We have mentioned several times that plant based foods do not usually deliver as much protein as meat. And in a lot of cases, that is true. Across-the-board plants and vegetables offer incredibly beneficial nutrients and enzymes, but not as much protein. However, there are a few non-meat food sources which are protein-dense, delivering more than enough protein to let you bulk up and tone your body weight plant based diet. There are basically 3 different ways to get significant amounts of protein in a vegan diet:
- Plant based protein powders
- Nut butters
- Other food sources of protein
There are about as many types of plant based protein powders as there are different kinds and varieties of vegetables. A quick check of some of the more popular powders shows protein delivery based on the following non-meat food products:
If you are a strict vegan, egg and dairy-based protein powder products are definitely out of your diet plan. That’s a shame, because milk, cheese and eggs can drastically boost your protein intake, making your muscle building efforts easier. However, you can still avoid dairy and get plenty of protein in your plant based diet.
Let’s look at a few examples of some of the above protein powder types. Most of these products carry labels such as dairy free, gluten-free, organic, and vegan, and they are all an excellent source of plant based protein.
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla
This is an example of a versatile plant based protein powder using peas, cranberries and hemp seeds to create a healthy protein source. Affordable at about $1 per 25 gram serving size, your muscle building efforts benefit from 19 grams of protein and 100 calories.
Garden of Life Raw Protein Vanilla
This particular protein powder delivers 17 grams of protein and 90 calories per serving. No artificial ingredients or unnatural nutrients are included. Your protein comes from brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, lentil and bean sprouts. Cost runs about $1.50 per serving.
Perfect Fit Protein Vanilla
You will see organic vanilla extract in a lot of protein powders. This is for flavoring only. In this particular product, you receive 15 grams of protein per serving, as well as about 70 calories and about $1 per serving. The protein here comes from a brown rice base.
Navitas Naturals Organic Hemp Protein Powder
Hemp is an excellent source of protein. This certified organic hemp powder delivers 16 grams of protein and 120 calories at about $1 per serving, while also offering 5 grams of healthy dietary fiber.
These products just give you an idea of what is available. There are literally hundreds of excellent plant based protein powders out there. (Expert shopping tip: Online shopping provides access to customer reviews, allowing you to browse different plant based protein powder offerings at your leisure, choosing the one that best suits your particular bulk-building or muscle toning needs.)
Nuts are the perfect plant based muscle building food. They deliver protein, some dietary fiber, a long list of minerals and vitamins, and even healthy unsaturated fats. Nut butters are a great way to ensure that you get enough protein to fuel muscle growth on a plant based diet. Follow these nut butter buying tips and you will make a healthy purchase every time.
- Steer clear of added sugar and salt. No matter what food you eat, you should always be reading labels. Some nut butters sneak in high levels of salt and sugar. For the healthiest choice, stick to those butters that only list nuts as their ingredients.
- Leave the “reduced fat” nut butters on the shelf. When fat is removed from many nut butters, it is replaced with dangerous additives and chemical flavoring agents. The unsaturated fat in nuts is good for you.
- If you need an energy boost, reach for the peanut butter. Super high in protein, peanut butter also delivers high levels of folate. This essential mineral delivers a healthy energy surge.
- Most nuts are calorie-dense. This is perfect for a muscle building, plant based diet. However, if you want high fiber and protein with one of the lowest calorie counts in the nut family, head for the almond butter.
- Walnut butter is extremely high in healthy Omega 3s. This makes it the perfect butter for heart health, which is important for any strength training and muscle building regimen.
- You need to have strong bones to support your new muscles. That means opting for cashew butter, which delivers high levels of magnesium, copper and other essential bone-strengthening nutrients.
Plant based protein powders and nut butters are excellent protein sources. But so are the following alternative protein providers for a vegan muscle building diet.
- Tofu is made from soy beans. It is used frequently in Asian cooking as well as vegan kitchens. Tofu is considered by many as one of the healthiest foods in the world, with a 113 gram serving delivering 164 calories and 21 grams of protein.
- Tempeh also made from soy, but it’s fermented rather than curdled. It delivers roughly 193 calories and 19 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. It is highly versatile, and some vegans prefer it to tofu.
- Think about adopting a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet as opposed to vegan. This means you include dairy and egg products into your diet. Muscle building and toning becomes much easier when you incorporate protein-dense foods like egg whites, milk, cheese and yogurt into your diet.
- Keep nuts handy for a healthy source of fat, protein and fuel. A handful of calorie-dense nuts helps your muscle building efforts in a number of ways.
- Choose quinoa over brown rice for a higher protein content. Quinoa also delivers a complete protein source, while brown rice does not.