High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan – Build Muscle and Tone Up!
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Let’s be honest, vegetarians have a harder time following a high protein diet than people who eat meat.
If you’re trying to build muscle on a vegetarian diet, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself “how can I get enough protein?”
Equally, if you’re trying to lose weight and tone up with a high protein diet, I bet you’ve asked yourself the same question.
So, we’ve carefully created the High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan! We’ve also taken into account the difference in calorie requirements and made one version for building muscle and one for losing weight and toning up. The plans contain loads of quick and tasty recipes high in protein, ideal to support you with your fitness goals. See below for more details.
1. Our High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan
To cover a wider range of possibilities we designed each meal plan slightly differently. Due to differences in calorie requirements between men and women, Version One took a 5’6’’ 160 lbs female as an example. Version Two took a 5’9” male. Naturally either meal plan is suitable for any gender, please see the notes below on how to personalise them for your exact needs.
Version One: High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan for Weight Loss
The goal is to lose weight and tone up.
The daily caloric intake is 1600 kcal – and is geared towards a 5’6’’ 160 lbs female.
- 18% protein in a 1600 kcal diet equals 80g protein
- You’ll get roughly 0.5g of protein/lb
Version Two: High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan for Building Muscle
This meal plan is designed to build muscle.
The daily caloric intake is 2500 kcal – ideal for an avg. sized male (around 5’9”).
- 20% protein in a 2500 kcal diet equals 125g protein
- You’ll get roughly 0.75g of protein/lb
How to download and use the meal plan
Ready to get started? Simply sign up in the box at the top of this page, or visit this page to get your free copy of the high protein meal plan. From there we’ll send you an email, so keep an eye on your inbox and get ready to enjoy a week of tasty meals!
What kind of recipes are in the meal plan?
The below menu shows the meals included in the 2500 calorie version of the plan, which is designed to build muscle. In the full plan you’ll also find tasty extras and snacks to keep you satisfied and increase your protein intake throughout the week.
The 1800 calorie plan features many of the same tasty veggie meals, accompanied by different snacks and extras to reduce the total calories.
You’ll notice that we’ve included 3 days where you eat the previous day’s leftovers. This reduces the amount of time you’ll need to spend in the kitchen, making it even easier to stick to the plan.
The first day kicks off with 3 of our favourite recipes:
Plus, snacks and extras that we’ve included in the meal plan.
We’ve kept things simple by repeating day 1, so you can simply store and eat the leftovers without having to lift a finger in the kitchen!
The recipes for day 3 are high in both protein and deliciousness! We’ve also shaken up the snacks (which you can find in the plan.)
The fourth day brings in 3 new recipes, including our famous vegan chickpea curry which you won’t want to miss. As always, snacks in the plan.
Another leftover day. Sit back, relax and enjoy yesterday’s awesome culinary creations.
We’ve provided a fresh batch of high protein recipes for day 6 including our much loved overnight oats in a jar which are packed with protein and incredibly easy to prep!
You know the drill – snacks in the plan 😉
For the final day of the plan, simply enjoy the leftovers from day 6.
Note: We’ve created these meal plans in a way that most of you can use them. But of course you should be following your own needs. Luckily calories are super easy to adjust with our “meal add-on”.
Not hungry anymore? Stop eating or skip the snacks. Or is it just not enough? Support your dishes with another meal add-on or add some fruits, nuts, yogurt or hummus to the daily snacks.
You might think that the protein share in our meal plan is still not high enough. After all, it doesn’t reach the 1g protein/lb rule often promoted in the bodybuilding world – although that’s a contested issue, as you’ll see further on down.
Of course it’s possible to amp up the daily protein intake as a vegetarian to that amount. But let’s do two things first: see what options we have and read up on how much protein we really need.
2. Vegetarian Protein Sources
If you eat a bowl of yogurt with oats as a snack and some cheese in a sandwich or in a salad then you’re already having a decent amount of dairy.
The jury is still out on dairy in terms of overall health benefits. It’s a source of saturated fat and the current guidance is that we should reduce our amount of saturated fat consumption – it should not make up more than 10% of the calories in our diet. There is evidence that reducing saturated fat lowers the risk of heart disease and so until new evidence suggests otherwise we should aim to reduce it.
To eat 2-3 cups of cooked legumes you will probably need to spread that over two meals. In my opinion that’s enough. Here’s why: first, the more beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils you eat the more of a fart festival you’ll be.
Second, even though legumes are considered to be super healthy in mainstream medicine, there is some controversy about the dangers of their high phytic acid content. Phytic acid makes it more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium. BUT: if you cook legumes properly you reduce the phytic acid amount to a safe degree. Still, like with everything – better not to overdo it.
Actually, let me post that Lentil Bean Salad in here, so you can give it a try right away!
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup tomato puree
- If using dried red lentils then prepare according to package instructions (or just add 1 part red lentils to 1.5 parts of water with a little salt in a pot. Bring it to a boil and then let the lentils simmer for about 12-15 minutes depending on how soft you like them. Season with a little more salt, when the lentils are cooked. Alternatively you can cook them in veggie broth for extra flavour).
- Meanwhile cut the spring onions and bell pepper. Also grate the garlic.
- Get a big bowl and throw in all the ingredients, including the lentils and beans.
- Finally, if using, add the tomato sauce (as much as you like), give it a stir, do a taste test and, if necessary, season one last time with salt and pepper.
Soy belongs to the family of legumes. But it deserves a separate paragraph as it’s used in so many meat replacement products. There has been concern over the years that soy might be bad for us – but an evaluation of the literature on soy suggests it is beneficial for us for lots of reasons. It can help lower our cholesterol, risk of heart disease and of certain cancers.
As always, moderation is key. But there doesn’t seem to be any issue with soy being part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Grains (Bread, Pasta, Rice, Oats, etc.)
Grains are a great way to accompany almost any dish. Be it oats in your yogurt, brown rice with a veggie curry or a slice of bread for your soup. Plus they contain a decent amount of protein.
Of course ramping up on grains also increases your calorie count a lot due to their high carb content. That again can lead to fat pads above your muscles 😉 So be mindful of how much of them you eat – but don’t be scared of them, either!
Nuts & Seeds
It’s great to have them in your diet, not only for protein but as they are often rich in other nutrients like iron and omega 3. But nuts also seem to be linked with a reduced overall risk of mortality – making them an awesome snack!
By increasing your protein intake through nuts, you’ll move up your overall calorie intake a lot as they are incredibly nutrient dense – so although they’re super tasty, maybe just keep them to a handful!
Are healthy and among other nutrients are an awesome source of protein. I personally think two a day is enough though. I mean seriously. This literally means you have 2-3 chickens running (or standing) around somewhere producing eggs ONLY FOR YOU.
When I see high protein recipes calling for 6 egg whites I can only shake my head. It’s the epiphany of “I don’t care, I need to look good. Me”. At some point it’s got to go beyond me and my body.
Green Vegetables and Leaves
The more the merrier. We should try to get some greens on our plates every day, ideally twice. If you eat more greens to improve your protein intake, you probably won’t get health problems, nor will you put on weight.
The only downside is you’ll have to eat loads! I’d love to see you munch two bunches of broccoli a day for 18g of protein. Difficult task.
As vegetarians these are most of the options we have, when we’re looking for protein. As you can see many of the sources are best in moderation.
This is reason enough for me to put the first priority of our vegetarian high protein meal plan on balance. If you focus first on adding as much protein as possible it is likely to result in an unbalanced diet, which might lead to health problems.
3. How much protein do vegetarians actually need?
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is at 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight (0.8g per kg). By percentage that would be roughly 10% of your daily caloric income. Note that is the minimum requirement for a non-active sedentary person to not get sick. That means a full-on couch potato would just get by on that daily intake.
The amount of protein you need a day depends on your goals. But in general, if you want to build muscle you need more protein than if you just want to maintain your weight. A higher protein intake is also likely to be beneficial for weight loss because it improves satiety – meaning you won’t feel like you need to eat as much.
The more protein the better?
In the bodybuilding world often times 1g of protein per pound is recommended in order to make sure you don’t lose any “gainz”, but the validity of this rule has been doubted in the past. The most recent research suggests anywhere between about 0.70g of protein per pound of body weight up to 1g of protein per pound seems to be the sweet spot for building muscle.
There are also concerns about the dangers of high protein diets in those with a long term health condition like chronic kidney disease – if you have any medical reason why you think a high protein diet might not be safe for you we would advise you to speak to your doctor.
Although there isn’t a definite consensus as to what the optimum amount of protein a day is for building muscle, we’ve made sure that the protein intake in our meal plan falls in line with the latest research. And sure, you could have a bit more protein – but we’ve made sure there’s enough of it while still keeping the overall quality of the diet high.
We have to admit that the question “where do you get your protein, bro?” is not such a bad one after all – especially if you’re pursuing fitness goals. But just filling up the meal plan with vegetarian high protein recipes and then just sending you off is not our style. This post has been prepared to give you as much information as possible as a vegetarian seeking a high protein diet.
For a vegetarian it is definitely possible to get in loads of protein in a healthy diet and this is what we’ve done with our meal plan. Though getting all the way up to the “bodybuilding rule” of 1g/lb is tough – and probably not necessary. You’ll still be able to get some great gainz without doing that!
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve answered some common questions we received about the meal plan, but if you can’t find an answer please let us know in the comments.
What if I don’t want to make one of the meals?
If you don’t like some of the recipes or just want to skip one, no problem! Simply cross them off the meal plan. Each meal in the plan is assigned a letter, which corresponds with the grocery list so you can remove them there too and not worry about buying food you won’t use.
How many people is the plan designed for?
The meal plan is designed for one person and the nutrition and grocery list is based on this. You can easily adapt it though if you’re cooking for more than one though. Each meal in the plan links to the recipe on our website. The recipes include a handy tool that lets you enter how many servings you want to make and it will automatically update the ingredients needed – nifty huh? Just make sure to also update the grocery list in the plan where necessary.
Are there different versions of the meal plan?
Yes, there are two meal plans. A 1600 kcal/day (designed to help you lose weight and build muscle) and a 2500 kcal/day (designed to help you build muscle). If you want to tweak the plan based on your own individual calorie intake calculations, we recommend modifying the snacks to reach your daily calorie limit. Alternatively you can always vary the calories of a meal by adding or removing certain ingredients to adjust to your individual level.
Can I still drink whilst following the plan?
This is completely up to you, but for best results we recommend avoiding sugary soft drinks and alcohol, and sticking with water, tea and coffee instead.
When should I start with the high protein vegetarian meal plan?
Begin whenever you like!
Life after the meal plan
Your high protein diet journey probably won’t end after 7 days. We’re confident many of the recipes in our meal plan can become staples in your household, but we realise that you may want to shake things up and try new dishes once you have the basics down!
We’ve got hundreds of delicious and healthy recipes online already. Just use the search on our main page to find your next favourite, or click the link below to browse our high protein selection.
See you in the gym!
We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition. It makes no claims in respect to weight loss or building muscle, either in terms of the amount or rate at which said could be achieved. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.