Updated: Jul 5, 2021
I think one of the most frequent questions I get asked when I talk about losing fat and building muscle on a vegan diet is 'what do you eat to hit your protein goals without going over your macros?!'
I'm not going to lie, sometimes, especially when you're in a calorie deficit, hitting your vegan protein goals can be challenging, as many vegan proteins are high in carbs or fat.
(side note: If you want to know how much protein you should be eating on a plant-based diet to reach your body composition goals; check out this post).
Building Muscle on a Vegan Diet
I'll be honest, one of my biggest motivators to get into shape and achieve a lean physique was because someone told me I couldn't do it on a vegan diet. Seriously, they told me that I wouldn't get enough protein if I was plant-based. Well, because I am incredibly stubborn it was game on!
As you can see, I managed to prove this person (who is also a PT), wrong ;)
So, what do you actually eat?
OK, so back to the discussion in hand, wtf do I actually eat in a day? Well, it varies depending on where I'm at with my diet.
If you've read my previous post, you'll see that I recommend up to 1g of protein per lb of body weight. So that's the first thing sorted. I aim for this whether I'm on a fat loss diet, maintaining or building muscle, so that stays fairly consistent through the year at 130 - 140g per day.
The next things to figure out are the fats and carbs, and this is where it can get a bit trickier if I'm in a calorie deficit. However, once you get to grips with different vegan proteins it's easy to stay on track!
Staple Vegan Proteins When Dieting
OK, so the key to maintaining lean muscle mass and maximising fat loss when dieting is to keep protein high - between 0.8 - 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight, depending on how active you are. So, what should you eat?
Here are some great vegan protein staples;
So what's on the menu?
OK, so let's get down to the nitty-gritty then and actually talk menus! When I'm following a fat-loss plan, i.e. I am specifically dieting with a goal of losing 10-15lbs and/or drop 5-6% body fat, then I create 1 meal plan which I will follow for the week, and then change it up every week until I'm at the end of my fat loss phase.
Below is a 7-day high-protein vegan meal plan, which I'll eat for a week, then, on Sunday, I will plan and prep a whole new menu for the following week.
This ensures that my meals stay fresh and exciting and I don't get too bored and stray off track!
(click the image above to download your free meal-plan with recipes & full calorie + macro breakdowns)
The above also includes a workout shake which I will have just before and during, to help fuel my muscles while weight-training.
When I design my fat-loss meal plan, I always make sure that I structure my carbs around my training so as to fuel my muscles & help with recovery, but it's also important to keep post-workout fats to a minimum, as fat can slow down the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, and the focus post-workout is to get protein and carbs to the muscles as quickly as possible.
To get the full downloadable meal plan with all the recipes, complete macro break-downs and exact amounts, just click here.
There are plenty of vegan options when planning your own fat-loss diet, but the trick is to keep protein high! If you're unsure of exactly how much you should be eating on a vegan diet to lose fat, you can sign up for my ultimate vegan fat loss program which delves into this in much more detail and also comes with 12 weeks of sample vegan weight loss meal plans, as well as ongoing support in the private group!
It's given me incredible results and allowed me to get the strong athletic body of my dreams - all on a plant-based diet!
However, this program is only for you if you're a self-starter, driven and motivated to get long-lasting results, improve health and performance and get the physique you've been working for, and stop relying on other people to do the work for you!
Lemme know if you have any questions, happy to help :)
Or if you want to learn more about counting macros on a vegan diet and common pitfalls why you're not seeing results, check out my FREE masterclass, where I break down all this and more!