The Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet: It Can Be Done

The Vegetarian Bodybuilding Diet – It Can Be Done!

Vegetarianism and bodybuilding – two words rarely seen together, I’ll give you that.

But there are some advantages to be gained from adopting the veggie lifestyle for a few meals a week.

Depending on your current goals, dropping that topside of beef for a tofu steak (I can’t believe what I’m writing) could reap big rewards.

If you’re looking to trim down, switching meat for a veggie friendly source of protein can save you a lot of calories from fat.

michael scott broccoli gif

Plus, if eating even slightly rare beef has you running to the bog, then the added fibre from some of these suggestions could be just what you need.

Or maybe you’re just trying to impress some hippy chick you met as Glasto this year and she won’t go near you if you’re smelling of Nando’s, so you need to make the change (is any girl worth giving up Nando’s for though?).

So I won’t leave you waiting, here is a list of some foods that you could consider adding to, or swapping into, your current nutrition plan.

1) Tofu

When eaten raw this might be the most disgusting food on the market, but something about it allows it to soak up any flavour you want to add to your dish, making it somewhat edible.

Nothing you can do about the texture though I’m afraid.

It is, quite frankly, horrendously rubbery – like trying to ingest an industrial packet of johnnies.

Tofu is made from soy beans and can be found in various forms of firmness, the firmer the better (that’s what she said).

Also, the harder it is the higher the protein content will be.

A standard serving usually packs about 16-18 grams of protein so you may need to double it up to match the protein level of your standard chicken breast.

tofu gif

2) Nuts

Nuts are a staple of most nutrition plans but usually as a snack.

Add them to meals to pack in some extra protein and increase the levels of healthy fats.

As well as adding protein and fat to a meal, nuts will often pack in a whole bunch of micronutrients, from vitamins A and E to potassium and phosphorus.

Being natural, nuts also come with a fairly high amount of dietary fibre as a Brucey Bonus.


Almonds should be number one on the list.

If these are not in your diet, BUY THEM!

A decent serving can pack a whopping 21 grams of protein as well as all the minerals that they come with.

Cashews, chestnuts and hazelnuts also come with anywhere from 15-18 grams of protein and pack the most fibre.


Peanuts are a great addition but, be warned, they also come with a whole load of fat.

However, when you get 26 grams of protein with them it can be seen as a fair trade.

And please, no comments about how a peanut is really a legume – it has ‘nut’ in the name, OK?

3) Beans, seeds and legumes

They are not going to change the world or blow your mind, but add beans, seeds and legumes to a meal to bulk them up a bit and add a little extra protein and fibre.

Most types of beans won’t push more than 10 grams of protein per serving but they are virtually fat free, so that’s a plus.

The really great thing about beans of any kind is that they are cheap.

So for all you student bodybuilders out there, get into some beans and build some muscle!

The big name in seeds is quinoa.

While this shouldn’t be your sole protein source for a meal, if you exchange your rice for this South American seed you can add in some much needed protein.

4) Eggs and dairy

If you are a real life veggie consider going lacto-ovo.

It will make upping your protein intake much easier in the long run.

Another staple of the bodybuilding diet is eggs.

Use just the whites if you want a big protein hit or use the whole thing to make a more rounded meal.

Cooked any way you like, eggs are always a great way to fill a hole (ooo matron).

Then from the dairy side of the spectrum comes a whole range of other protein options.

Of these, cottage cheese, yoghurt, cheese, milk, and, of course, whey and casein protein are the best options out there.

milk me meme

All of these would be great food choices to add to any dish.

With the cheeses and some yoghurts it would be wise to watch the fat content you are adding to your food but other than that they are sound.

Not a lot I can say about whey and casein protein powder that hasn’t already been said.

Check out our article on ‘What protein should I get?’ for more information, but, again, both of these should be part of your nutrition plan anyway if you require a higher amount of protein in your diet.

Sounding off

So there you have it – the vegetarian bodybuilding diet.

Maybe now Glasto girl will give you a second chance, or you can just cut a few calories from your diet.

If you try any of these let us know how you got on, and, if you want some serving suggestions or want to share any suggestions, let us know in the comments section below.

And, as always, get lifting.

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  1. Hey Charles, I just looked your post and I found that it’s nice but do you actually think that only the above mentioned diet could lead you to a great physique?

    Don’t you think that workout supplements are needed to have a great physique?

    What’s your opinion about this?

    1. Mike I wouldn’t have these foods alone in any diet.

      You certainly need a good balance of carbs, protein and fats but these can be added into a nutrition plan to add something extra or replace an especially unhealthy food option.

      Technically you don’t need any supplements to build a solid physique, just look at people like Reg Park.

      But realistically it is a lot easier and cheaper to hit all your nutrition goals with the help of supplements.

      Especially the protein powders out there.

      It’s best to think of diet and supplements as a room and the decoration of the room.

      You can have the best decorations in the world but if your room (aka diet) is missing a whole wall you will be buggered.

      Make sure you’re diet is rock solid before heavily investing in a host of supplements.

      That’s what i’d recommend

  2. What do you think about vegetarian protein supplements like these, have you tried any of them:

    1. They are great if you are a really strict veggie but they don’t contain as much protein as whey or casein.

      Also the soy based protein powders taste pretty horrible.

      I haven’t tried one where they couldn’t quite get the soy taste covered up which is pretty unpleasant.

      And there are some reports of some peoples’ estrogen being increase from soy protein which is not ideal.

      I think that is quite rare though.

  3. Yes, but would you say that peanuts are more of a legume? 🙂

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Great information here though.

  4. I have been trying to become vegetarian just because I love animals and hate the idea of eating them.

    Good for the ones that are better than me doing this!

    It just didn’t work well for me – I eat huge amount of foods especially meats.

    I believe some people look great and do really well on vegetarian diets.

    In my case legumes are hard to digest and give me water retention, same as dairy.

    I just stay away from soy products.

  5. Hi Charles, awesome to know that a vegetarian approach towards bodybuilding can be achieved!

    I have one question, you have mentioned replacing a meat protein with that of tofu.

    I have read mixed reviews regarding tofu (and all other soy products) that it contains high levels of estrogen, whats your thoughts?