32 Best Healthy Vegan Post-Workout Snacks High in Protein

by Alena
Apr 25, 2020
woman in white shirt holding a plate of homemade oat bars and starting to eat one of them
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Put down that chicken and Greek yogurt – here are some healthy vegan post-workout snacks that are high in protein, easy to make and oh-so-delicious!

If every vegan got a penny each time they were asked “where do you get your protein?”, we’d be running the world by now. Well, almost.

This huge misconception that protein is a food group made up of dairy products, meat, fish and eggs has been debunked numerous times – many experts, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agree that a sensible vegan diet can provide anyone, no matter their stage of life, with all the nutrients they need.

Amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, originate from plants, and we can just skip the “middle animal” by going straight to that source.

Contrary to popular belief, protein is ubiquitous in plant-based foods, and vegans rarely struggle to get enough in their diet.

Every whole, unrefined plant-based food contains some amount of protein, and on a sensible vegan diet that includes all of the 5 main food groups, it’s hard to miss the daily recommendations of protein.

Full Vegan Nutrition Guide + Downloads

How Much Protein Do You Need per Day?

Many people will be surprised to find out that they need less protein per day than they thought. Thanks to today’s protein hype, even those who only work out sporadically think they need to load up on protein like there’s no tomorrow.

The truth is that yes, protein is an essential nutrient – and everyone’s daily needs are slightly different. It comes down to variables like your gender and activity level or how well you can absorb it.

According to the Harvard Medical School, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

For the average person, this comes down to:

  • 46 g per day for women
  • 56 g per day for men

Bodybuilders and those trying to gain large amounts of muscle (on a vegan diet or not), should increase their daily protein intake to one gram of protein per 1lb body weight. When restricting calories to lose body fat, they may increase the amount to 1.5 grams per 1lb body weight.

Plant-Based Protein 101

What about Vegan Protein Powder?

If you’re struggling to eat whole food sources of plant-based protein in adequate amounts, you might want to opt for a vegan protein powder. 

To see whether or not you are getting enough protein simply by following a vegan diet rich in whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and veggies, you can track your food intake by using free tools like cronometer.com.

Although most of our content on this website is about a whole food plant-based diet, there are cases in which such a way of eating needs to be supplemented (and not just with vitamin B12).

When choosing which vegan protein powder to buy, go for one that’s either unsweetened or sweetened naturally with fruit and doesn’t have any added oil. 

Some plant-based protein powders are based on whole foods and have additional beneficial ingredients, such as barley grass, chlorella and some vitamin B12.

Vegan Muscle Building Tips

What to Eat Before Your Workout

What you eat before a workout might be just as important as what you eat after it. You want to load up on a lot of (healthy) carbohydrates for energy as well as some protein to support muscle growth.

Both of these will help your body perform at its peak. Make sure not to eat too close to working out (1-2 hours is ideal) and stay away from large portions, as this will make you feel sluggish rather than energized!

Choose easy-to-digest pre-workout snacks, such as:

  • Bananas – high in potassium, which supports nerve and muscle function. Easy-to-access energy and really convenient
  • Green smoothies – hydrating and energy-boosting with fast-burning carbohydrates from fruits and essential minerals thanks to the leafy greens
  • Oatmeal – helps store glycogen which improves stamina; the complex carbs digest more slowly, offering long-lasting energy throughout your workout
  • Fruity soy milkshake – good source of protein, great in combination with some whole food carbs from berries or mangoes
  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter and banana – carbs, protein and all the “yum” you could ask for!
  • Banana ice cream – blended frozen bananas, berries and soy milk; add some nut butter for a delicious twist!
  • Loaded potato – choose a white potato loaded with beans or a sweet potato with banana, berries and cinnamon

download our printable
vegan grocery list.

Vegan Grocery List Printable Sheets

What to Eat After a Workout as a Vegan

During your workout, the glycogen stores in your muscles get partially depleted – which is why we want to refill them with some tasty and healthy carbohydrates.

We also put a strain on our muscles, which get microscopic tears when we exercise before growing back even stronger! This is why we’re looking for a good protein source after a workout to assist with this process.

Making the right food choices after your workout is just as essential as what you eat before your workout. It can help your body to recover faster, increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle breakdown. 

Best Sources of Vegan Protein After a Workout

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout supports your body’s repair and rebuild mechanisms. The essential amino acids you consume will be the new building blocks for your tissue, so try to get some of the following plant-based protein sources soon after your workout:

  • Lentils and beans (e.g. black beans, lima beans, kidney beans)
  • Tempeh, tofu, edamame and soy products (soy milk, soy yogurt)
  • Seeds (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Whole grains (rice, oats, wholemeal bread, quinoa, barley)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews)

For easy and delicious plant-based recipes you can make after your workout, keep on reading.

Best Post-Workout Shakes or Drinks

Post-workout drinks can easily combine many of the factors that are important for proper recovery and healthy muscle growth. Ideally, they meet most of the following criteria:

  • Easy to digest
  • High in protein & carbs
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Replace lost electrolytes
  • Hydrate your body
  • Consumable within around 30 minutes of your workout

Our Favorite Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Top view of two smoothie glasses garnished with hemp seeds, standing on a table next to bowls of beans and strawberries
Go to the Full Recipe

Here’s a whole food plant-based no-protein-powder smoothie made with sweet fruit, good fats and protein from hemp seeds as well as white beans! Featuring lots of fiber and no “beany” taste whatsoever, this delicious post-workout drink can be modified to your liking by adding a handful of spinach or even frozen cauliflower to it.

We also found a few more wonderful post-workout shakes that we wanted to share!

Let’s move on to more vegan post-workout snacks that are easy, tasty and help you with recovery.

Vegan Post-Workout Snacks High in Protein

Our post-workout snacks should be high in protein and good carbs. Try to consume your next meal or snack about 30 minutes after finishing your session to contribute to a positive energy balance, which is needed to grow muscle and recover from your training.

In our everyday lives, our favorite vegan snacks are actually just leftovers from a day or two ago. This is why we’ve listed some recipes that look more like entire post-workout meals. However, if eaten in smaller portions, they are perfectly convenient high-protein snacks!

Easy Coconut Oat Bars

several baked vegan oat bars on a white table one of which is being taken away
Recipe by Nutriciously

Perfect for meal prep, this make-ahead vegan snack option helps you control blood sugar and regain energy. It can also be totally customized to your needs! Add chia and pumpkin seeds for some more plant-based protein and enjoy this sugar-free treat pre- or post-workout.

Rice Cakes with Nut Butter

Rice cakes are some of our favorite convenient store-bought snack options. Why? They’re just so easy to grab and transform into a really delicious and versatile snack! They don’t offer much taste from the get-go, but they can be dressed up however you want. Try some of your favorite nut or seed butter with banana, apple slices or berries! For a savory version, hummus and avocado taste fantastic.

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding

four small glass jars with coconut chia pudding that's topped with mango puree
Recipe by Choosing Chia

This coconut chia pudding is perfectly designed for meal prep! Using only 6 simple ingredients, this healthy and creamy snack is relatively high in protein and can be topped with anything you like. Mango puree is a delicious add-on, but any fruit you have on hand will work fine.

Vegan Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

Woman holding hands around dish with homemade vegan chocolate ice cream
Recipe by Nutriciously

You might be wondering how ice cream fits into this picture here — well, while this creamy chocolate goodness looks like an innocent and indulgent dessert, it’s actually high in protein and wholesome carbs, nutrient-dense and super nourishing! Made within 10 minutes at home, it features a surprising yet super common staple food from your pantry. Give it a try!

Soy Yogurt with Fruit or Muesli

Out of all the different dairy-free yogurt alternatives, soy-based yogurt is our favorite! Mega-high in protein, we love to eat it plain or over low-sugar muesli with some fresh fruit. Easy to prep and the best fuel for your post-workout bod!

Homemade Vegan Bean Burritos

Finished vegan bean burrito on plate next to limes and yogurt
Recipe by Nutriciously

These versatile bean burritos can be a great post-workout snack! Easy to prep ahead of time with grab-and-go convenience, one serving offers 25 grams of plant-based protein. You can use leafy greens instead of the tortilla for a lower carb version and add some tofu or tempeh for even more protein.

Edible Chickpea Cookie Dough

We bet we had you at “cookie dough.” Yup, there’s a healthy and nutritious way to indulge in this delectable goodness without the eggs, butter and refined sugar. High in protein thanks to the chickpeas (which you won’t be able to taste, of course!), peanut butter and oats, this is one of the most satisfying sweet snacks you could imagine.

No-Bake Superfood Energy Bars

plate with several homemade no bake energy bars for a vegan high-protein post-workout snack
Recipe by Running On Real Food

These easy homemade energy bars are high in nutrients and really easy to customize! Using almonds, seeds and dates for the sticky and tasty base, the individual components can be swapped for whatever you have on hand or fancy the most. Don’t forget to top with some melted chocolate for the perfect post-workout treat!

White Bean Avocado Toast

Do you love avocado toast but want to ramp up the plant-based protein? You can just smash some white beans, mix them with your creamy avocado, add a couple of spices and spread this goodness on some bread. We truly love this savory snack! By the way, the good old peanut butter toast is a decent post-workout snack, too.

Black Bean Balls & Zoodles

Closeup of zoodles with marinana and black bean meat balls with some zucchini noodles rolled round a fork
Recipe by Nutriciously

Let’s get some more beans for a quick post-workout snack! These healthy and easy black bean balls can be made days in advance and enjoyed on their own or with some low-carb zucchini noodles and marinara sauce!

Steamed Veggies with Cheesy Bean Sauce

Instead of stir-frying or sautéing your veggies, you can just throw a mixture of broccoli, carrots, bell peppers and sweet potato cubes into a steamer basket for around 10 minutes. Divide into food containers and blend up a quick high-protein bean cheese sauce to pour over your prepared veggies once you’re done with your next workout!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

a dozen high-protein vegan energy balls made with peanut butter on a white plate ready to be eaten as a post-workout snack
Recipe by Greedy Gourmet

Energy balls are the epitome of delicious and easy vegan snacks! The combination of different healthy ingredients are truly endless, but energy balls almost always feature some nuts, dried fruit, spices, sometimes oats for more satiety and a crumbly texture. We love this delicious take on energy balls!

Roasted Tofu with Black Beans

In our books, all things tofu are great for a vegan post-workout snack! The combination of flavorfully marinated roasted tofu with convenient canned beans and some greens on the side makes for a great savory and nutrient-dense protein snack. Try the recipe here!

Homemade Matcha Protein Bar

black surface with four homemade slices of high-protein vegan matcha power bars drizzled with chocolate
Recipe by Go Dairy-Free

Move over, store-bought vegan protein bars – here’s your healthier homemade counterpart. These bars are very easy to make and really delicious! With a raisin and roasted hazelnut crust and a creamy nut-matcha filling, these power bars are next-level post-workout goodness.

Gluten-Free Chickpea Crackers

It’s no secret that crackers with creamy hummus is a fantastic and easy plant-based snack – but how about some protein-on-protein action? These homemade chickpea crackers are perfectly salty, crunchy and naturally gluten-free. Only a few staple foods needed!

Stuffed Vegan Chickpea Omelet

black plate on a table with a folded vegan chickpea omelette in which a fork is being pierced
Recipe by Nutriciously

One of the most popular non-vegan post-workout foods is eggs. This veganized version of a fluffy protein-rich omelet is made with healthy chickpea flour and stuffed with colorful vegetables! A great lower-calorie savory snack.

High-Protein Chocolate Mousse

You won’t find a way to make silken tofu taste better than this high-protein chocolate mousse! Made with healthy vegan ingredients, this 5-minute recipe is a deliciously creamy dessert or post-workout snack that can be enjoyed at home or anywhere else.

Mediterranean Meal Prep Bowls

four glass food containers filled with quinoa, chickpeas, olives, tomatoes, onion, cucumber and hummus
Recipe by Salt and Lavender

Do you love meal prep as much as we do? These colorful and flavorful Mediterranean bowls include lots of healthy, fresh ingredients and offer plant-based protein, complex carbs as well as healthy fats. Ready in under half an hour and perfect to take with you on the go!

Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry

Speaking of meal prep, this savory post-workout snack can easily be made in large batches! Just use whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand, add some tofu or tempeh and sauté everything in a pan until crispy.

Almond Butter Stuffed Dates

seven dried dates stuffed with peanut butter and topped with chocolate on a white table
Recipe by Choosing Chia

This 4-ingredient nutrient-rich snack takes less than 10 minutes to make. Refined sugar-free, stuffed dates are a wholesome source of carbs, fats and plant-based protein to both fuel you after a workout and keep you full! This recipe features almond butter, but you can use any nut or seed butter as well as whole nuts if you like.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

If up until now you haven’t been the biggest fan of chickpeas, try roasting them with some spices! This crunchy treat is a really healthy post-workout snack loaded with fiber, zinc and folate. Give them a try and see whether you dig their nutty flavor when roasted!

Mini Apple Peanut Butter Pizzas

wooden table with a jar of peanut butter and a chopping board with apple slices that are being spread with peanut butter
Recipe by Veggie Desserts

Granted, we could have just written “dip apple slices into some peanut butter,” but this is way more fun! Treat your sliced apple like little pizzas, which you can top with fresh fruit like banana or berries, mixed nuts and seeds or granola.

Oven-Baked Chickpea Fries

Vegan, gluten-free and packed with protein. Yes, you can enjoy really healthy and nutritious fries after a workout! Only a few accessible staple foods are needed to make this fiber-rich and low-fat vegan snack. Don’t forget your favorite dip to go along with them!

Hearty Bean & Veggie Chili

Woman with cozy white sweater squeezing lemon over bowl of rice and chili
Recipe by Nutriciously

Hello, leftover chili from last night! This flavorful veggie-rich bean chili is loaded with plant-based protein and tastes even better the next day. Take with you in a food container and either enjoy a small portion as a snack or a larger portion for a high-protein post-workout meal.

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes

Doubling as a breakfast or snack, these fluffy pancakes are naturally gluten-free and sugar-free (sweetened only with whole fruit). Just blend up all of the ingredients, then cook each pancake for a few minutes. Top with nut butter or soy yogurt for even more protein!

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Cashews

small glass filled with spicy roasted cashews on a cutting board
Recipe by Watch Learn Eat

Sure, you can just get some roasted nuts or trail mix at the store – but how about making a super healthy sugar and oil-free version in just 15 minutes in your own kitchen? These sweet and spicy cashews are great for snacking at home or on the go. You can also use almonds or pecans instead of cashews!

Asian Edamame Quinoa Salad

Do you love Asian recipes as much as we do? This salad has a high-protein twist, using quinoa instead of the traditional white rice. Along with the snow peas, you can also add edamame, peanuts, shredded broccoli and orange tofu! Perfect for meal prep and as a light snack or meal.

Marinated Tofu Musubi

eight little Asian roll ups consisting of white rice, marinated tofu and seaweed on a dark table
Recipe by Proportional Plate

This delicious Asian goodness definitely makes for a very different post-workout snack! The little savory bites are perfect for meal prep, offering protein from the marinated tofu, complex carbs from the rice and some iodine from the seaweed.

Smashed Chickpea Wraps

Another protein-packed vegan wrap that’s very flavorful and easy to take on the road! Using canned chickpeas, celery and pecans for a rich filling, this wrap is finished with a luscious cashew-based dressing. Play around with different veggies and spices to find your favorite combination!

Pumpkin Seed Protein Cookies

mason jar filled with healthy protein-rich superfood pumpkin cookies, one of which is being taken out by a hand
Recipe by Veeg

These delicious and really nutritious grab-and-go bites are chewy, crunchy, slightly sweet and a little spicy! Offering healthy carbs from whole fruit, they are packed with plant-based protein such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and rolled oats.

Hummus With Veggies or Bread

When thinking of a post-workout snack, you cannot go wrong with hummus! We recently wrote an article with over 50 ideas for what to eat with hummus, but how about keeping things simple for now with a classic hummus sandwich?

Easy Vegan Protein Muffins

close up of one vegan protein muffin topped with chocolate chips which can be eaten as a post-workout snack
Recipe by Vegan Huggs

The perfect sweet portable post-workout snack! We love these easy and delicious vegan protein muffins made with dairy-free yogurt and rolled oats. Add your favorite toppings, such as berries, nuts, seeds, granola or chocolate chips! 

We hope you found some great ideas for your next vegan post-workout protein snacks! Let us know in the comments below if you tried any of the recipes and feel free to Pin this article here.

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist (CPD) who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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2 thoughts on “32 Best Healthy Vegan Post-Workout Snacks High in Protein”

  1. I love red lentils. They are…
    – high in proteins and B-Vitamins
    – cheap
    – dont need much time to prepare (ready in 5 minutes!)
    – better to digest than other legumes
    and tastes jummy with curry, ginger, herbs etc. !

    Reply
    • Hi Alina,

      thanks for your comment and thanks for the reminder! We love lentils too and use them several times a week. Apart from curries and stews we sometimes make patties out of them. :)

      Have a great day,

      Lars

      Reply

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