Muscle gain is a fitness goal for most of us. Just like fat loss, lean muscle gain is based on two crucial factors. These are a high protein diet and resistance training.
All three food groups are crucial to build muscle. However, protein plays a significant role in building muscle. It also helps with recovery and strength gain. Rightly called the molecule of life, protein is the best muscle gain food.
If you are looking for protein sources to build muscle without gaining excess fat, here are guidelines to structure your muscle building diet.
How to Gain Muscle?
Eating balanced nutritious meals is the key to building muscle, along with overall discipline. In regard to discipline, consistency is the most important. Hydrating adequately, sleeping well, staying active, are certain practices that make gaining muscle easier.
As for diet, a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats ensures muscle growth and repair. Most foods are packed with carbohydrates and fats.
It makes finding high protein foods difficult. However, there are certain ingredients that are titled best for muscle gain protein. The following section holds lean vegetarian protein sources that help build muscle.
Top 12 Vegetarian Sources of Protein to Build Muscle
1. Greek Yogurt
In smoothies or as salad dressing, Greek Yogurt is a lean source of protein. 100 grams of Greek Yogurt has over 10 grams of protein.
Additionally, a Greek Yogurt benefit is better gut health. It promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.
Quinoa is not just a high protein food, but it is also a great alternative to rice. This has a low glycemic index and does not spike blood sugar level. Half a cup of quinoa has 4 grams of protein.
Quinoa can be consumed as the main dish or an elaborate salad.
One of the best vegan protein foods for muscle building, tofu gives 23 grams of vegan protein for 200 Kcal.
Made from soy, tofu is relatively easy to digest compared to whole beans. It means you can consume large portions of tofu and build lean muscle!
Millets are recommended in muscle building and fat loss diets. High in protein but low in calories, millets are a powerhouse of nutrients.
Not just a muscle building food, millets have health benefits too. They help balance sugars and promote good gut bacteria.
Try this Millet Dosa premix from Prolicious.
5. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans or rajma are a versatile source of vegan protein to gain muscle. It can be a soul-satisfying meal of rajma rice or something as exotic as a Buddha bowl.
Alternatively, you can prepare high protein brownies with mashed kidney beans too.
Peanuts are an exceptional source of good quality fats. With 71% fat and 17% protein, peanuts make the best muscle gain protein.
You can add peanuts to a salad for some crunch, munch on them as a mid-meal snack, or make a salad dressing using some peanut butter.
Chickpeas have a high carbohydrate and protein content. One cup of boiled chickpeas has a whooping 15 grams of protein!
Moreover, chickpeas are full of fibre. High protein intake may cause digestive issues. The fibre from chickpeas helps tackle constipation, bloating, among others.
Paneer is the classic protein to build muscle. To build muscle, you need to eat in a surplus. Paneer is high in good fats, therefore high in calories.
100 grams of paneer gives 300 Kcal with almost 20 grams of fat and protein, each.
9. Chia Seeds
Similar to chickpeas, chia seeds are consumed as protein food to gain mass. One serving (50 grams) offers 8.5 grams of protein.
Over 50% of the calories in chia seeds come from heart healthy fats. This high fibre protein food has substantial calories too.
10. Green Peas
Not just a source of protein to build muscle, green peas are a superfood. Green peas are an excellent source of fibre, vitamins like C and K, and minerals like manganese.
One cup has 130 Kcal with 9 grams of protein.
11. Soy Milk
A derivative of soy, soy milk is the ideal vegan high protein alternative to animal milk. Soy milk is a convenient way to up the protein intake in your beverages like tea, coffee, milkshakes.
Liquid calories are easier to consume which makes soy milk a great protein for muscle building.
A handful of almonds has over 10 grams of protein. Loaded with good fats and antioxidants, almonds can be consumed as butter, milk, or as it comes.
Pairing almonds with some fruit makes a quick pre-workout snack.
High Protein Muscle Building Recipes
Peanut Butter Smoothie
The simplest high protein muscle building recipe is a peanut butter smoothie. All you need to do is blend the ingredients together.
Take half cup oats, one large banana, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and some honey.
Pour it in a glass and garnish with some pumpkin seeds.
Cottage Cheese Scramble
High in protein, high in flavor, a cottage cheese scramble makes for a toothsome meal.
Saute onions and tomatoes in ginger garlic paste with green chilies. Add spices like red chili powder, turmeric, and some salt. Add in crumbled paneer and cook for a minute or two.
Serve this with toasted bread slices or warm roti for a filling meal.
Banana Date Milkshake
An all-natural high protein recipe for building lean muscle is a banana date milkshake. It is the healthier answer to dessert cravings.
To one glass of full fat milk, add four Medjool dates, and a large banana. You can add some almond butter or soaked almonds.
Cocoa Chia Pudding
Soak chia seeds in milk overnight with some cacao powder. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon and sea salt, and some vanilla extract. Mix everything well together.
The following day, top it with some fruits, seeds, and nut butter. Alternatively, you can melt some dark chocolate in coconut oil and spread it on the chia pudding. It creates a chocolate shell.
Mac n Cheese
Boil a cup of Prolicious High Protein Pasta. Make a gluten-free white sauce using cashews, nutritional yeast, seasonings like garlic powder, salt, and black pepper powder.
Mix in the boiled pasta with the white sauce. You can add some veggies like sweet corn, broccoli, green capsicum, carrots, and more. This makes for a high protein, high fibre meal.
If you’re looking to build muscle, the above-mentioned ingredients must be added to your diet. They are high in protein with a good calorie content that helps build and repair muscle efficiently. Having a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is crucial for overall wellbeing.
These high protein recipes can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as protein rich snacks!