Approximately 5% of the population is vegetarian.  This lifestyle choice can be difficult at times—especially when meals are involved.  But for bodybuilders (or average Joes) who practice the philosophy of a meatless diet, it can become quite the challenge.  Without a doubt, there is a wealth of great resources for building muscles as a meat eater; however, plant eaters have to do some literal “digging” to do to get the right protein in their bodies to assist in creating lean muscle mass.

Here are 5 food sources that can help you build muscle if you are a vegetarian.

1. Quinoa

High in protein and carbs, quinoa is an excellent vegetarian food that can assist you in building lean muscle mass.  With only 3 grams of fat, this protein packed grain is both gluten free and cholesterol free.  In addition, it contains all 9 essential amino acids that make it a complete protein. If you are looking to help bulk up while staying true to your meat free convictions, quinoa is an excellent source of protein to help you on your journey.

2. Nuts

The benefits of eating nuts as a sources of protein are known by the masses.  In fact, nuts are considered one of the most resourceful and wholesome foods around—especially for body builders. Not only are they packed with protein, they offer wealth of other benefits to the body.  Body building experts agree that the five best nuts to include in your diet include:

  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

Those who live a meat free life can benefit substantially in their workout regimes when they eat a diet rich in nuts.

3. Increase Beans

Like nuts, beans are chock full of health benefits.  While some may find the fact that they are not a complete protein troubling, the numbers make it clear that they are a great addition to any bodybuilder looking to increase muscle mass.  Half a cup of cooked beans yields about 14g of protein.  In addition, they are both high in fiber and low in fat.  A vegetarian diet that includes a variety of beans will undoubtedly generate lean muscle mass.

4. Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation with all the low carb, no carb hype on the diet scene.  The fact of the matter is very simple.  The right carbohydrates are crucial in building muscles, and chick peas or garbanzo beans offer you the energy increase you need to invigorate your body.  Carbohydrates empower your body, and you need energy to advance through your work outs in order to increase the level of complexity to build muscle.  Any plant eater looking to create the ideal diet to build lean muscle mass needs to add garbanzo beans to the menu.

5. Supplements

Lastly, supplements are a great way to add protein to your plant based diet.  There are a variety of protein supplements, like delectable tasting protein powder, available that can assist you in developing your diet.  Soy protein shakes and supplements are popular among the plant eating crowds.  Protein bars are another fantastic addition to your diet that  can give your body the nutrition it needs to increase your lean muscle mass.

There’s no question that a protein rich diet is more challenging for both vegetarians and vegans, but it most definitely is possible. Challenge breeds success, and so if you are looking to bulk up your muscles, consider trying some of these diet suggestions. You can also look into growing your own organic veggies in your garden. Your body will thank you.