These 9 cookbooks for plant-based athletes make a perfect gift! Or pick one up for yourself to try some healthy & easy recipes.
Searching for a gift for the plant-based athlete in your life? Or maybe you’re a plant-based athlete and want more recipe inspiration? These cookbooks are geared towards athletes, and many of them only include vegetarian and vegan recipes.
You can’t go wrong with any of the picks on this list! But first, let me answer some questions to share a little bit about how I chose these books.
What is a plant-based athlete?
Although many people think the word “plant-based” means someone who only eats plants (i.e. vegan), many vegetarians and even meat eaters also consider themselves “plant-based”. The term does not have a true definition, so it’s generally accepted to mean anyone who eats predominantly plants.
[Read more: Should Athletes Try A Plant-Based Diet?]
Why these cookbooks are awesome
About half of the books on this list contain only vegetarian or vegan recipes. I also included some books that have meat-based recipes because they stand out for a few reasons:
- They contain only healthy whole foods and well-balanced recipes.
- The recipes are quick and easy to make. There are no elaborate ingredients or 2-hour cooking times.
- The recipes include a variety of seasonal ingredients, so you can pick and choose from the books all year-round.
- The recipes are ideal for performance. You don’t need to be a pro athlete to eat from an “athlete’s cookbook”.
This list of cookbooks contain affiliate links. If you purchase a book from one of these links, I will receive a small commission.
Author: Runner’s World, Edited By: Heather Mayer Irvine
The Runner’s World Vegetarian Cookbook is a combination of performance-boosting recipes to maximize performance with easy, delicious, and quick meals. This cookbook contains 150 recipes sourced primarily from Runner’s World magazine. The book includes two recipe indexes with visual keys at the start of each recipe, with V (for vegetarian), VE (for vegan), GF (for gluten-free), and more.
Every recipe has an easy-to-follow icon system to identify key recipe attributes (i.e., recovery friendly, low-calorie, quick and easy), along with a nutrition guide. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan runner, this is the book for you!
- Author: Anita Bean
For anyone who takes fitness seriously, the vegetarian recipes from UK-based nutritionist Anita Bean will fuel workouts and aid recovery. The book begins with a sports nutrition guide and then contains the traditional set of recipes, like breakfast, soup, salad, main meals and desserts.
The recipes are easy to make and are accompanied by beautiful photography.
The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts―and the Rest of Your Life
- Author: Matt Frazier, Stepfanie Romine
Based on the popular blog, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook shares 125 vegan recipes for all types of athletes, from ultramarathoners to weekend warriors. Besides the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, it also has homemade sports drinks and healthy sweet treats.
Throughout the book, there are oil-free options for every recipe, as well gluten-free and soy-free alternatives. The author is a well-seasoned athlete, so he serves up the healthiest and tastiest vegan recipes to fuel your sport.
Author: Anne-Marie Campbell
The Vegan Cookbook for Athletes features (you guessed it) vegan recipes for athletes. The book starts out with an introduction to plant-based macros, and it also includes 3 meal plans to help with athletic performance.
The 100+ vegan recipes are suited for new and seasoned athletes. There are meals that can be made in advance or on-the-go.
Author: Gabriel Miller
I’m asked all the time how to start out on a plant-based diet. Although this book isn’t for athletes, it lays the groundwork for a plant-based diet.
With info on the health benefits of plant-based eating, as well as a beginner cooking guide for plant-based ingredients, this book will help you get started. Not to mention that it has yummy dishes like Walnut Crunch Banana Bread, Savory Sweet Potato Casserole, and Oat Crunch Apple Crisp come with detailed instructions.
Other cookbooks for athletes (with meat)
Author: Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky
World-class marathoner and 4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky come together to show runners how to cook with healthy whole food ingredients. Neither author believes in restrictive diets or calorie counting, and each meal is well-balanced with fat, protein and carbs.
Each chapter is dedicated to satisfying different nutrition needs for runners, such as thirst quenchers, morning fuels, wholesome treats, runner’s remedies and an “Eat Like Shalane” meal plan. This book does contain some animal foods, but it’s mostly plant-based and deliciously healthy.
Author: Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan
A follow-up to Run Fast. Eat Slow, Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky are back with fast and easy recipes that don’t sacrifice flavor. Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. is full of pre-run snacks, post-run recovery breakfasts, on-the-go lunches, and 30-minutes-or-less dinner recipes.
Once again, the recipes showcase healthy whole food ingredients. And the authors include their individual experiences with the recipes. Again, there are some animal foods in the book, but it’s more plant-based than anything else.
The Athlete’s Cookbook: A Nutritional Program to Fuel the Body for Peak Performance and Rapid Recovery
Author: Brett Stewart
The Athlete’s Cookbook gives practical sports nutrition advice, including day-by-day meal plans and pre and post-workout nutrition guidelines. The recipes are laid out in the traditional sense–Breakfast, Appetizers, Entrees, Side Dishes, Snacks, Desserts, Beverages.
Author: Biju Thomas and Allen Lim
Chef Biju and Dr. Lim vetted countless meals with the world’s best endurance athletes in the most demanding test kitchens to create the recipes in this cookbook. In an attempt to move athletes away from bland food and processed energy snacks, Thomas and Lim worked together to create The Feed Zone Cookbook, which provides 150 delicious recipes that even the busiest athletes can prepare in less time than it takes to warm up for a workout.
The book also provides science-based nutrition info for fueling for a workout. The Feed Zone is geared towards more elite athletes, but everyday athletes will still find the recipes useful.