If you want to focus on vegetarian bodybuilding, you may find it challenging to compete with traditional body-building diets. Bodybuilding is often seen in a particular light — gigantic, muscular men downing protein shakes and eating LOTS of meat. To effectively body-build or gain muscle mass, one must intake a significant amount of calories. But you can still gain mass in a healthy, nutritious way, and if you stick to these healthy, protein-packed vegetarian foods you will net great muscle gains.
Strict vegetarians basically only consume vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, and beans. However, there are many vegetarians who include some “meat based” food products into their diet, including Ovo-lacto vegetarians and Pescetarians. Regardless of your dietary restraints, the main component for building more muscle for anyone is consuming more protein. Below are some vegetarian foods high in protein and great for post-workout food.
Strict Vegetarianism – No meat products
Peanut butter – Peanut butter is a fantastic first option for gaining muscle mass. 3.5 grams of peanut butter yields about 25 grams of protein. That equates to drinking an entire protein shake! Additionally, in the past several years the market has started pushing many natural peanut-butters which don’t have any extra added sugar, which is a much healthier alternative to traditional extra-sweet peanut butter. So slather that peanut butter on some bread or rice cakes and eat up!
Rice and Beans – This simple recipe is great for a post-workout snack or a side dish to a healthy vegetable meal. Rice and beans, each by themselves, possess combinations of amino acids that do not amount to a “complete” protein. However, when mixed together half-and-half, one cup of red beans and brown rice yields about 22 g of protein!
Quinoa – Quinoa has been making huge strides in the dietary world the past few years. This south-american seed is very similar to the grain family, although it is technically not a cereal grain itself. It is a delicious alternative to side dishes like rice, and one cup of quinoa yields about 8 grams of protein!
Soy-based protein shakes – Healthy shakes are an excellent source of post-workout protein intake. While protein shakes are traditionally made with why (which is a milk product), the market is full of soy-based protein shakes for lactose-intolerant individuals or those who simply want to avoid milk. Try adding a scoop of soy protein to a healthy smoothie!
Nuts – This is sort of a no-brainer. Nuts are an extremely healthy and protein-packed snack great at any time of day. Different nuts have offer quantities of protein. (See: protein in nuts).
Ovo-Lacto Vegetarianism – Eggs and milk products
Eggs – A large egg contains about 6.5 grams of proteins, and makes for a great breakfast food (as you surely already know). Scrambled, over easy, poached — this is a fundamental body-building food if you eat eggs!
Milk, Cheese, and Cottage cheese – Milk and Cheese are both full of great protein, and cottage cheese is a delicious add on for any meal. And at 15 grams of protein in each half-cup, it’s a great post-workout snack as well.
Whey protein shakes – Same concept as the soy-based protein shakes above, but why is usually higher protein content and costs less in stores as well.
Pescetarianism – Fish products
Tuna and other fish – Tuna is usually one of the first-suggested types of fish suggested when talking about protein intake, and at around 33 grams per can, it’s definitely worth a mention. But there are many other types of fish you can implement in your diet too! Here are some other protein in fish suggestions.