In triathlons there are really 4 disciplines- Swim, Bike, Run and NUTRITION! Nutrition is the most important of them all. Without proper fueling during training and especially during a 5+ hour race, performance will fail. I have been a Vegan for almost a year now. Making this decision was the best decision I have ever made for myself. Some may think it is extreme, but as I have transitioned over to the other side, I feel that eating meat and dairy is extreme! I made the decision not only for the animals and environment, but for my health, fitness and performance. I feel happier now that I do not eat animals or animal products. I feel healthier than I ever have. My times in triathlons have improved this year, and my recovery time has drastically decreased! I’d say this is a win-win situation for everyone!
Now the skeptics come in, asking questions like: Where do you get your protein? How do you get enough calories? Won’t the diet be boring and bland? How much will it cost? Hopefully, I will answer all these questions and more with one of the menu plans I put together.
I have 2500 calories per day with 60% of the calories coming from carbohydrates, 15% coming from protein and 25% coming from fat. This is tailored to my height, weight, activity level, and activity being mostly endurance. There are 3 meals a day and 3 small snacks. The snacks help to maintain blood sugar in between meals. There is minimal processed food; most comes from the whole food itself. There is no added oil in this plan. The total grocery bill for two people (me being on 2500 calories and my boyfriend Alex being on 3500 calories per day) was 180$ per week. That averages out to about $2.15 per meal (6 meals a day for 2 people, 7 days in the week). The total amount of calories needed to be consumed for the whole week between the both of us is 42,000 calories! I’d say that is a great deal. You cannot get food that cheap going to the fast food restaurant! It took about 1 hour to shop, and 2 hours to prep everything for the whole week. 3 hours total, not long at all. We prepared everything on Sunday night.
For breakfast I have a quinoa bowl with blackberries, sliced bananas, almond milk, a dash of SunWarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, and ground flax seed. (Alex’s is the same except an addition of walnuts and more quinoa)
For Lunch I have a a homemade chipotle bowl! Black beans, brown rice, tomatoes, corn, red peppers, scallions, avocado and salsa. (Alex has more rice)
For the second snack I have a glass of Tempt Chocolate Hempmilk. (Alex has almonds and a soy yogurt)
For dinner I have a kale salad with avocado, carrots, onions, tomatoes with a homemade veggie burger containing lentils, quinoa, oats and pumpkin puree. That is served on an Ezekiel Bread bun with red potatoes on the side. (Alex has added walnuts to the salad and an added potato)
For the last snack I have some mango and a scoop of the SunWarrior raw vegan protein powder in some water. (Alex has an apple, banana and the SunWarrior)
During training and practice, I eat about 200 calories per hour on the bike and about 100 calories per hour for the run. On the bike it is easier to digest so I eat real food like rice balls and baked sweet potatoes. I prefer to eat real food. However, during the run it is a little harder to digest, so I eat quick digesting foods like Clif gels or Hammer Nutrition gels. Remember that nutritional needs are specific to each athlete, so this might not necessarily work for you. It is important to not overdo the calories during exercise, because when you fill your stomach with to much nutrition, there is a greater chance of the gut shutting down. A shut down gut means a shut down race! Testing through trial and error during training is key for a successful race.
I do not give special diets, such as calorie counting and specific meal plans for weight loss (for various reasons), but I do give tailored meal plans for athletes. If you are interested in a tailored nutrition plan for your next race, please contact me at Colleen@NutritionTranslator.com