LAST UPDATED: August 3rd, 2022
Although meats like chicken breast and beef are the holy grail for many gym-goers when it comes to building muscle, there are vegans and vegetarians that intake enough proteins without eating meat.
Actually, there are really successful weightlifters and bodybuilders that are vegans. (1)
There are many different foods that aren’t meat you should include in your diet to grow muscles.
So, today I will show you the best foods for muscle growth that aren’t animal source foods.
Note: Vegans don’t eat any foods of animal origin (including milk and eggs), while vegetarians eat dairy and eggs but don’t eat meat.
9 Best Muscle-Building Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians
Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which helps digest proteins.
It’s high in vitamin C.
Pineapple is good for some inflammatory processes like muscle inflammation.
That’s why pineapple is very popular in the fitness world.
You can use it for savory recipes too- you can grill it with chicken, or you can add it to shakes.
Spinach is one of the best muscle-building foods.
it can improve the growth of muscles, but you need to eat almost 2 pounds of spinach a day to get that effect.
Phytoecdysteroids, found in spinach, can help you build muscles by 20%.
Spinach also contains calcium which helps muscles recover after training and it prevents cramps during training.
Besides, it contains a lot of iron which is good for building muscles.
Be sure to put broccoli and other fibrous vegetables (tomatoes, sweet corn, garlic) on the list of foods for a post-workout meal.
You should eat five to seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day because they are the best source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in nature.
Just be careful when you prepare vegetables, if you overcook them, you will lose their vitamins and minerals.
This is one of the high-protein legumes.
Vegetarians and vegans’ diet is based on lentils.
In one hundred grams of this legume, there are even 10 grams of proteins.
Nuts have a great amount of protein and fat, also vitamin E which brings the most benefits to your muscles.
Hazelnuts, for example, are high in vitamin E.
This vitamin is a very strong antioxidant and helps you fight free radicals and helps in the recovery process.
Even though it doesn’t belong to the list of food, water is really important for muscles.
The human body is made up of 70% water, while muscle tissue is about 75% water.
Well-hydrated muscles will help increase the level of strength, energy and will enable better cleansing of the body. (2)
Soy cheese, or also known as tofu, is a good replacement for meat.
You can use it in many ways, and 100 grams of tofu contains about 8 grams of proteins.
In addition, tofu has high levels of iron and magnesium as well.
8. Vegan protein powder
The best protein powder is definitely whey, but it can’t be on this list because of obvious reasons.
Vegan protein powders are made of plant proteins.
The most common sources of plant protein are soy, peas, and rice.
Seitan is very popular wheat meat.
It is also called wheat gluten and wheat protein.
This food is made of wheat flour, high in proteins.
It’s wheat gluten that is made by washing wheat flour dough and removing the starch.
By washing and cooking the dough you get pure gluten which has a very similar texture to meat.
Seitan has an insane 70 percent of proteins.
Best Muscle-Building Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians – Bottom Line:
- Vegan protein powder
My name is Cliff and I am a personal coach, sports lover, fitness enthusiast and author of MusclesMagician. I have 15+ years of experience in fitness and bodybuilding and I want to share it with you. I am here to help you build muscles and lose fat faster.