Contrary to popular belief it is possible to build lean muscle mass and eat enough protein if you are a vegetarian or even a hardcore vegan. Many people assume that all vegetarians are skinny, have little muscle mass, and do not consume enough protein.
The fact is that there are a lot of high quality vegetable protein sources. While it is a lot more convenient to consume protein as a non-vegetarian because of all the high protein meat choices like chicken, beef, fish, etc. – some of the best protein sources in the world are vegan!
Still not sold on vegetable based protein sources? Well believe or not some of the top body builders in the world are vegetarians as well as many professional athletes. These are people who are some of the strongest and most fit people in the world, and they rely solely on vegetable protein sources. I have a close friend who happens to be a body builder and is also a vegan. You would think this hurts him a lot, but he is actually 215 lbs of pure muscle and consumes over 200 grams of protein per day.
So how does a vegan consume over 200 grams of protein per day? Does he just eat soy beans all day? Of course not! There are some incredible sources of vegan protein that many people forget about. Let’s take a look at the topSources of Protein.
Top Vegan Protein Sources
Lentils are one of the top vegan protein sources and are also high in dietary fiber. Lentils make for a delicious snack at any time of the day and are loaded with 18 grams of protein for every cup! Grab a few servings of lentils and you are already consuming close to 50 grams of protein.
Black beans and all types of legumes provide quality protein that will help you maintain your lean muscle mass and recover from workouts. One cup of black beans has approximately 15 grams of protein.
Tempeh is a type of fermented soy bean and is becoming quite popular as a vegan protein source. Tempeh is used by many body builders because of its high protein content that the fermentation process causes. Four ounces of tempeh packs in a little over 20 grams of protein! This is a great high protein meat alternative.
Soybeans are a delicious form of vegan protein and come in several forms. You can eat the plain steamed soybean known as Edamame, or it can be made to make Tofu and other soy based products. Soybeans are high in protein and are very versatile. They are also one of the best protein sources packing in 28 grams of protein per cup!
Although quinoa could be classified as a complex carbohydrate, it also makes for a great protein source. One cup of Quinoa packs in over 15 grams of protein. Quinoa is a high quality food that is loaded with protein and slow digesting carbohydrates.
Nuts make for a great source of protein. Some of the highest protein nuts are peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios. One Serving of mixed nuts packs in over 10 grams of high quality protein.
Vegan Based Protein Powders
Soy protein powder and Hemp Protein powder are two great alternatives to Whey protein powder to make high protein smoothie drinks. One serving of Soy and/or Hemp protein packs in almost 20 grams of easily digestible protein.
These vegan based protein powders will act very similarly to whey protein because they digest very quickly and feed your muscles with an immediate source of energy and amino acids. If you are looking to pack in a quick 25-30 grams of protein mix in some hemp or soy protein with Almond or Coconut Milk and your favorite Fruit.
Not only are pumpkin seeds healthy and delicious for you but they are loaded with protein. They are in fact one of the best protein sources of all the seeds and also pack in a nutrient and mineral punch that will help you maintain lean muscle mass and sustain energy levels. Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed at all times of the year – not just Halloween!
Nut butters like Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, and Cashew butter are a delicious and convenient way to pack in a lot of protein and feed your body with quality lean muscle building nutrients. One serving of a high quality nut butter will pack in almost 10 grams of protein. A great high protein snack is to spread 2 tbsp of nut butter onto some whole wheat toast for a quick 12-15 grams of protein.