This Whole Food, Plant Based Diet Plan For Runners is sponsored by No Cow
This one-day diet plan is intended as meal inspiration for you to build upon yourself. It’s a suggested food plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and fuel suggestions for a long run. If you’re already a seasoned plant based runner and here because your struggling to come up with plant based meal ideas, then check out the Forks Over Knives meal planner, plant based meal planning is what they do!
Jump to Our Plant Based Meal Suggestions
What is a Whole Food Plant Based Diet?
A whole food, plant based diet is an excellent platform for people wanting to explore the benefits of living a more mindful lifestyle, not only to improve their own health but also the welfare of animals and protection of the environment. As such, I believe it’s more than just a diet and should instead be seen as a lifestyle choice.
It’s important to note that a whole food, plant based diet does not require you to completely cut-out animal products, including dairy, eggs and even honey; that would be a Vegan diet. And for clarity, a Vegetarian diet includes foods such as dairy products and eggs but not animal meat or fish!
We both follow a plant based diet but on occasion have a bit of chicken and fish. We always check that the meat is organic, ethically sourced and that the animals have been treated well on the farm. Personally, I believe that if you do eat animal meat then it should only be as a treat on occasion and not a frequent part of your diet.
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A whole food, plant based diet means:
- Limiting consumption of animal products with an open mind to transitioning to a new lifestyle that avoids them completely.
- Eating whole foods that are minimally processed or preferably not at all.
- Focusing on eating primarily plants, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and seeds & nuts.
- Excluding refined foods like added sugars, white flour and processed oils.
- Preferring locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.
Food groups to eat from
- Fruits (e.g. bananas, blueberries, oranges, strawberries)
- Vegetables (e.g. broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce)
- Tubers & Starchy Vegetables (e.g. potatoes, corn, green peas, winter squash)
- Whole Grains (e.g. barley, millet, oats, quinoa, wheat berries, brown rice)
- Legumes (e.g. black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans)
- Seeds & Nuts (e.g. almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds)
Why It’s Important To Start Moving Towards A Plant Based Diet
Three key reasons for going meat-free
- Animal welfare
- Personal health
Our choice of food is a fundamental influencer of how we behave. In a runner’s context, it’s also important to reflect this in how we structure our nutrition plans for running and fitness activities, to ensure we are getting the right balance of nutrients and portions to fuel our runs, races, workouts and adventures.
A 1-day whole food, plant based diet plan
These meals are simple, don’t require too many ingredients and are fast to prepare. Let’s face it, if meal prep takes too long then you may struggle to stick with it, It’s totally worth it though, so please do! We have selected the meals from the Forks Over Knives Meal Planner service and tweaked them slightly to ensure they provide enough energy to power your running adventures.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, well it’s true. This should be the meal that sets up your day with the intention of keeping you full until your next meal and providing energy for your body and brain to perform.
If your breakfast doesn’t fill you up and you need to snack on something, try some organic almonds, dried berries or carrot sticks. They are super healthy, taste great and can be grazed on throughout the day!
Fruit & Nut Oatmeal – Ready in 15 mins
This is quick to prepare and can be easily adapted if your food tastes change. This basic recipe is all you need to get started … add as much or as little of the extras as you like.
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon/organic cacao powder
- ¼ cup fresh berries (optional)
- ½ ripe banana, sliced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or cashews (optional)
- 2 tablespoons dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, chopped apples, chopped
- Apricots (optional)
- Combine the oats and 1½ cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the water has been absorbed about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cinnamon/cacao powder. Top with the berries, banana, nuts, and/or dried fruit, as you like. Eat while it’s warm.
What To Eat During Your Run
We recently discovered a brand called No Cow, that produces 100% Vegan energy bars. This fits in perfectly with our plant based diet and sets us on course to further reduce our consumption of animal products. There are 4 different flavors to choose from, my personal favorite being the Coconut Almond but they all taste really nice.
I love that they have a high protein content of 12g in a 50g bar, low sugar content (1g) and provide extra energy with 45mg of caffeine (that’s the equivalent of 1/2 cup of coffee) and they’re non-dairy too!
No Cow Energy Bars also stash away into your pocket or race vest while running due to their small size and much to my delight the consistency is good too, not at all dry or crumbly, which is a fairly common problem among some other Vegan snacks. The reason that a dry snack can be bad for running is that you may struggle to eat it on the go, and will most likely need extra water to wash it down with.
No Cow Energy Bars give me all the energy required to fuel my outdoor adventures in the cleanest possible way, the Vegan way!
These reasons alone make the No Cow Energy Bars perfect for taking with you on a trail race, long training run or even an ultramarathon.
If you want to try fuelling your runs the Vegan/Plant Based way, I recommend you give No Cow a go!
Quinoa Curry Bowl – Ready in 15 mins
This quick and easy dish uses “stir-fry” frozen vegetables, along with fresh ginger and garlic. Frozen veg has come a long way, and they can be a healthy and delicious meal addition. Look for 100% vegetables without any added salt or oil.
- ¾ cup quinoa (dry)
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1½ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen “stir-fry blend” vegetables
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 to 5 medium cloves)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame paste)
- ½ avocado
- Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Stir the quinoa, onion, and ½ tsp curry powder together with 1½ cups of water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, place the frozen vegetables into a pot on medium-low heat, and cover to allow them to thaw and soften. Stir occasionally, adding a little water if needed. While the vegetables are warming, mince the garlic and ginger.
- When the vegetables have thawed and softened (5 to 10 minutes), increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 tsp curry powder, cooking 1 to 2 more minutes. Stir in the tahini, adding a little water as needed.
- Stir the quinoa into the vegetables and serve with chopped avocado and sesame seeds.
Tucson Spicy Lentil Tacos – Ready in 35 mins
Who doesn’t like tacos? They are easy to make, you can mix up the contents to taste and they only take around 30mins to prepare.
If you’ve had a busy day and don’t plan to spend the whole evening cooking then give this meal a try. Tacos are also great social food if you have guests over for dinner.
- 1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 large onions, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ jalapeño, diced
- One (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Tomatoes (chopped)
- Lettuce (shredded)
- Jicama, peeled and shredded
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Bring the lentils and 2½ cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils soften, around 20 minutes.
- Saute the onions, garlic, and jalapeños in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions start to turn brown and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time as needed, to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.
- Add the cooked lentils and taco seasoning to the saucepan. Mix well and add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 6 minutes.
- Drape each corn tortilla over two bars of a vertical oven rack so that the tortilla’s two opposing sides hang down, evenly, facing each other. Cook the tortillas until crisp, around 6 minutes, then remove the tortillas from the rack and admire your new taco shells.
- Spoon lentil mixture into the taco shells. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, jicama, and salsa. Note, if you’d prefer, use romaine lettuce leaves as a wrap instead of the taco shells.
Let me know how you get on with the meals and if you got adventurous by adding extra ingredients!