Vegetarian Diet for Bodybuilding

You may enjoy eating a vegetarian diet and still want to build more muscles. You are also aware about the most important nutrient in muscle building i.e. protein. Many times you may feel that there is no bodybuilding without non-vegetarian diet. However, nutrition plays the most important role in bodybuilding. Here we will discuss many vegetarian diets that contain a large amount of protein along with other important nutrients. It is true that protein is the most important nutrient in muscle building but you must remember that not only protein but other nutrients such as vitamins, carbs, fats, and minerals are also required in proper proportion.

Vegetarians can also build muscles and strength just like non-vegetarians. They do not need to change their diet for muscles building. It does not matter whether the body builder is vegan or not, but they all require sufficient amount of protein. Here, we are not judging any non-vegetarian instead we are just providing the information to vegans and creating awareness among them so that they don’t feel like they cannot build muscles without sacrificing their veg diet. Many people think that the wealthiest sources of protein are only found in non-veg food items. However, you must remember that the body is concerned with the nutrients you get from the food and not with the food you consume. You can check below for healthy veg diets for muscle building.

  • Chapattis: Chapattis contains carbohydrates and supple us with energy and fibre. These are made from whole grains and even mixed different grains. Chapattis made from wheat or bajra or jowar or brown rice and a bowl of dal are good source of carbs. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, pasta and cereals are slowly digested to provide a continuous, slow release of energy for a long time.
  • Dairy: A bowl of yogurt with oats or quinoa with skimmed milk and some cheese on a sandwich or in a salad provide very good amount of dairy. You can also have paneer bread sandwich
  • Sweet potatoes: They provide energy for workout and muscle growth. Necessary fatty acids found in walnuts, almond, butter, and flax seed helps in regulating hormones, which are important to muscle growth. Potatoes also contain potassium, which helps in preventing muscle cramps.
  • Bananas: In pre-workout meal you can have protein banana shake, 1-2 bananas with half litre double toned milk. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and thus prevent conditions such as bloating and puffiness as well as soreness and cramps of the muscles. Potassium in bananas keeps the body’s glycogen stores refilled and promotes transportation of protein to the muscles. It is better to eat 1 or 2 bananas before workout.
  • Soybean: Soybean and its products as used as non-veg substitute in veg products. They are incredibly low in fat and cholesterol. Pea protein is also rich in protein and is easy to digest & cholesterol free. Soy is healthy for males and even won’t affect estrogen levels to a drastic degree.
  • Paneer: It is also a great snack after workout. It helps in recovering muscles and promoting muscle growth. Paneer contains calcium and vitamin A, which are essential for bodybuilding.
  • Protein: Many veg item that are high sources of protein are beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu, soybeans, sietan, etc. You have a good chance of muscle building if you eat brown rice, quinoa, legumes, beans, potatoes, nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters, etc.
  • Milk and its Products: It is better to consume low fat milk and its products. Milk contains whey protein and casein protein constituting 20% and 80% of the total protein composition, respectively. Casein protein remains in your body to feed muscles for the next several hours, when your body has used whey protein. Further, calcium in milk and dairy products also promotes fat loss and strengthens your bones. Having milk prior to workout will enhance anabolism.
  • Cheese and Yoghurt: They are also important in body building. Cheese contains calcium, potassium vitamin A & B, and manganese while yoghurt is rich in protein, potassium, vitamin B and calcium and contains less sodium than cheese.
  • Pulses: Dal, moong, masoor and soybeans are wealthy sources of protein. Consuming them post workout is beneficial for muscle building.
  • Nuts and Seeds: By having them in your diet, you will move up your overall calorie intake a lot. They are incredibly nutrient dense.
  • Green vegetables and leaves: They improve your overall protein intake and you probably won’t get any health related problems and neither will you put on weight. Green vegetables are also a good source of protein. They get you enough calories not consuming of which your body use protein intake as fuel.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: You need to take in plenty of fruits and vegetables. They provide you with high quality of nutrients as well as antioxidants to keep your immune system feeling strong.
  • Chickpeas and legumes: They are also a good low-fat source of carbs and protein. They are beneficial as pre-workout meal. Vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are also great sources of nutrients.
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, dried peas, beans and lentils, artichokes and dried fruits such as raisins, prunes and black current, etc. are the rich sources of iron.
  • Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almond, walnuts or macadamia nuts, fortified oatmeal or cereals, etc. are rich in zinc.
  • Coconut oil helps in burning fat while olive oil is monounsaturated that lowers bad cholesterol or LDL.

There are some manufacturers such as Vega Sport, Garden of Life, MRM, etc. who offers their own designer veggie protein blends that mix various plant and grain proteins. Rice protein and help protein are also great source of protein.

Muscles growth and repair of muscles tissues are hardly possible without amino acids. Essential amino acids are to be supplemented by diet as the body cannot produce itself. Body utilizes protein to produce energy and carry out important functions. It also assists in building muscles and replacing damaged & old cells.

It is better to have 5-7 meals instead of 3-4 meals. It is important to keep a constant influx of nutrients in proper proportion. As per RDA, you need 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight daily. However, if you want to build muscles, you can take more protein which is also beneficial in weight loss. In bodybuilding, 1g of protein per pound is recommended in order to make sure you don’t lose any gains. It is also important to take in 15-20 calories per pound of bodyweight. Fat should comprise roughly 30% of overall calories.


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You may enjoy eating a vegetarian diet and still want to build more muscles. You are also aware about the most important nutrient in muscle building i.e. protein. Many times you may feel that there is no bodybuilding without non-vegetarian diet. However, nutrition plays the most important role in bodybuilding. […]