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Protein Rich Food For Vegan Bodybuilders


The trend of following a vegan diet has risen in popularity in recent years. Many people follow a plant-based diet for its amazing health benefits, positive environmental effects, and ethics towards animal treatment. The vegan diet has attracted the interest of different populations including athletes and bodybuilders.

Following this diet is not easy, especially a vegan bodybuilding diet. You have to face a lot of challenges on your journey to veganism. The major challenge is to stick to this type of diet.

Plant-based diets are made of fruits, lentils, soybeans, and vegetables. This creates a challenge for meat lovers to follow a vegan diet for a long time. To make things easier start slowly by adding at least one-two plant-based meals to your diet. This will get you into a habit of consuming plant-based foods, therefore, making your journey to veganism easier.

Nutrition is an important component of building muscle. It’s recommended that an average person should consume around 0.8g of protein per pound or kilogram of their body weight. To build muscle you need to consume around 1-1.2g of protein per pound or kilogram of your body weight.

Increasing your calorie intake by 10-20% is a great way to add muscle mass along with resistance training.

In this article, we have provided all the information to help you to jumpstart your journey and help your way up to your vegan bodybuilding goals

Vegan Bodybuilding Diet

The traditional bodybuilding diets that are followed from the beginning are loaded with animal-based foods due to their high calorie and protein content. The vegan bodybuilding diet doesn’t contain any animal products and is higher in protein than traditional vegan diets. Plant-based proteins tend to contain less protein and calories than animal-based proteins which can affect muscle gain. This creates a challenge for bodybuilders to gain muscle mass.

A proper diet plan is required to ensure a sufficient intake of protein and other essential micronutrients. The vegan bodybuilding diet has a variety of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins. The vegan bodybuilding diet includes many staple foods on which many vegetarian meals are based.

Here’s a pro tip that will help you in this journey.

Before starting this type of diet, it’s helpful to plan out 5–7 days of meals in advance to assure you have all of the ingredients. This is crucial as many vegan recipes require a variety of items.

High Protein Vegan Foods

A lot of people believe that vegan diets lack sufficient protein. However, according to many experts, a well-planned plant-based diet can deliver all the required nutrients to you, including protein.

Some plant-based foods contain relatively more protein than others. Here are the five famous and high in protein plant foods that will be a great fit for your diet.

1. Soybeans

Soybeans are mainly composed of protein which means that they contain all the essential amino acids for muscle growth. They also contain good amounts of carbohydrates, antioxidants, and fats. Consuming a sufficient amount of soybeans in a day is linked to many health benefits.

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all protein-dense foods that originate from soybeans.

Tofu is rich in complete protein and fiber. The process of making tofu is similar to cheese making. It starts with condensed soy milk being pressed together to form solid blocks. Tofu doesn’t have much flavor but is great in absorbing the taste of the ingredients that are prepared with it in a meal.

Compare to tofu, tempeh has a nutty flavor. This by-product of soy is made by cooking and fermenting soybeans together and then pressing them into solid blocks. Tempeh contains many nutrients including protein, probiotics, vitamin B, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Both tofu and tempeh are the only by-products of soybeans that can be used in several recipes like soups, burgers, loaves of bread, and cookies.

Edamame on the other hand is a whole, immature soybean with a little sweet and grassy taste. They are either cooked or boiled before using in a recipe like soups and salads. Edamame has a high amount of protein which is crucial in a vegan bodybuilding diet. One cup of cooked edamame contains around 18.5 grams of protein. They’re also rich in vitamin K, fiber, several antioxidants which support your digestion and well-being.

You can try all three soy-based proteins in your diet to increase your protein intake. One cup of each of them has around 12-20 grams of protein.

2. Lentils

Lentils are eatable seeds from the legume family. They are often classified by their color, which can range from red, yellow, green, brown, and black. Lentils have a high amount of protein, around 18-20 grams per cup.

Brown lentils are the most widely consumed lentils in the world. They contain a mild earthy flavor and are prepared in just 20-25 minutes without losing their shape. Brown lentils are used in a variety of recipes especially veggie burgers, soups, stews, and salads.

Puy lentils are the most expensive type of lentil in the world. With a grey-green color, they are best known for having a great texture and a rich peppery flavor. In one serving it has around 11 grams of protein, 6.6 grams of fiber, and only 144 calories. The name Puy comes from the French region Le Puy where they are grown. They’re mostly served with salads and roasted vegetables or can be used in a variety of recipes.

Green lentils are similar in size and nutrition to brown lentils but with a shiny surface. They can be cooked for longer periods, around 45 minutes without changing their shape. Green lentils are usually a cheap substitute for Puy lentils. They can be used in salads, stews due to their earthy taste and texture.

Yellow and red lentils have a sweet and nutty flavor to them and can be cooked rapidly. They’re great for making stews and salads. Yellow lentils have more iron in them, whereas red lentils have more potassium content. They both have amazing health benefits and require less preparation time than other varieties of lentils.

Black beluga lentils are tiny eye-catching black-colored lentils that look almost like caviar. They have a deep, earthy flavor with a firm texture. Black lentils are a great base for salads.

3. Beans

Beans are the eatable seeds from the flowering plants and are categorized as legumes. Most beans are grown in pods or capsules that are developed from flowers. Beans are of various types like kidney, black, and pinto. Most of these varieties contain high amounts of protein per serving. Beans are available as canned, frozen, and dry.

Beans are rich in protein and are an affordable source of fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and various vitamins and plant compounds that offer many health benefits.

The protein in beans is broken down into amino acids which are the building blocks that your body uses to build muscles, promote hair growth, repair bones and tissues, etc.

A Cup of beans can provide around 15 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can help lower your bad cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar levels, control blood pressure, and even help in weight loss.

You can easily add beans to your diet by making a healthy bowl of homemade salads, soups, and stews. Enjoy some extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of fresh turmeric powder on your bean salad.

4. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. These seeds are highly nutritious with a variety of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and proteins. Although hemp seeds are not as famous as chia seeds and flaxseeds, their nutritional value is higher than both. One tablespoon of hemp seeds contains around 9 grams of protein with only 150 calories.

Hemp contains important minerals and vitamins like vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, and omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that the nutrients present in hemp seeds are important for reducing inflammation, regulating blood pressure, and a lower risk of chronic diseases.

The protein to calorie ratio of hemp seeds is relatively high. Around 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein. As a fact, hemp seeds provide similar amounts of protein as animal-based foods like beef and lamb.

They are also considered as a complete protein source, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that your body requires to build muscle. There are only a few foods in the plant kingdom that provide complete protein due to the lack of amino acids in plants.

You can use hemp seeds in your diet by sprinkling some on your smoothie, salads, and muesli. They are also used in the preparation of protein bars and vegan protein shakes.

However, hemp seed shells also contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol also known as THC which is less than 0.3%. This active compound can cause psychoactive effects of cannabis and is also present in marijuana. If you’re dependent on cannabis, we’ll advise you to avoid adding this plant-based food to your diet. You can also eat hemp seeds by removing their shells to avoid THC.

5. Oats And Oatmeal

Oats are among the healthiest whole grains that you can find on the planet. They’re gluten-free and contain all the important vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Adding oats to your vegan bodybuilding diet is an easy and healthy way to get plant-based protein.

One cup or a serving (40 grams) of dry oats have around 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Oats also contain essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B-1, B-5, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate.

Oats are not a complete protein plant-based food but contain a higher quality of protein than other widely consumed grains like wheat and rice.

Whole oats are high in rare antioxidants like avenanthramides and healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. Studies have shown that adding oats to your diet has many health benefits like losing weight, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of heart diseases.

The most popular way to consume oats is to simply eat them as oatmeal for breakfast. The recipe for preparing oatmeal is:

  • Start by adding half a cup of rolled oats to a bowl
  • Then add 1 cup (250 ml) of almond or coconut milk. You can also replace milk with water
  • Finish by adding a pinch of salt on the top

To make oatmeal even more nutritious, add a dash of cinnamon, fruits, nuts, and seeds. You can also eat baked goods, muesli, and granola which are made with oats.


Adding plant-based meals that have a good amount of healthy fats, carbs, and protein in your diet is essential for a vegan bodybuilding diet. Foods that are rich in protein stimulate your muscles by improving recovery time and enhancing your performance.

One important point that most people don’t follow is to drink plenty of water to boost the benefits of both your diet and workout.

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