Vegan Foods to Fuel Your Workout

Confusion abounds when it comes to deciding what to eat and drink ahead of a workout. But a number of bodybuilders, professional athletes, and fitness fans around the world are going meat-free and swearing by an entirely plant-based diet.

Before you exercise, you need to consume foods that will energize your body and invigorate it for the work you’re about to do. When choosing a pre-workout snack or meal, make sure that you’re taking in complex carbohydrates to sustain you for that extra set.

Here is our rundown of the vegan foods that will fuel your workout and help you get ripped, toned, and muscular without involving any cruelty to animals.

Fruit Smoothie                      

Make a smoothie using soy, hemp, pea, or rice protein powder. Good fruits to include are bananas, apples, oranges, and pineapples. Add water or non-dairy milk and ice and then blend!

Coconut Water

Unsweetened coconut water makes the perfect pre-workout thirst quencher to hydrate and replenish electrolytes and other nutrients.

A photo posted by Cocopure ( on Nov 23, 2016 at 3:00pm PST

Fruits With Nut Butter    

The carbohydrates in an apple or banana will provide you with a natural boost for your workout. Bananas are packed with potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps and replenishes the potassium you lose when you sweat. Add nut butter for healthy fats and protein to support long or intense sessions.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by HEALTHY VEGAN DESSERTS (@healthyvegandesserts) on Sep 9, 2019 at 2:39am PDT

Vegetables and Hummus

Slice raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery and enjoy dunking them in hummus for a healthy dose of protein and carbohydrates.

A photo posted by Haley (@50shadesofgreentoronto) on Feb 21, 2016 at 8:46pm PST

Wholegrain Toast

They don’t call it carbo-loading for no reason! An hour or two before you exercise, eat some toast spread with almond butter or avocado for additional nutrients and sustained energy.

A photo posted by Siobhan O’Brien (@superfoodsiobhan) on Nov 23, 2016 at 9:30am PST

Sweet Potato

Considered a superfood by many athletes, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Cut them into sticks and bake them for some healthy sweet-potato fries, or have a baked sweet potato with hummus and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder for extra health benefits. (Did you know that cinnamon may help lower your blood sugar?)

A photo posted by Marlies Hartmann (@m.hartphotography) on Oct 3, 2015 at 12:44am PDT

Dates and Nuts     

Dates are a great natural fuel source, especially for cardio and high-endurance workouts. They’re high in glucose, which is absorbed quickly, making them the perfect last-minute snack before exercise. Eat them fresh or dried and add a few nuts for a dose of healthy fats and minerals.                                        

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Maria (@maryles_plantry) on Jul 1, 2016 at 2:16am PDT


Spinach is a great source of protein, iron, and vitamins. These nutrients can help prevent muscle breakdown.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday Funday! I’ve had these phylo/film pastry sheets in my freezer for awhile so I figured I’d give something new a try! This my version of #spanakopita Inside these vegan treats are Spinach Dill Garlic Onion Cashew cream sauce . These were super easy to make but definitely time consuming. I think next time I’ll make them slightly bigger. . Now, I’m off to do some animal activism! Later ✌️? . . . #veganspanakopita #veganfood #spinachpie #veganspinachpie #vegangreekfood #homemade #rd2be #plantbased #veganos #veganrecipes #veganfood #food #veganappetizer #vegansnacks #veganfingerfood #veganpartyfood #greekfood #veganworldshare #crueltyfreefood #dairyfree #trysomethingnew #whatveganseat #spinach #foodie #veganfoodie #rvavegan #rva #detroitvegan #healthy

A post shared by ??Alexiss?? (@redhairringdelights) on May 19, 2019 at 5:53am PDT

Oats With Fruit, Nuts, or Chia Seeds

Many gym enthusiasts eat oats or oatmeal as a pre-session meal. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates—providing you with long-lasting energy to sustain your workout—and are rich in vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Add some fruit, a handful of nuts, or chia seeds.

A photo posted by jasmin | cologne | germany (@brausefee) on Aug 3, 2016 at 3:49am PDT


Coffee has been linked to increased performance at the gym. Its diuretic effect is minimal, and any potential for dehydration is counteracted by the water in the coffee itself. If you’re reaching for a drink 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, consider making a cup of coffee. You can keep it black or add soy or almond milk.

A photo posted by The Sweet Meadow (@thesweetmeadow) on Nov 23, 2016 at 4:11pm PST


Cacao is packed with magnesium and chromium to provide energy and blood-sugar balance. It also contains iron to deliver oxygen to your cells more efficiently. Add it to your smoothie or oatmeal for an extra kick.

A photo posted by La Golosona (@la_golosona) on Nov 23, 2016 at 5:51am PST

Don’t forget to stay hydrated after your workout. And remember: You don’t need animal flesh to gain muscle!

Watch boxing champion David Haye promote the knockout power of vegan meals:

Feeling inspired? Why not pledge to go vegan?

Written by PETA Asia intern Kristen Fay