Veg Diet Plan For Bodybuilding – Plant Based diet plan is the trending topic in the health and fitness industry. Veg diet helps to maintain proper pH balance in the body which is the key for achieving physical and mental strength. The plant-based diet helps to reduce sugar cravings and gives you more control over your appetite.
The Perfect Vegetarian Diet Plan For Bodybuilders
Not only non-vegetarian foods but vegetarian foods can also help in achieve the amount of protein required by a body. Here’s a vegetarian diet plan for bodybuilders.
With workout, diet is an equally important aspect of bodybuilding
- It is important for bodybuilders with a vegetarian diet to get calories
- Legumes, tofu and dairy foods can provide the body with enough nutrients
- Quinoa instead of brown rice can provide the body with proteins
Vegan Bodybuilding Meal Plan
All natural foods from lettuce to nuts provide varying amounts of protein in the form of one or more amino acids. With careful nutritional choices, a vegetarian diet with sufficient caloric intake derived from a variety of fresh fruits, leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds throughout the day can supply all the amino acids you need to fulfill your protein requirements, assures Cleveland Clinic.
You don’t have to combine specific foods at each meal to get all the amino acids. Your body can recycle and mix absorbed amino acids present in your body to make up the protein it requires. Ensuring you eat a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day will provide all the amino acids you need. Cleveland Clinic notes that you absorb only 25 to 40 grams of protein at one time, so make sure you space out your protein intake throughout the day.
These top 10 plant-based healthy vegetarian sources of protein should be forefront in your bodybuilding diet, as listed by the USDA. The daily values (DV) are based on a protein intake of 50 grams per day.
- Tofu – Per cup, firm tofu contains 87 percent of the DV for protein; medium tofu provides 40 percent DV, and tempeh provides 67 percent DV.
- Soybeans – Per cup, dry roasted soybeans provide 81 percent DV for protein.
- Beans – Per cup, lentils provide 36 percent DV; white beans contain 35 percent DV; split peas have 33 percent DV, and navy beans contain 30 percent DV.
- Soymilk – Per 16-ounce glass, unsweetened, soy milk provides 28 percent DV for protein.
- Green peas – Per cup, cooked green peas contain 17 percent DV for protein.
- Seeds – Per handful, squash and pumpkin seeds provide 17 percent DV for protein; peanuts deliver 14 percent DV; almonds provide 12 percent DV, and sunflower seeds contain 11 percent DV.
- Quinoa – Per cup, cooked quinoa provides 16 percent DV for protein; cornmeal and kamut each have 20 percent DV, and brown rice contains 11 percent DV.
- Dark leafy greens – Per cup, cooked spinach provides 11 percent DV for protein; collards contain 10 percent DV; Swiss chard has 7 percent DV, and kale contains 5 percent DV.
- Sweet Corn – Per cup, cooked sweet corn provides 9 percent DV for protein.
- Mushrooms – Per cup, cooked mushrooms contain 8 percent DV for protein.
For comparison, if you are a vegetarian who eats dairy, a cup of whole milk contains 16 percent DV for protein, according to USDA.
If you find that your diet cannot supply sufficient protein your body needs for the intensive training regime that bodybuilding demands, nutritional supplements made from natural plant-based ingredients may give you a boost. The review in JISSN indicates that using supplements to increases protein intake up to two or three times the RDA can promote greater overall improvements in body composition and lean body mass.
Some vegan protein supplements to consider are those made from nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, including peas, hemp, rice, soy, chia and peanut, or ones that combines different types of plant protein to get all the essential amino acids.
Include Sufficient Fat
You need fat in your bodybuilding diet to provide energy for muscle contractions and to sustain the intensive exercise regimes required in bodybuilding. Fat provides twice as much energy per unit mass compared to protein and carbohydrates, according to the American Heart Association. You also need fat to maintain optimal cell structure and hormone levels to support a muscle-building environment.
Fat helps protect cell membranes and the sheaths surrounding nerves, says Harvard Health Publishing. Dietary fat is also essential for muscle movement, blood clotting and inflammatory response, which assists in repair of muscles from injury during rigorous training. In addition, fat facilitates the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
Although the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you should consume 25 to 35 percent of your total calories from fat, many bodybuilders who strive for lean muscle often restrict fat intake to lose weight. This practice may result in unhealthy effects on the body. The position statement of the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, published in March 2016, discourages consuming less than 20 percent of calories from fat because of the possible result of decreasing the delivery of vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Vegetarians should choose fats that contribute healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids to the diet in favor of saturated and trans fats. The addition of foods containing omega-3 have an exceptional benefit to a vegan bodybuilding meal plan. According to a September 2019 review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids may have a positive influence on skeletal muscle, gains in muscle size and muscle strength and help reduce the loss of muscle mass.
For your plant-based bodybuilding meal plan, USDA recommends the following foods that incorporate healthy omega-3 fatty acids:
- Chia seeds
- Canola oil
- Navy beans
- Brussels sprouts
Building Muscle on a Vegetarian Diet
For years, the conventional belief that ruled professional and amateur athletic training programs was that consuming meat was the only way to build muscle. Today, we know a balanced vegetarian diet that includes plant-based protein assists muscular development … no steak required.
Well-planned vegetarian diets that meet energy needs and contain a variety of plant-based protein foods, such as soy products, beans, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein for athletes without the use of special foods or supplements. However, consideration must be made for the type of vegetarian diet an athlete follows:
- Vegan – a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, and which relies on plant protein only to meet protein needs.
- Lactovegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products, like fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, which are all sources of protein.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products, which are also sources of protein.
Athletes need to eat an appropriate amount of calories and a variety of protein foods throughout the day in order to meet their protein requirement. Amino acids make up the protein that our bodies need. Meat, eggs and dairy foods are typically the most coveted protein sources because they contain all nine essential amino acids in the ratios that humans require. Most sources of plant-based protein are lacking in at least one of the nine essential amino acids. Soy and quinoa are two exceptions. Including a variety of plant-based protein foods will ensure all of the essential amino acids are being consumed.
Eat Protein Throughout the Day
Vegetarian athletes should include a quality source of protein with meals and snacks. Here are some tips for meeting protein needs without consuming meat:
- Eat five or six small meals per day that not only include a protein food, but also a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plenty of water.
- More than half your calories each day should come from quality carbohydrates, which fuel your muscles.
- Choose heart healthy sources of fat, like olive oil, almonds, walnuts, avocados and canola oil.
- Find a registered dietitian nutritionist who can work with you to create a personalized vegetarian eating plan that meets your individual needs.
Tips for plant-based eaters
While protein sources may differ between meat-eaters and vegetarians, most other recommendations for building lean body mass are the same for both groups. These tips will help you increase your muscle in no time.
1. Figure out your protein needs
Protein is a hot topic right now, but the daily requirement is actually much less than you may think. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound – the best way to calculate the minimum amount of protein your body needs (in grams) is to multiply 0.36 by your body weight.
For a 150-pound person, that’s only 54 grams of protein per day! Athletes need a bit more protein, around 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 1.0 grams per pound. That’s about 75 to 150 grams of protein for a 150-pound person.
2. Eat different types of protein throughout the day
For optimal muscle growth, aim to eat 20-30 grams of protein at each main meal. Vegetarian foods that pack a protein punch include:
Beans & Lentils
Versatile and nutritious, beans and lentils provide up to 15 grams of protein per cup when cooked. Use dried beans and your slow cooker to make these Vegan Tacos with Walnuts. Or try lentils in a Moroccan Lentil Soup or Greek Lentil Power Bowl.
A cup of milk provides 8 grams of protein, and the protein in ½ cup of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese is closer to 12-15 grams. My favorite way to use yogurt is in a smoothie, like this Sunshine Smoothie.
Soy milk packs just as much protein as dairy milk, and other soy foods, like tofu and tempeh, have up to 10-12 grams of protein per cup. Check out these 17 Tofu Recipes of 14 Tempeh Recipes!
sushiAlong with many other nutrients, whole grains add a surprising source of protein to the diet. Among grains with the highest protein levels are quinoa and whole wheat pasta (8 grams per cup), old-fashioned or steel cut oats (5 grams per ½ cup), and whole wheat bread (5 grams per slice). Quinoa is a great base for a salad, like this simple one with black beans and a honey-lime vinaigrette. Or make It a vegan sushi night with this quinoa bowl.
Nuts & Seeds
Making a great addition to salads, smoothies, and yogurt, nuts and seeds also contribute a good amount of protein. Examples include hemp seeds (10 grams per 3 Tablespoons), almonds (6 grams per ounce), and peanut butter (4 grams per Tablespoon). Whip up these Cinnamon Roasted Almonds for a yummy mid-day snack.
3. Plan your meals to include protein
Consuming protein from a variety of sources helps you get a range of nutrients in your diet.
For example, you might eat a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and a glass of milk at breakfast, a black bean quesadilla for lunch, and a salad with hemp seeds, tofu, and a hard-boiled egg for dinner. These meals alone provide over 60 grams of protein!
If you throw in snacks such as Greek yogurt and a peanut butter sandwich, that number jumps up to nearly 100 grams – an amount of protein that would easily meet the needs of a 150-pound person looking to build lean body mass!
4. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are essential and provide energy for all sorts of activities. If you limit carbs, you will not be able to perform at your best or build lean body mass efficiently. Aim to make 45-60% of your diet come from carbs.
5. Eat complementary proteins
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body can make some amino acids, but it relies on the foods you eat to supply other amino acids. The ones it cannot make are called ‘essential amino acids’. Why am I telling you this?
There are two types of protein– ‘complete protein’, which contains the 9 essential (the ones the body cannot make) amino acids and ‘incomplete protein’, which does not have all 9 amino acids. Most plant-based proteins are incomplete, except for quinoa, soy, hemp, and chia. In comparison, ALL animal proteins are complete proteins.
Since most vegetarian proteins, such as beans, lentils, and brown rice are incomplete, it’s important to pair them with other foods to make a complete protein. Pairing two or more vegetarian sources together so that they provide the essential amino acids is referred to as ‘complementary proteins’.
Some pairings that make complementary plant-based proteins are:
- Beans and rice
- Nut butter and whole grain bread
- Lentil and barley
- Hummus and pita
- Oats and almonds
6. Vary your workouts
Regardless of how much protein you consume, building muscle without lifting weights or doing some other form of strength training is nearly impossible. If you primarily focus on cardio workouts, try adding some form of strength or bodyweight activities to your routine. If you are new to strength training, you can try out a circuit class, find a personal trainer, or watch YouTube videos to get started.
7. Don’t skimp on iron
While there are plenty of vegetarian iron sources, plant-based sources of iron are not absorbed as well as animal sources. Iron plays a main role in carrying oxygen throughout the body and making red blood cells. If you don’t eat enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which could potentially lead to iron deficiency anemia. [See 12 plant-based sources of iron here.] Long story short, stock up on those iron sources such as legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
8. Include snacks in your diet
Believe it or not, the average American consumes just as many snacks as meals each day. But most snack foods are rich in carbs and low in protein. Make sure you’re getting enough protein at snacktime with these options:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Nut butter with sliced fruit or veggie sticks
- Chocolate milk
- Roasted chickpeas
- Hummus and veggies
- Cottage cheese on a whole wheat English muffin
- Chia seed pudding
- Guacamole & veggies
- Loaded oatmeal