Many vegan bodybuilders are concerned about getting enough protein to build muscle. It can be hard to get your daily recommended amount of protein without the help of animal products, but it’s not impossible.
The recommended amount for vegan bodybuilders is around 0.36 grams per pound or about 54 grams on average each day to maintain muscle mass without the help of animal products. Still, it’s not impossible if you know where to find your nutrients.
A vegan diet is much lower in calories when compared to traditional dairy milk due to the reduced intake of complex carbohydrates found in meats.
Plant-Based Protein-Rich Foods For Vegan Diet
If you are on a plant-based vegan diet, you should include a variety of vegetables and fruits. Not only are these healthy sources of vitamins, but they also have protein content in them. A combination made from below mentioned protein sources can increase the nutritional value of your meals.
List of plant-based protein-rich foods:
Artichokes are a good source of protein for those following a plant-based diet. A cup of artichokes has about three grams of protein, more than the average serving size for meat or eggs.
Carrots contain a decent amount of protein. One cup of carrots has about 1.2 grams of protein (1), which is more than what most meat contains.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach are also a great way to get extra plant-based protein into your diet. A cup or serving size of spinach can have anywhere from three and five grams of protein, depending on the type you’re eating (2). Spinach is an excellent source of protein for those on a vegan diet.
Like broccoli, peas contain plenty of healthy nutrients that help with bodybuilding for those following a vegan lifestyle. The average one-cup serving size provides four grams of protein, while other sources provide between six and nine grams per 100-gram portion (3).
Cauliflower is a vegetable that is high in protein content, which can help you build muscle mass. It contains around 2-6 grams of protein per one-cup serving size (4).
Similar to spinach and peas, broccoli also has plenty of vitamins and nutrients for those looking to get some plant-based proteins into their diet. The average portion will provide anywhere from four to five grams of protein (5).
Recently becoming a popular food choice among vegan bodybuilders, tempeh comprises soybeans fermented with Rhizopus oligosporus. A 100-gram serving provides about 18 grams of protein (6). That’s more than what chicken breast delivers (about 27g)! Protein-rich foods like this are perfect.
Kale is a protein-rich food that contains more than twice the amount of protein as other leafy vegetables and even more in its leaves than its stem.
A complete source of plant-based protein, quinoa also has an impressive amino acid profile with nine essential fatty acids that are great for vegan bodybuilders. A 100-gram serving provides about 8 grams of protein (7).
Whether you go for almonds, walnuts, pistachios or cashews, nuts are a great source of protein that tastes good and is easy to eat on the go. A 100-gram serving will provide about 30 grams of protein while also packing in other nutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin E (8). They also contain a decent amount of healthy fats.
11. Chia Seeds
A powerhouse food for vegans, chia seeds can be eaten with water or added to smoothies and other foods to increase your protein intake without using meat as the only source. A one-ounce serving provides about four grams of protein, so it is easy to add them (9).
If you are on a vegan diet, tofu is often one of the best sources of protein. It has a mild flavour and soaks up whatever flavours you add, making it easy to incorporate into dishes like stir-fry or even casseroles. A half-cup provides about eight grams of protein but can vary depending on how they are prepared (10).
13. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes, such as black beans or lentils, are another easy protein source for vegans. Black beans can be tossed into salads to increase their nutritional value without adding any meat. Lentils have a unique texture that makes them perfect in the soup if you want to add more nutrients but doesn’t feel like stirring up something.
14. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great option for those on a vegan diet. Peanut butter is high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats, providing plenty of energy to power through your day. Spread some onto celery sticks or banana slices as an easy snack with added benefits. Peanut butter has 25 grams of protein per 100 grams (11).
15. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a great source of vegan protein. It can be cooked and then added to other dishes like curry without having too much flavour to change the taste (12).
16. Hemp Seeds
Hemp Seeds are a popular vegan protein source and are rich in protein. They are high in healthy fats and plant-based proteins, which is why they’re a favourite among those on a vegan diet.
One of the favourites among bodybuilders who are on a vegan diet. Almonds are rich in protein and healthy fats. They’re a great snack option that can be added to salads or even iced coffee. The amount of protein per 100 grams of almonds is about 21.2 grams (13)
18. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds provide good sources of vegan proteins for those who follow the diet restrictions. Almond milk is also recommended for vegans because it has more than just almond extract flavour – there are many other benefits, including fewer calories than traditional dairy milk (14).
19. Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids are essential for bodybuilding because they provide energy and help with muscle recovery. A vegan’s diet should include essential amino acids by including legumes like soybeans, lentils, chickpeas – all of which are protein-rich foods for vegans.
20. Calorie Intake
With a reduced calorie intake compared to meat-based diets, you can lose more weight while on the vegan diet because it doesn’t contain any animal fats or proteins that increase caloric content.
21. Protein Powders
Bodybuilders on a vegan diet can also include protein powders as a supplement, which can help with muscle recovery and growth. Protein powders are a good option to increase your protein intake no matter what diet you are on.
Protein-rich supplements like ProMix Protein Puffs is one of the best sources of protein intake. One serving of ProMix Protein Puffs contains 10 grams of protein, 50 calories and zero sugar.
When it comes to nutrition and fitness, what you eat might not be the same as what someone else eats. Everyone is different. You can get enough protein without eating meat by eating more beans, lentils, nuts, and soy products.
If you know about the food, you can eat what you need for your diet. You can reach the right amount of what you need by doing research.
Mikael is a health nutrition expert and loves mountain biking. Mikael started his health product research journey about 6 years ago and still loves doing it. Apart from spending time on his study, research & literature, he plays basketball regularly and is a fitness freak. Follow me on Linkedin