Most of you probably know that eating before a workout is important, but what you eat also makes a huge difference in your workouts and the results you get afterward. There are some especially awesome vegan foods that contain high doses of B vitamins for energy, iron for optimal blood flow, and magnesium for optimal muscle and nervous system function. Fill your plate with more of these vegan foods before your next workout, so you can train harder with more energy and recover more quickly after your workouts. What could be better than eating your way to a better workout, right?

1. Spinach


Source: Green Superfood Detox Smoothie

Spinach is one of the best sources of plant-based iron, B vitamins, protein, and magnesium. These nutrients help deliver energy to the muscles, prevent muscle breakdown, and deliver oxygen to the bloodstream for overall healthy blood flow. Spinach also contains roughly five grams of protein per cup, so it not only keeps your blood sugar steady, but can help improve lean muscle mass as well. Plus, it’s easy enough to add to a green smoothie before you head to the gym and you’ll never know it’s there – I promise!

2. Oatmeal

Blood Orange and Raspberry Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Source: Blood Orange and Raspberry Steel-Cut Oatmeal

There’s a reason many bodybuilders eat oatmeal pre-workout, but even if you’re not into pumping iron, oatmeal is one of the most frugal and energizing foods you can eat. Oats provide key B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Just be sure to use rolled or steel cut oats in your oatmeal, which are lower on the glycemic index and higher in soluble fiber than instant oats. Have some overnight oats before your next sweat session or even add some oats to a smoothie for a cookie-dough-like shake!

3. Vegan Protein Powder

hemp protein powder

Source: Africa Studio

I know many people don’t believe in consuming protein powders, but if you choose a good brand, they can actually make a huge difference in your workouts and your lean muscle mass. I like to choose brands that are gluten and sugar-free, but feel free to explore the different vegan protein powders that work for you. Protein powders are easy enough to stir into just about anything, and they help provide the body with amino acids that boost energy production and repair muscles more efficiently.

4. Coconut Butter

coconut butter

Source: Olga Larionova

Coconut butter, which contains all of the fiber and oil from the whole coconuts. Coconut’s MCT fats help deliver immediate energy to the cells via the liver and provide a bit of a mood boost too. Coconut butter can be added to any breakfast or drizzled on a salad at lunch if you work out in the afternoon. Or, you could make this Homemade Cacao Coconut Butter to get the best of cacao and coconut in one delicious treat!

5. Raisins

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Balls [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Source: No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Balls

Raisins are often overlooked when it comes to nutritious vegan foods, but these little pieces of dried fruit are energy bombs! Raisins are one of the best sources of iron and potassium, and their natural sugars help sustain you for hours on end while providing essential glucose for energy production. You can make homemade protein balls with raisins (or dates) to have before a workout or as a snack.

6. Cacao

Cacao Chocolate Caramel Cups

Source: Cacao Chocolate Caramel Cups

Nothing gives you an endorphin boost like a great run after you’ve had a bit of cacao right before! Cacao is highly energizing, offers magnesium and chromium to provide energy and blood sugar balance, and it also contains a large dose of iron to deliver oxygen to your cells more efficiently. Add a few nibs to your smoothie or oatmeal, or make this yummy chocolate chia pudding.

7. Chia

Energizing Chia Pudding

Source: Energizing Chia Pudding

Speaking of chia, you couldn’t ask for a better pre-workout food in just a tiny seed. Chia is well-known for being an incredibly energizing food so take advantage of it right before you workout! Chia contains iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, protein, omega 3 fats, and plenty of fiber to give you a workout boost and help you exercise longer. Best of all, the seeds are tasteless and can be added to just about anything. Try this Energizing Chia Pudding.

For a great pre-workout shake, combine all seven of these ingredients in your blender, then blend with some ice, almond milk, and maybe some of your other favorite superfoods, and you’ve got yourself one incredible vegan pre-workout meal! What are your favorite workout foods?

Recommendation: Download the Food Monster App

Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

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Lead image source: Energizing Chia Pudding