Can I build muscle as a vegetarian? Vegetarians build muscle the same way as non-vegetarians do. Certainly, vegetarian protein sources are different from non-vegetarians. Which vegetarian foods are high in protein? In addition, I’ve listed some high protein vegetarian diet meals in this blog and you can follow them whether you want to build muscle or lose fat.
Are there any vegetarian bodybuilders? Yes. There is an increasing number of vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders these days, even studies have shown that a plant-based diet can give you better results than an animal-based diet.
Non-vegetarian or vegetarian it doesn’t matter from where your nutrients are coming from if you’re taking enough protein, fats and carbohydrates from vegetarian food then you’ll build muscle same as non-vegetarians do!
Being a vegetarian bodybuilder is a difficult job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build muscle as a vegetarian. You can build an insane amount of muscle on a vegetarian diet it’s just that you will have to be a little smarter.
Being a vegetarian you have to be smart with your food choices. In order to get all the 20 amino acids, you have to combine different food items. For example, legumes+grains, legumes+seeds, legumes+nuts, grains+dairy.
Non-vegetarians have a lot of options to get high lean protein from their foods but vegetarians do not have much choice. Thus, adding whey protein to your diet becomes very essential as a vegetarian who wants to build muscle.
What’s in it for you:
I’ll show you how to combine different meals and foods and form your bodybuilding diet as a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian 8 months ago and I also follow this exact same diet. You can follow the same diet just by increasing or decreasing the quantity of food according to your goals.
- Breakfast: Oats and Whey protein
- Afternoon snack: Peanut butter sandwich and Fruits
- Lunch: Rajma, Paneer, Rice & Salad
- Pre Workout Meal: Sweet potatoes and Curd
- Post Workout Meal: Protein shake
- Dinner: Protein Vegetarian pulao
- Bedtime meal: Greek yoghurt and Multivitamins
Breakfast: Oats and Whey protein
After waking up I am usually not that hungry but I do feel dehydrated because my body hasn’t got any water for 8 long hours. So the first thing I do is drink as much water as I can.
After having my water I go out for a walk and that is the 20minute cardio of my day. When I come back home I look at my diet plan and I start preparing for it.
I go grocery shopping every weekend so I buy all the items that can last a week on the weekend for the rest of the week. If some items cannot last for a week I buy them every Wednesday and Sunday.
In the morning I’ll prepare my breakfast, morning snack and lunch in advance so that I do not eat any other crap and preparing my meals in advance saves me a lot of time and I’m stress-free for the rest of the day.
You do not need any special cooking skills to make your delicious vegetarian diet, and even if you need some, they are pretty easy to learn. Hence, I’ll teach you how to cook a delicious and healthy diet.
For breakfast, I have some oats. I like to eat my oats with milk, nuts and some seeds. They are absolutely delicious and super healthy. I’ll show you how I make them.
60g of plain oats, 350ml of milk, 10 almonds, 10 cashew nuts, 1 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds, a pinch of cinnamon, 2 tbsp honey and 1 scoop whey protein.
Take a pan and put the plain oats in it now add the milk and let them boil. After they are boiled the oats increase their size and get bigger. Now add honey, whey protein and cinnamon to it and mix well, sprinkle the almonds, cashew nuts and the seeds on your oats. Mix everything properly and eat.
This recipe of oats is super delicious and a high vegetarian protein source.
I have a sweet tooth so these oats with honey do a great job for me. This meal is also high in protein and has 50g of protein in it.
It is not compulsory to add whey protein in the oats and you can have a protein shake separately as well. But the protein shake separately makes the meal quite heavy and I do not like a very heavy breakfast.
Macros for this meal: P=50 C=62 F=23 Fibre=11
Afternoon snack: Peanut butter sandwich and Fruits
After having my breakfast I leave for college and have my next meal when I have a break from my lectures.
I have a break at 11:30 after attending 2 lectures. I don’t feel that hungry as such but I do feel less hydrated and I want a boost in energy.
Drinking so much water is just boring. Fruits are very rich in water and vitamins. To stay hydrated and energetic you should add fruits to your vegetarian diet as well.
Vitamins are very essential for your body and they help in digesting your food. Fruits like banana and papaya are great for digestion too because they have enzymes which are very good for our digestive system.
Sometimes I’m in a hurry so I just take 1 banana and an apple but most of the time I prepare a fruit salad consisting of banana, apple, papaya and any 2 seasonal fruits.
Along with this, I have a peanut butter sandwich for my protein and fat intake.
I take 2 slices of multi-grain bread, 2 tbsp peanut butter (unsweetened) and half a banana.
Apply the butter on the bread, chop the banana and spread it all over. You can either grill it or have it raw but grilling the sandwich will make it more delicious and better to eat.
Macros for this meal: P=17 C=31 F=16 Fibre=6
Lunch: Rajma, Paneer, Rice & Salad
The snacks make me kind of full and are enough to drive me for another 2-3 hours. At 2:30 I have the second break from my lectures.
I eat a heavy meal with lots of carbs to get me going through the day and also I have to lift heavy in the evening so I need those carbs to fuel my lifting.
For lunch, I have rajma rice, with some paneer sabzi and salad. This meal is pretty heavy and makes me full.
I prepare my low fat paneer at home. It is free from all the preservatives and chemicals and is also very low in fat. I’ll show you how to make low-fat paneer at home. Low-fat paneer is a very important component in your vegetarian diet!
Take about 1L skimmed milk in a container add half a tbsp of lemon juice in it and boil it until you see water separating. Boil it 2-3 times and then drain the water. Paneer will get separated from this mixture, keep the paneer wrapped in some cloth for a few minutes so that extra water is soaked into the cloth. Your paneer is ready.
I generally ask my mum to prepare this meal for me although I make the paneer. You should know how to cook your meals, however!
The drawback of vegetarian protein sources is that they do not contain lean protein. The food items that have protein also have high amounts of carbs or fats in them so you have to smartly combine food items so that your macros are balanced.
Macros for this meal: P=28 C=52 F=10 Fibre=7
Preworkout meal: Sweet potatoes and Curd
I lift heavy so I have to be high on my carbs and to be honest I love carbs. I feel energetic throughout the day and I cannot avoid carbs and follow a keto diet.
Keto diets are good but in my opinion, they are not sustainable. It is very difficult for us Indians to follow a keto diet because we are used to having carbs and keto diets have very low carbs lower than 30g carbs per day which is absolutely ridiculous for someone like me.
A keto vegetarian diet especially is a very difficult task! In brief being a vegetarian you are already limited to protein sources and if you follow a keto diet the vegetarian protein sources get further limited.
You should follow a diet that you can sustain and a nice balanced diet is the best option.
For my pre-workout meal, I eat sweet potatoes. I boil my sweet potatoes, sprinkle some black-salt over it along with some lemon juice. I just love sweet potatoes, I consume 1 Katori of boiled sweet potato for my pre-workout meal.
You could also add 1 Katori curd in addition to the sweet potatoes. Curd is really good for your gut and it has protein too!
Macros for this meal: P=7 C=26 F=7 Fibre=2
Postworkout meal: Protein shake
After you’ve done your workout your muscles are crying, they need protein as soon as possible.
They’re starving because you have caused damage to them. In the gym, you break your muscles and in the kitchen, you build them stronger and bigger.
Nutrition after your workout is very essential and you must take a good amount of vegetarian protein sources after your workout. Your protein shake will provide you with 20-25g of protein depending on which Whey protein you consume.
After your workout, you are also low on energy and whatever you give your body it will absorb it very fast. So you can also have a slice of white bread to give that instant energy.
One thing you must remember is that consuming sugary food just after your workout will result in the storing of fat. You are more likely to store fat than gain muscle if you have sugary drinks after a workout.
Macros for this meal: P=25 C=1 F=1 Fibre=0
Dinner: Protein Vegetarian pulao
The post-workout meal is just not enough to fuel your muscles after the workout. You need more nutrition.
You should not have too many carbs at dinner. Will carbs make me fat? No, carbs do not make you fat. Carbs are just a source of energy for our body and we do not need any energy while sleeping so we should not take too many carbs.
For my dinner, I have a dish that is made in almost every house, pulao or protein pulao as I call them. My mother usually prepares this meal for me with some rice, low-fat paneer and soybean chunks.
Soybean? Will I get manboobs if I eat soybean? No, adding less than 100g of soybean a day to your vegetarian diet plan won’t give you manboobs.
If you eat too much soybean daily then only you will get manboobs otherwise soybean is totally safe if you eat less than 100g a day.
This meal is a good example of high vegetarian protein sources thanks to the soybean and paneer. I like to add some salad and curd along with my pulao.
If you eat your meals that everyone can eat at home then it would be easier for you as you’ll get help from your family as well and they’ll not get annoyed by your tantrums of having salads and all those western foods.
Following an Indian diet is also cheaper than buying western foods for those looking for a budget-friendly diet plan.
Eating food items that are produced in your country will suit you better than those expensive kiwis and quinoa.
Macros for this meal: P=32 C=65.5 F=15 Fibre= 7.5
Bedtime meal: Greek yoghurt and multivitamins
Getting a night of sound sleep is very important for your recovery and we cannot help much to this recovery because we can’t eat during sleeping and we can’t wake up in between and have something.
So before going to bed, you must have proteins, fats and your vitamins to get a good night’s sleep.
Eating fats and protein before sleeping will help in the recovery of your muscles and Greek yoghurt is one of the high vegetarian protein sources.
Greek yoghurt is a slow-digesting protein and it is perfect for you to eat at night as it will provide you with amino acids throughout your sleeping time.
Macros for this meal: P= 6 C=7.5 F=7.5 Fibre=0
To sum up, making muscle as a vegetarian can be a difficult job but you have to be smart in combining different food items to get the necessary proteins, carbs and fats.
The food sources that have protein in them also contain high fat and carbs in them so it becomes really difficult to balance the macros.
In this case, it becomes very essential for you to add whey protein to your vegetarian diet plan. But you should not worry and you should keep lifting and following your diet. Always remember you can make your diet interesting you just need to use your brain and your knowledge.
Yes, a vegetarian diet will help lose weight. It does not matter if you follow a vegetarian diet or a non-vegetarian diet you will surely lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit.
You can follow the above diet and lose weight just by tweaking macros according to your caloric needs.
Soybean, cottage cheese (paneer), tofu, rajma, chole, nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, whey protein, yoghurt (dahi) are all high vegetarian protein sources and you can incorporate them in your diet to get the best results!
Of course vegetarian can build muscle. Studies have even shown that a vegetarian diet can show better results than a non-vegetarian diet consisting of meats.
Studies have even shown that following a plant-based diet reduces the number of fat molecules in your blood as compared to following a diet consisting of meats.
If you consume enough macros you can build an insane amount of muscle by following a vegetarian diet.