Think eating meat is the only way to build your muscles? Think again. The secret is a balanced diet, which can come from a variety of meatless foods. For example, plant-based foods, such as legumes (beans), grains, nuts and seeds, are excellent choices to provide protein and energy (no supplements required).
Check out these tips from eatright.org for building muscle without consuming meat:
- Eat five or six small meals per day that not only include protein, but also fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, healthy vegetable oils (such as olive oil) and plenty of water.
- At least half your calories each day should come from carbohydrates, which fuel your muscles. For example, someone on a 2,000-calories-per-day diet would have about 250 grams of carbohydrates.
- Fats are necessary for building muscle and supplying energy to muscles during workouts. Good sources of fat include olive oil, almonds, walnuts, avocados, and canola oil. Aim for a daily intake of 20 percent to 35 percent fat.