Plant-Based Nutrition | Why it's the Best for Athletes
At ATAQ, we dedicate ourselves to helping athletes of all levels and ages reach their health and fitness goals.
While exercise is a critical part of boosting your mental, emotional and physical health, we firmly believe that your diet plays an equally large role in helping you become the person and athlete you want to be.
This belief goes hand-in-hand with our passion for a plant-based diet, one of the fundamental principles of our company’s mission.
We think the plant-based diet can offer nutrition-boosting, performance-enhancing and life-improving benefits to practically every athlete, even those who might be skeptical about cutting back on meats and giving up guilty pleasure snacks and meals.
For more information about how a plant-based diet can help you stay healthy, feel better and accomplish your exercise goals, read on for our Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition for Athletes:
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
In simple terms, a plant-based diet is a meal plan built primarily on, you guessed it, plants.
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and Seeds
- Healthy Oils
However, the plant-based diet is NOT plant-only, as we will discuss below.
Plant-Based vs. Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
There are many misconceptions about the plant-based diet, and the best way to clear them up is by comparing and contrasting plant-based, vegetarian and vegan diets:
A vegetarian diet allows you to eat only plant foods, meaning you must avoid meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and any foods that are a byproduct of animal slaughter.
The vegan diet goes one step further, as it forbids you from eating and using animal products in any way, shape or form. So, in addition to removing meats, eggs, dairy products and more from their diet, vegans must also avoid products like leather, wool, certain kinds of soap or makeup and many other items that test on animals or use animal by-products.
Plant-based diets, on the other hand, are not solely dependent on plant foods -- hence the name “plant-based.”
In a typical, healthy plant-based diet, two-thirds of your plate will be occupied by plant foods, while the remaining one-third can be occupied by healthy meats (like poultry or fish) or dairy products (milk, cheese, butter).
This also means that plant-based diet adopters can still use animal products in their daily lives -- if they so choose.
Health Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition
Now that we know what makes a plant-based diet different from popular alternatives, let’s dive into the ways it can benefit you.
Regardless of your age or athletic experience, you can experience a multitude of potential benefits from a plant-based diet, including:
- Enhanced Cardiovascular Function: nutritious, plant-based diets can help you avoid added sugars, excess sodium and saturated/trans fats that clog your arteries and harm your heart
- Lowered Cholesterol: plants are cholesterol-free and high in soluble fiber, which naturally lowers your cholesterol levels
- Improved Nutrition: plant-based diets offer the nutritious essentials you need (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber) to give you lasting mental and physical energy
- Healthy Weight Loss: going plant-based helps you cut back on unhealthy, fattening foods and emphasizes healthier, nutritious options that help you maintain your ideal weight
- Stronger Microbiome: studies from the National Institute of Health (NIH) show that plant-based nutrition can foster a thriving ecosystem of beneficial bacteria that strengthens your gut (microbiome)
- Better Energy Levels: a healthy plant-based diet offers you the vital proteins, vitamins and minerals you need to properly fuel your body in and out of the gym
Plant-Based Meal Plan for Athletes
So, we know how plant-based nutrition can enhance your body and performance, but how can you incorporate it into your life in an easy, delicious and affordable way?
Well, the answer is more straightforward than you think, thanks to our team of nutrition experts at ATAQ.
We know how busy athletes can be, so we’ve developed a list of essential plant-based snacks, meals and supplements for before, during and after your workouts:
Before you hit the gym, you need to give your body the fuel it needs to strengthen itself without risking injury.
If you’re looking for a light, plant-based snack right before your workout, we recommend:
- ATAQ Raw Energy Bar
- Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana Slices
- Cup of Dried Fruit with Almonds or Walnuts
- Baked Sweet Potato
Once you’ve started your workout, a light snack or supplement can give you the extra boost you need to finish strong.
While there are numerous delicious, inexpensive and easy-to-transport plant-based options, here are a few of our favorites:
- ATAQ Plant-Based Energy + Focus Booster Shot
- ½ Cup of Dried Fruit
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Kale Chips
- ½ Cup of Your Favorite Nuts or Seeds
After you finish exercising, you need foods and supplements that provide protein to repair and rebuild your muscles to successfully and safely recover.
Some of our favorite options include:
- ATAQ Plant-Based Protein Powder
- Almond Butter and Jelly English Muffin
- White Bean Avocado Toast
- Stuffed Chickpea Omelet
ATAQ’s Plant-Based Supplements for Athletes
ATAQ has a variety of plant-based supplements that give you the healthy nutrients, vitamins and protein you need and the great taste you want without any of the unhealthy additives you don’t.
Derived from a unique mix of pumpkin seed, rice, pea, flaxseed and chia, our plant-based protein powders pack 25 grams of non-GMO protein per serving and match the amino acid profile of whey as closely as possible.
With delicious flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and matcha that are perfect for your protein shake, our powders can help stimulate muscle growth and aid recovery without the digestive issues that whey-protein powders can cause for people with lactose intolerance or sensitive stomachs.
Plus, if you’re looking for a great way to boost your protein intake with healthy, sustainable energy, we have a solution for that too.
Backed by the science of biochemistry, ATAQ’s plant-based Raw Energy bars are the ideal pre-workout snack and can fuel you throughout the day.
Infused with Actigin, a ginseng extract proven to boost the body’s energy production through ATP (which fuels cells) and aid energy storage in the muscles through glycogen, our bars offer a unique mix of flavor and performance that’s hard to beat.
With simple, plant-based ingredients, our bars help the body clear toxins (which stimulates recovery) and come in delicious flavors like: banana nut, blueberry coconut, chocolate walnut, mango almond and a variety pack (all the above).
For more information on ATAQ protein, healthy eating, exercise and more, check out our other posts!