How to Build Muscles As a Vegetarian

  • 23 months ago
4 minute read.
How to Build Muscles As a Vegetarian

How much we use our muscles determines our muscular strength. Muscles enable us to be active and perform tasks such as moving or lifting objects. It also helps to pump blood through our bodies and even breathing.

When we think of muscle building, the first thought that crosses our mind is a hearty non-vegetarian diet. But that’s a misconception. A well-balanced vegetarian diet for muscle gain that incorporates plant-based protein is as efficient as a non-vegetarian diet, with lower health risks.

Vegan diets have been popular for several years. A vegan diet consists solely of plant-based foods; however, unlike vegetarians, vegans exclude all animal-derived items, including honey and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese. Studies have shown that vegans have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who consume animal-based products. Both vegan and vegetarian diets are wholesome and support muscle growth.

Vegetarian Muscle Building Diet Plan

So let’s discuss a vegetarian muscle-building diet plan.




Early morning 


Nuts and dried fruits

1 Glass

 1 Small Fistful


Paneer lentil paratha / Sprouts salad / Radi idli with sambhar


2 No. 

1 Glass / 1 Bowl

Mid-morning snack 

Seasonal whole fruit

1 No. / 1 Bowl


Vegetable salad

Lentil curry / Paneer vegetable / Sambhar

Seasonal green vegetable

Roti / Dosa / Rice

Curd / Veg raita

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

2 No. / 1 Bowl

1 Bowl

Evening snack

Coffee / Lassi / Buttermilk

Hummus with veggie sticks / Cottage cheese (with salt and pepper)

1 Cup / 1 Glass

1 Bowl 


Salad / Soup

Lentil / Sambhar

Seasonal vegetable

Roti / Dosa

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

2 No.

Post dinner 


1 Glass

1] Distribute your protein intake throughout the day

Protein is the primary component of muscular tissue that helps retain muscle mass while promoting muscle growth. But, before loading your serving bowl with protein-rich foods, figure out your daily protein requirement. Protein has a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight just to maintain your muscle mass, however in order to gain muscles one needs to try and consume at least 1 gram to 1.5 gram protein/kg/body weight. The best way to meet the daily requirement is to have different types of vegetarian or vegan foods.

  • Milk: A cup of milk provides 8 grams of protein. Vegans can opt for Soy milk. Soy and soy products like soy chunks and tofu contain 10-12 grams of protein per cup.
  • Legumes: Legumes include lentils, beans, and chickpeas. Beans such as black, pinto, and kidney beans provide up to 15 grams of protein per cup when cooked. Cooked chickpeas have about 13 grams of protein per cup, while cooked lentils have about 18 grams per cup. Legumes are also high in magnesium, a micronutrient that aids in energy production and muscle contraction.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are essential for muscle building. They’re high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashew, pistachios, peanuts, and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds are highly nutritious.
  • Cottage cheese: It’s a good choice for muscle growth. One cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 28 grams of protein, including a significant amount of leucine, an essential muscle-building amino acid.

2] Don’t skip carbs

Carbohydrates are essential in your vegetarian muscle-building diet plan. Complex carbohydrates serve as a source of energy for the body during strength training. The Daily Value (DV) for carbohydrates is 300 grams per day and approximately 67 grams of fat when consuming a 2,000-calorie diet. Have whole grains such as brown rice, oats, or quinoa which are healthy carb sources. Cooked brown rice contains 52 grams of carbs in one cup, whereas cooked quinoa has about 40 grams of carbs per cup. Oats are highly nutritious; one cup of cooked oatmeal contains 55 grams of carbs.

3] Increase iron intake

Iron plays a central role in carrying oxygen throughout the body and making red blood cells. If the body doesn’t produce healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, it could potentially lead to anemia. Legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of iron.

4] Combine foods to promote muscle growth

The body cannot produce essential amino acids. Therefore, it is crucial to eat complementary proteins, i.e., consuming at least two protein sources in one meal. For breakfast or post-workout, consume a glass of milk or a bowl of oatmeal with added nuts and seeds. Eat a bowl of nutritious legumes and whole grains for lunch. Eat a handful of nuts and seeds for snacks, or blend them with your smoothie for additional protein. And for dinner, have cottage cheese or tofu salad with seeds and sautéed vegetables of choice.


A healthy vegetarian diet for muscle gain should include a variety of foods rich in essential micro-macro nutrients. Protein-packed foods allow your muscles to recover and grow after strength training. Carbohydrates and fats provide energy for exercise and physical activity. At the same time, iron helps to produce hemoglobin and keep you healthy. Vegan or vegetarian, include these nutritious plant-based foods in your diet to achieve the muscular physique you desire.

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