Now that you’ve gone vegan, it’s clear that there is an endless list of foods and recipes that are ideal for plant-based athletes. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a protein-packed snack or are perusing vegan breakfast options, vegans have a perfect food for every occasion.
But what about those times in-between?
What food do you grab for a midnight snack or as a pre-workout boost before hitting the gym?
Those are the foods we’re going to explore today. The perfect vegan foods for those moments that fall somewhere in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Why Food You Eat at Different Times Matters
Have you ever wondered why certain foods are relegated to particular times per day? For example, if you’re having an omelet and pancakes, there’s a good chance it’s for breakfast, whereas a baked potato is typically relegated to dinner fare. It turns out, that the time you eat your foods actually matters. Plus, the needs of your daily life also determine the amount and types of foods that will be ideal for having the energy to meet your goals.
Consider the different types of food you’d have in these examples:
- Midnight snack vs Breakfast
- Date Night at Home vs Post-workout Meal
- Lunch at the Office vs Formal Dinner with Family
As you can see, the types of food you choose in those situations would vary greatly. The expectations of a midnight snack are significantly different than those of breakfast, and so on. Ultimately, knowing the optimal vegan food to have at the right time can keep you fueled with energy throughout your day.
Timing is Everything – The Right Vegan Foods for Every Occasion
From digestion requirements to your specific need for macros, there are a lot of reasons to care about which foods you’re consuming and when. These suggestions will get you started on the right track for situations like midnight snacks and pre-workout meals, and each includes a rationale explaining why those foods are ideal for that specific purpose.
Vegan Pre-workout Meal
In a pre-workout meal, you’re looking for the nutrients you’ll need to carry you through your workout. This includes substantial amounts of carbohydrates and protein. It’s also important to not overeat for a pre-workout meal because that could make you feel heavier and hinder your performance. Try these vegan meals to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients that let you hit your workout with all you’ve got.
Main Considerations of a Pre-workout Meal
- Caffeine helps performance and is left to your discretion
- Lots of carbs to provide the energy for your workout
- Protein to facilitate muscle growth during and after your workout
Examples of Vegan Pre-workout Power Foods
- Medjool dates
- Smoothies and protein shakes
- Fruit + nut butter
- Waffles with fresh fruit
- Oatmeal with seeds and fruit
Vegan Pre-workout Power Food Recipe: Vegan Avocado Toast
Vegan Midnight Snack
When most people grab a midnight snack, taste and cravings are typically the deciding factors. As vegans, there is still a responsibility to avoid sugary junk foods, at least if you care about health and fitness. The most important thing to remember for a midnight snack is that your body is going to be asleep and inactive afterward – that means you’ll be in weight gain mode, so loading up on carbs or junk food for your midnight snack is likely to add to your waistline.
Main Considerations of a Vegan Midnight Snack
- Remember that you’re not going to burn these calories since you’re sleeping afterward
- High carb or sugary foods will cause rapid weight gain at this time
Examples of Foods for a Healthy Vegan Midnight Snack
- Fruit salad
- Tahini or Hummus dip with carrots and celery
- Dried fruit
- Apples and Cinnamon
- Vegan muffins and cookies
Recipe for Vegan Midnight Snack: Bean-Kale Burgers with Sweet Potato Wedges
Vegan Date Night
Foods you choose on a date night are typically going to be fun options that you both enjoy. This will vary from couple to couple, but a variety of flavors and even an element of cooking are common parts of a date night. If you’re planning a date night with a significant other that is also vegan, consider kicking it off with a bottle of wine – but make sure it’s vegan wine!
Main Considerations for Vegan Date Night
- Should be fun foods that both people are into
- Alternatively could be a new recipe that you’ve never tried
Examples of Vegan Foods for Date Night
Recipe for Vegan Date Night: Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo
Vegan Family Dinner
Family dinners are known to be formal, with all members of the family sitting together around a table. Multiple course meals are a staple of family dinners, but so are entrees such as casseroles, quiches, and other meals that combine multiple foods into one dish. While the preferences of family members will play a major role in your perfect vegan feast, these suggestions might provide solid ideas.
Main Considerations for Vegan Family Dinner
- Include a variety of foods so everyone has something they like
- Protein should be emphasized for recovery
Examples of Vegan Foods for Vegan Family Dinner
- Vegan Stir Fry
- Kale, Black Bean, and Avocado Burrito Bowl
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers
- Bulger and Cashew Stuffed Eggplant
- Pizza Primavera
Recipe for Vegan Family Dinner: Carrot and Black Bean Crispy Tacos
Vegan Quick Work Lunch
While a lot of people choose to spend money eating out for lunch during their workday, those who are a bit more thrifty or picky about their food may opt to bring their own. For lunch at work, time is often a limiting factor. It’s important to choose foods that pack a lot of the nutrients you need so you have the energy to crush tasks at the office, job site, or wherever you spend your day. Consider these ideas for the optimal vegan work lunch.
Main Considerations with Vegan Work Lunch
- Convenience is important
- Time is typically limited, so a small, nutrient-packed meal is ideal
Example Foods for a Vegan Work Lunch
- Tofu Quiche
- Vegan Burrito Bowls
- Vegan Salads with Avocado
- Wraps with Veggie Burger
- Almond Tuna Salad
Recipe for Vegan Work Lunch: Ultimate 4-Layer Vegan Sandwich
Smart Vegans are Always Prepared
One of the worst situations as a new vegan is to end up with no options in the pantry or to feel like you have nothing to cook. By understanding that different foods are ideal in different circumstances, vegans can ensure that they’re making the choices that leave them healthy and full of the energy they need to conquer the day. Whether you need to prepare for a hot date night or a lunch that will get you through a tough shift at work, there is a perfect vegan food for every occasion.