When you hear the words "buff vegetarian," does anyone come to mind? How about former Mr. Universe Bill Pearl and six-time Ms. Olympia Cory Everson? These eye-popping physiques were both supported by a vegetarian diet.
It's more than possible to build lean muscle without eating meat. If it sounds crazy, keep reading.
Do you want to expand your grocery-shopping horizons, pack in new sources of high-quality nutrients, and still consume 150-plus grams of protein in one day? Well, you'll get all that and more from the meatless meal plan below.
So if your taste buds and food sensibilities are begging for a change? Ah! Not another chicken breast!? Why not try vegetarian for a day?
You don't have to eat like a rabbit, and you don't have to commit to lifelong veggie-worship to take vegetarianism for a test drive.
It's all about complementary proteins and taking in all of your amino acids, minus the meat. But let's skip the science and get to the mouthwatering recipes, shall we?
Breakfast Tofu and Spinach Scramble
Mid-afternoon Meal Greek Yogurt, Almonds, and Dried Apricot
Lunch Portabella and "Sausage" Pasta with Spinach
Snack Edamame, Hummus, Whole-grain Crackers
Dinner Meatless Nachos
Dessert Protein Pudding or Low-Carb Smoothie
Tips: To make protein pudding, start with a very small amount of liquid and mix the protein powder and liquid together until it forms a pudding like texture. Casein protein or protein blends tend to work best for the pudding effect.
You can also add a bit of almond butter, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, nuts, or blueberries to make a fancy dessert.
You can even add almond or peanut butter to your protein smoothies for a boost of healthy fats and a creamy texture.
If you choose to include a high-protein dessert, you'll add between 130 and 200 calories to your day, and 1 scoop of most protein powders includes at least 20 grams of protein!
The Take-Home Lessons
There you have it?1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for someone weighing 154 pounds. If you want more or less protein?or if you're trying to get below 2200 calories?this meal plan can be easily modified.
Here are some ideas: Scramble egg whites and add them to your lunch and dinner. Add whey protein to your Greek yogurt. Use two scoops of protein powder instead of one, or add in another protein shake with water sometime during the day?perfect for a post-workout meal.
On the other hand, you can always cut down the portions of meals, leave out the quinoa for the day and drink an extra protein shake instead, or skip the guacamole.
Remember that you're not baking a souffle here. It's not food science. You can replace any ingredients you don't like with ones that you do. Mushrooms gross you out?
Try grilled zucchini or asparagus. You won't always get the same nutrient breakdown, but the calorie count should be close enough to keep you on track with your fitness goals.
Vegetarians can't build muscle? Think again.