When I was a kid, I always swore that when I grew up my days would be filled with snack time and recess.
Twenty years later, though I still won’t admit to being a grown-up, I will say I’ve managed to make my childhood dream come true: life as a triathlete provides me with plenty of time playing in the water, riding my bike, or running around.
And the best part? The active lifestyle is one which definitely favors lots of snacking.
Workouts lead to busy days, and snacks are a natural fit to fill the gaps between meals. If you’re heading to the pool after work, for example, dinner afterwards can seem like a long way off if your stomach hasn’t been filled since lunch. And as athletes, of course, we need more calories and nutrients than the average person does, so snacks allow us to fulfill those needs without taking too much time to prepare or eat.
But if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you know how hard it can be to find a variety of snacks — questions about snacking are posted at least weekly on the NMA Facebook page. So many lament on the uninspired options available for vegetarians and vegans … sure, there are days when we’re cool with baby carrots and pretzels, but we can only take so much. When we come in from recess, dammit, we want some tasty treats!
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Though the snacks served by machines may be convenient, the veg options are often lacking in the nutrients you need. They’re also not the best sources of energy required for your workout. Prep some of these ahead of time (Sunday afternoon is a great time to do this!), and keep them on hand for noshing:
4. Baba ganoush
5. Veggies with green herb & yogurt dip
7. Popcorn or kettle corn
10. Homemade granola
12. Miniature soft pretzels with peanut butter or mustard
14. Fresh fruit and vegetable juice blends
15. Raw frozen banana truffles
16. Cashew hemp bars (like homemade Larabars)
And if you don’t have time to make your snacks yourself, here are a few ready-made snacks that get the NMA thumbs-up:
17. Food Should Taste Good chips (especially the sweet potato!)
18. Bearded Bros. raw energy bars
19. Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free and vegan crackers
20. Health Warrior chia energy bars
21. We Can’t Say It’s Cheese spreads and dips
24. Unique sprouted-grain pretzel splits
Be ready in a pinch
Far be it from me to criticize people who would rather watch football on a Sunday afternoon than cook a bunch of snacks for the week. I’m right there on the couch with ya.
However, if you don’t take the time to stock your pantry and fridge with healthy options, you’ll be buying a questionable-looking bag of god-knows-what at the convenience store … or, worse, spending ten dollars for a banana at Starbucks. And keep a snack stash in your car and your office for emergencies. (Yes, hunger is always an emergency in my book. Isn’t it in everyone’s?)
Do you have a favorite snack that I left out? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to include a link to a favorite vegetarian or vegan snack recipe on your own blog.
Susan Lacke is the Resident Triathlete at No Meat Athlete, and the resident cupcake eater at her house. She also writes a weekly humor column, called Out There, for Competitor Online.