Plant-based athletes don’t always have it that easy. For starters, they need to adopt a proper food diet that incorporates all the nutrients and minerals through which they’ll get their much-needed energy, and at the same time, they are always looking to add additional supplements to give them that edge.
The average plant-based athlete will have a daily diet of veggies, fruits, protein shakes, dairy substitutes such as nut milk and egg-substitutes and other foods that give them a boost of energy for all the physical activity they are engaging in, helps them build lean muscle, and to keep their immune and metabolic systems strong.
But like the rest of us, athletes need a day off every now and then and this comes in the form of a cheat day. A cheat day is simply an option for athletes to binge on their favorite foods, sweet or savory without the fear of unwanted carbs and calories, etc. But vegan athletes are not as spoilt for choice as those who consume everything. Read on as we look at some great options for cheat meals that athletes can add to their grocery list:
Cheat meals athletes can indulge in include:
- Vegetable Pizza: with vegan cheese, veggies, mushrooms and sauce. Options like cashew cheese and more melt in a similar way to regular cheese and can help you create the perfect pie: from a thin crust to an ooey gooey deep dish.
- Meatless Nuggets: you can find vegan nuggets at most large grocery stores – fry them up until they’re crispy and golden and pair them with your preferred choice of potato or sweet potato fries. Complete the snack with a side of your favorite vegan blue cheese sauce or vegan ranch.
- Vegan Whopper: if you’ve ever seen an advertisement for Burger King’s iconic whoppers, you’re probably already drooling at the idea of a char-grilled patty with some melted cheese, a toasted sesame bun and some veggies. The vegan whopper replaces the meat patty but maintains that same delicious taste you crave for.
- Vegan Mac & Cheese: an old favorite, mac & cheese, can be prepared with vegan options for all the best tasting cheeses like cheddar, blue cheese and more. Add a bread crumb crust on top and you’re in cheesy heaven.
If you don’t want to ruin your diet completely, you can even indulge in a small snack such as:
- Tortilla Chips: look for cheese and dairy-free flavors, serve some salsa and vegan dip on the side and you’re ready to kick back, relax and watch a movie or play your favorite video game.
- Oreos: yes, this beloved cookie is an American favorite and it just happens to be entirely vegan so load up your grocery cart with a tray of double-stuffed, minis, mint ones and the classics and get ready to twist, lick and dunk.
- Girl Scout’s Thin Mints: another American favorite, the thin mint is that perfect mint-choc combination and a great snack to invest in come Girl Scout season.
- Sour Patch Kids: gummy snacks are a favorite among children and adults and athletes are no exception.
- Swedish Fish: this is another gummy jelly option for those who want gummy candy but without the sourness of Sour Patch Kids.
- Popcorn: if it’s your day off and you’re relaxing with your favorite film, make sure to complete the mood with a bowl of popcorn with some jalapeno powder on top and a little extra salt because you deserve to treat yourself on your day off.
Take your cheat meal in a sweeter option with vegan desserts like:
- Granola: granola is the cheat dessert that you can enjoy in moderation nearly every day. It’s a bowl of delicious, sweet, crunchy items that make you feel good and they taste good.
- Vegan Ice Cream: ice cream made with milk substitutes or an oil emulsion is perfect if you’re trying to beat the heat. Add some Oreos into the mix, top it off with some chocolate and maybe even add some granola for your own, customized sundae.
- Ice Pops: ice pops are the perfect summer treat – these frozen slushies are tangy, sweet and sour all in one and are another great summer dessert. Find one in the store or get your hands on some frozen/fresh berries and make your own.
As an athlete, you spend most of your days eating right, working out, and making sure that your body is in perfect shape, inside and out. But sometimes you need to unwind and allow yourself to stop focusing on schedules and plans and just fill your grocery cart with your favorite goodies. Remind yourself not to feel guilty about it the next day!