A Vegan Bodybuilder’s Favorite Foods

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

When you think bodybuilder, a muscle-bulging, Schwarzenegger prodigy probably comes to mind. Yes, they exist. But bodybuilders and fitness competitors come from all different backgrounds and don’t all look, think, train or eat alike. So you can nix the notion that they’re all meat-loving, Neanderthals. In fact, many animal lovers have proven that veganism and bodybuilding can easily go hand-in-hand.

Vegan Bodybuilders Eat Lean and Green
Vegan protein powder mixed with spinach and bananas is simple, scrumptious and completely sufficient for a plant-based fitness buff.


The nutrition needs for a vegan or vegetarian fitness competitor or bodybuilder are special, because they need to pull high-quality protein from sources other than meat or dairy. This rules out all whey protein powders, which are the easiest to find and often have the tastiest flavor varieties. So what’s a no-meat athlete to do?

Vegan or not, all athletes need to meet the same nutritional goals to pack on pounds of lean muscle mass: high protein, low carbs and healthy fats. The biggest difference is you’ll need to get a little more creative. You’ll rely on these foods for energy, muscle-building protein and stomach-filling fiber and fat:

1. Protein-rich nuts and nut butters in moderation, mixed into homemade trail mix or spread on top of whole grain waffles after a strength workout

JNL trainer tip: Powdered peanut butter is vegan-friendly, has 85% less fat calories than normal PB and can easily be poured into smoothies, yogurt and just about anything!

2. Omega-rich seeds to sprinkle into smoothies or on top of your morning oatmeal

JNL trainer tip: Vegans can make the perfect replacement for an egg by mixing ground flaxseed with water and refrigerating until thick and gooey. Watch and learn more here

3. Fibrous carbs such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, beans and lentils which should find their way into most of your meals to keep you full on fewer calories

JNL trainer tip: Veggie-based soups are easy to prepare and are a lean-body’s best friend. Just be careful and choose low-sodium soup. Or, make your own with no-salt-added beans and vegetable broth

4. Plant-based protein powders, such as anything in Vega One‘s impressive line of plant-based fuel. Or try mixing in soy, hemp or brown rice protein with water for an on-the-go shake

JNL trainer tip: Add thickness to your vegan smoothies with almond milk, sunflower seeds and fresh or frozen fruit — your body will appreciate the extra vitamins and your taste buds will love the kick of flavor! 

5. Healthy oils with medium-chain triglycerides (coconut oil is a tasty choice for cooking) to support a healthy appetite and natural energy levels

JNL trainer tip: Use all oils sparingly, as they are high in calories. A tablespoon or two a day will get the job the done!