You wouldn’t normally think about veganism and bodybuilding together, but these vegan bodybuilders prove that you do not need animal products to build muscle. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t be a stellar athlete. In fact, some world class athletes have chosen to say no to animal products and yes to natural, plant-based foods. Addtionally, plant-based foods are almost always cheaper, lower in calories, lower in unhealthy fats, higher in fiber, and better for the environment than their animal-sourced counterparts.
Not sure where to start? Check out these 8 vegan sources of protein and get ready to hit the gym:
1. Beans and legumes
Black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas and pretty much any other legume you can think of are full of protein and fiber. I personally find the taste and texture of black beans delightful, as well as the creaminess of freshly-made hummus. Beans and legumes are great alternatives to meat (check out this black bean burger recipe) and taste great with all sorts of spices. The next time you’re craving some Indian food, try making some curried rice and red lentils for a healthy, protein-packed dinner.
Soy milk is a great non-dairy milk replacement, and tofu tastes delicious in place of chicken for any dish. Try this mixed vegetable tofu stir fry the next time you’re thinking about ordering sodium-packed, greasy Chinese take-out.
I add chia seeds to my Greek yogurt every morning for an extra boost of healthy fats, protein and fiber. Seeds also taste great in oatmeal or as a quick snack. Check out these five different ways to eat roasted pumpkin seeds.
4. Nuts and nut butters
Nuts can be added to almost any baked goods recipes for an additional boost of fiber and protein. They also taste great in homemade granola bars, or simply roast some almonds or pecans for a healthy, post-workout snack
Seitan, or “wheat meat”, is made from gluten, which is the main protein of wheat. So if you are allergic to gluten, do not replace your meat with seitan, but for those of us who can tolerate gluten, seitan tastes great in place of meat in almost any Asian dish.
6. Ezekial bread
Sprouted grains + no added sugars = the healthiest bread out on the market.
Quinoa can be made either in a small pot or a rice cooker. The next time you can’t decide what to make for lunch, try making this protein-packed and vegan apple-citrus quinoa salad. If you’re looking for a more savory dish, check out these spinach and quinoa stuffed tomatoes. They make great appetizers, but they are also great for a light lunch or dinner.
8. Dark greens
Spinach, kale, broccoli, and other dark greens are great sources of protein and fiber. Whether you eat them raw or steamed, you will definitely be getting your needed daily doses of nutrients with these nutritious plants.