The Best Vegetarian Post-Workout Meals For A Fitter You
HurryTheFoodUp is reader-powered. If you click through using links on our site we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
If you take your health and fitness seriously, you probably know that post-workout meals are very important. As a vegetarian, you might be even more concerned with what to eat for your post-workout meals for optimum health.
How can you, as a vegetarian, supplement your training with good quality foods to fuel your body?
Firstly, what’s the big deal about your post-workout meal?
Stand by for the science-y bit: when you exercise, your body uses the glucose (a form of sugar, or carbohydrate) stored in your muscles, as glycogen, to fuel the workout. Strength training demands good nutrition for muscle recovery and growth. A sports drink isn’t going to cut it.
It is vital you replenish your body’s depleted reserves of glycogen soon after. Also, fueling up the right way after your workout is important to build muscle and accomplish your fitness goals.
This is why your post-workout nutrition is so important – your meal should contain enough protein AND carbs. Protein to help you muscle up and carbohydrates to top up your glycogen stores.
Without these two, your recovery will not be optimum, your energy stores might not get topped up and your future training sessions might suffer as a result of your inadequate nutrition.
On to our list of post-workout meals!
Remember: aim for a combination of high-quality protein and carbohydrates, calculated per kilogram of body weight. Stay away from fat-heavy dishes as lots of fat, especially after a rigorous training session, isn’t really helpful.
Bonus: healthy upgrade to your normal breakfast!
We’ve made eating your greens easy with these delicious green waffles (“green waffles? really?” he says like the boy in the Green Giant advert!). With 20g of protein and a good amount of healthy fats and carbs, these waffles make excellent post-workout meals.
Bonus: gluten-free and super easy to make!
High on the satiety factor, this is the breakfast that will keep you chugging along through the day. Just the dish to tuck into, if you are one of those that gets their workout sesh in at daybreak.
Bonus: beans on toast, with a twist!
Looking for healthy new toast recipes? Try our greens and beans on toast! White beans in a herby green sauce with feta! Chockful of healthy carbohydrates and ample protein to last you all morning.
Subscribe to get our FREE 7-Day Vegetarian High Protein Meal Plan for Weight Loss
Bonus: very filling, keeps you full for longer
A filling post-workout meal that leaves you plenty of calories for the rest of your day’s meals AND keeps you going for longer? Yes, please!
Bonus: prep the previous night, so it is ready to tuck into in the AM
This is a combination of foods that match very well together: Grapes + Walnuts + Yogurt + Cinnamon = excellent overnight oats!
Bonus: has enough nutrients to be classed as a health drink!
A cool and refreshing summer drink that is healthy too? Our pineapple and spinach smoothie with fresh mint is just delicious to sip right after your long run!
Bonus: gluten-free and plenty of protein
12 minutes from start to finish. Just three ingredients. Cottage cheese, eggs, and oats. And with a whopping 36 grams of protein!
Bonus: keeps you full for hours!
This spinach and chickpea bake is easy, delicious, and super healthy – a breakfast your body will thank you for!
Bonus: say no to mindless snacking, with this satiating breakfast
Try breakfast beans and eggs, for a hearty breakfast that will satisfy you until lunchtime, and quash the urge to snack!
Bonus: a new twist on an old fave that’s high in protein
Love pancakes, but looking for something new? Try our couscous kaiserschmarrn recipe – delicious shredded pancakes that are healthy and tasty!
Post-Workout Lunches & Dinners
Bonus: high fiber, high protein, real filling!
Looking for an easy tabbouleh recipe? Get a load of our lentil tabbouleh – a protein-packed take on the classic dish!
Bonus: works as a standalone, post-workout meal
Looking to up your salad game? Try this healthy egg salad recipe with quinoa and beets – the perfect weight loss lunch (find more veggie quinoa meals here!)!
Bonus: a fiesta for your tastebuds!
In this healthy burrito bowl, we’ve got quinoa, avocado, pineapple, tofu, and adobo sauce, for a sizzlingly tasty meal! Oodles of goodness in one bowl.
Bonus: full of beta carotene-y goodness
Looking for a tasty, healthy new way to use up some sweet potatoes? Try this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with red pesto! You are welcome 🙂
Bonus: perfect for midweek dinner
This time-saving traybake with sweet potato, broccoli, and quinoa is big on superfood nutrition, and even bigger on taste. Top up with some chia seeds for extra crunch (not to mention weight loss benefits of chia seeds!).
Bonus: keeps you going all day!
Time to get those biceps out!! This protein-packed baked potato is an absolute protein star – and awesomely tasty to boot! A great option if you are looking for a simple yet healthy meal.
Bonus: high protein, high fiber
Looking for a healthy vegetarian dinner? Try this simple oven-roasted broccoli with halloumi & lentils. You will nail your fitness goals, no problem!
Bonus: perfect on-the-go meal that’s healthy and yummy
Supercharge Your Lunch: High in protein, and fiber, and comes together in 5 minutes before you go to work. An easy, tasty and healthy meal you will go back to again and again!
Bonus: a light dish with a high amount of fiber and protein
Try this Mediterranean couscous bowl with yogurt dressing. It is the perfect post-workout meal, no matter the time of day, and gives you enough energy to tackle whatever the day has in store. we guarantee you will want to go back to it again and again!
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium leek
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 clove garlic
- 3 tsp paprika powder
- 3 small sprigs of rosemary
- 5 oz bell pepper, red (1 medium-small red bell pepper)
- 2 cup peas
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¾ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup couscous
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp mint, fresh
- 4 tbsp soy yogurt (or low fat Greek yogurt)
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 4 tbsp parsley, fresh (chopped)
- 1 lemon (or ½ per taste)
- Salt to taste
- ¼ tsp saffron threads (optional)
- Slice leeks, garlic. Dice red bell peppers and halve the tomatoes.1 medium leek, 2 clove garlic, 5 oz bell pepper, red, 10 cherry tomatoes
- In a large pan add the olive oil over high heat. Add the leek and capers and cook until they brown.1 ½ tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp capers
- Add garlic, paprika and saffron threads if using. Cook for 1 minute until the aroma from the paprika and saffron comes out.3 tsp paprika powder, ¼ tsp saffron threads
- Add fresh rosemary, red bell pepper, peas, and cook until the bell peppers soften and the peas are tender. Season with ¼ tsp pepper and ¾ tsp salt.3 small sprigs of rosemary, 2 cup peas, ¼ tsp black pepper, ¾ tsp salt
- Add couscous and vegetable broth. Once the liquid boils, mix and put a lid on and rest for 5-10 minutes, depending on your brand of couscous.⅔ cup couscous, 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
- Mix yogurt with mint, 2 tbsp water and ½ tsp of salt.2 tbsp mint, fresh, 4 tbsp soy yogurt, Salt to taste
- Use a fork to fluff couscous and add halved cherry tomatoes. Taste and add extra salt if necessary. Drizzle lemon juice to taste and chopped parsley. Serve with mint yogurt sauce.4 tbsp parsley, fresh, 1 lemon
Bonus: gluten-free, high fiber
This simple chickpea salad is the first step to eating better by building powerful eating habits with simple yet delicious ingredients. Way to set you up to crush your next session at the gym!
Bonus: tacos that are healthy, tasty, AND easy? Shut up!
These veggie lentil tacos are our new go-to meal. SO TASTY and stacked with lentil protein and fiber, it’s time to take your main meal to the next level. Topping up your body’s fuel stores has never been more fun!
Bonus: hulk out with these gorgeous pancakes
Leafy greens? Check! A good amount of fat and carbs? Check and check! These feta and spinach pancakes are quick and easy – and cover a whole range of important nutrition and health markers.
Bonus: serve with a side salad for a burger-in-a-bowl meal
These awesome high-protein vegetarian lentil patties can be used as lentil burgers or fritters, and even made vegan, too! The right high-protein meal to make you feel great!
Healthy Post Workout Snacks, Zero Junk
Bonus: quick snack, anyone?
Try this oriental-inspired smashed cucumber and edamame recipe, a quick high-protein snack to have at home or on the go!
Bonus: the perfect companion to veggie batons
This scrummy dip is the perfect thing to eat with crudites. The best and most wonderful snack your body needs after a bruising session at the gym! You will be hard-pressed to come up with another dish with this much protein!
Bonus: tasty, nutritious, and endlessly adaptable
This yogurt parfait is rich with fruits and nuts and is a deliciously quick way to ward off hunger pangs. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack!
Bonus: perfect in every bite!
More high-quality protein and flavor? Check. These flavourful soy sauce eggs with jammy yolks are beyond addictive!
Ask, and we shall answer!
What are good post-workout meals?
A smoothie that is full of good protein and carbs makes an excellent post-workout meal for a vegetarian. Try our Fresh and Minty Pineapple and Spinach Smoothie. Or a filling dish such as beans and eggs.
Or literally any of the other 25 in this list 🙂
What constitutes a good post-workout meal?
The best post-workout meal contains both proteins and carbohydrates in sufficient quantity. Just how much is ‘sufficient’ depends on your current body weight, fitness goals, and activity levels (and, for example, whether you are looking to lose weight, or trying to work out how to keep weight off).
Generally speaking, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is sufficient for the needs of the average couch potato, while athletes, powerlifters, etc need to aim for 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, minimum.
What are the macros of an ‘optimum’ post-workout meal?
The ‘optimum’ post-workout meal should contain at least 30g of carbohydrates, up to about 1.2g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. Likewise, at least 20g of protein but potentially up to 40g, depending on your body weight.
To be safe, let’s say at least 30g of carbs + 20g of protein.
The easiest way to remember is via this simple equation:
minimum protein intake for post-exercise meal = body weight in kg divided * 0.35
Eg. 70 kg person = 70 * 0.35 = at least 24g protein.
How long after your training session should you eat your post-workout meal?
Until recently, a strict window of 45 minutes after an intense training session was given as the ideal window to consume the post-workout meal. This usually took the form of a protein shake.
Whilst this is still true and an early source of protein is great for muscle recovery and muscle growth, recent research has shown that your post-workout nutrition in the hours following your workout is just as important – and you needn’t rush it in the 1-2 hours immediately after your training session.
For best results, it is important you need to continue to eat good protein foods during the hours, and even the day after your workout.
Can you build muscle as a vegetarian?
Vegetarians can build muscle just like our meat-eating friends do! You can read our brilliant article on how you can build muscle on a vegetarian diet (and check out Dave’s muscly biceps as proof!) where we have given tips on how you can build a successful vegetarian diet plan.
While it is true that, unlike animal products, most vegetarian protein sources are not considered a complete protein as they do not contain ALL the essential amino acids, the American Dietetic Association has stated that a well-balanced vegetarian diet containing the right nutrients can meet current recommendations for protein.
This is great news for all those vegetarian and vegan athletes looking for plant-based proteins to improve their exercise performance and muscle growth (any athletes reading might also want to check out our high calorie veggie meals)!
How can vegetarians get 100 g of protein a day?
Eggs are the top sources of protein for vegetarians, clocking in at 7g of protein per egg. A serving of our Healthy Egg Salad will give you 24g of protein. A bowl of our Mediterranean Couscous at lunch will give you another 24g of protein.
Some fruit with our yummicilous High Protein Yogurt Dip makes an excellent tea-time snack and will give you 28g for 200 g of dip. Round off your day with some lentil tacos for dinner, with a whopping 29g of protein!
That’s a grand total of 105g of protein! #result!
If you need a hand getting started, we have developed a weekly meal plan that is full of recipes containing lots of protein, at least 25g of protein per 600kcal!
Sign up and you will find hitting 100g of protein in a day will be a breeze!
I hope we have busted some myths about building muscle on a vegetarian diet and given you some great vegetarian post-workout meal ideas. Do give them a go and tell us your views and reviews in the comments section 🙂