar than necessary– but I try to keep track of my nutrition and keep my empty calories to a minimum.