Since my friends discovered that I’m running a website about vegan protein, now they always come to me with questions regarding their own diets. One of the questions I get asked the most is about vegan breakfast:
“What is a good vegan breakfast for someone who wants to get lean and grow muscles?”
After answering that question dozens of times, I decided to write a post on it. So here it goes:
The Importance of a Vegan Breakfast
Everybody knows that the breakfast is one of your most important meals, since you’re just waking up from 8 hours (hopefully) of not eating anything, so you’re both hungry and depleted. And with a long day ahead of you, it’s paramount that your vegan breakfast fuels your body with energy and nutrients.
As a rule, if you’re physically active and looking for muscle growth, your breakfast should be rich in both proteins and calories. Proteins are the building blocks for your muscles, and calories are the energy your body uses to do stuff (exercise, work, walk around, etc).
Now, while you theoretically COULD eat just one giant vegan breakfast, the truth is most people wake up with their stomachs too empty – and if they eat too much they’ll end up feeling a bit nauseated and/or with a stomach ache. I’m one of them, so I know exatcly how it feels.
Therefore, if you wake up early (8am or earlier), then I suggest you break it into 2 meals – Breakfast#1 and Breakfast#2. This is good not only because you can eat more in total (essential if you’re trying to build muscle), but also because it’s better for your metabolism to eat less food in each meal and split your diet into many meals throughout your day (5-7 meals).
So talking about your vegan breakfast, your first meal will be immediately after waking up (like 7h30am), and the second one will be a smoothie about 10h30am. If you wake up later than that (let’s say 9am), then I suggest your second meal should take place close to 11 AM. Just keep in mind that you should be having lunch by 12h30, and you don’t want to ruin your lunch because you had too much for breakfast. You’ll have to experiment with it and find the sweet spot in your routine that allows for 2 breakfasts and still you’ll be hungry around noon.
Oh, and before you ask: “Can I have the smoothie first?”, I will say: “No”.
But it’s just from personal experience. The smoothie is a cold drink, and people usually wake up a bit colder than usual, so drinking the smoothie will only make you even colder. Besides, the smoothie takes a few minutes to prepare, and I wake up so hungry that I just want to eat something as quick as possible. And as a third point, the smoothie is easier to digest because it’s liquid, so you’ll get hungry again quicker – right on time for lunch 😉
#1 BREAKFAST – BANANAS & PEANUT BUTTER
- 2 Mashed Bananas (1g prot + 200 Kcal)
- 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter (9g prot + 188 Kcal)
- 2 Tbsp Oatbran (5g prot + 35 Kcal)
TOTAL #1 = 15g PROTEINS + 423 Kcal
#2 BREAKFAST – VEGAN PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
- 250ml Coconut Milk (1.5g Prot + 156 Kcal)
- 1 Banana (1g Prot + 100 Kcal)
- 1 Handful Frozen Blueberries (1g Prot + 70 Kcal)
- 2 Tbsp Oatbran (5g prot + 35 Kcal)
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (0g prot + 117 Kcal)
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds (3.5g prot + 70 Kcal)
- 1 Scoop Vegan Protein Powder* (22g prot + 100 Kcal)
TOTAL #2 = 34g PROTEINS + 648 Kcal
TOTAL #1 + #2 = 49g PROTEINS + 1,071 Kcal
Wow! With those two delicious meals, you easily ingest almost 50g of proteins and over 1,000 Kcal before lunch. And we’re not even talking about the dozens of benefits from the chia seeds, coconut oil, blueberries, etc. This is a healthy and powerful way to start your day!
It’s important to notice that – if you’re trying to LOSE weight – this breakfast may not be ideal for you. But if you’re currently trying to put on some muscles without adding too much fat, this is the way to go.
And don’t be scared about the “one thousand calories” thing, because here we’re talking about healthy sources of energy. It’s completely different from eating a big mac with fries (also 1,000 Kcal, but from obviously unhealthy sources).
Now back to you:
The first thing you should do is find out how much protein you ACTUALLY NEED (HINT: It’s NOT 2g per pound like bodybuilding magazines usually state). This is a helpful resource to help you with that:
And since you’re going to use a vegan protein powder in that smoothie, then I recommend you check out this guide to make sure you’re not buying a low-quality product that tastes like dirt.
In that article you will find links to detailed reviews of each product. Right now the best “bang for your buck” vegan protein powder in the US market is the ORGAIN ORGANIC PROTEIN. But on the guide I mentioned above you’ll get to know more about the different brands and who are they for.
But it’s important that your understand that, while vegan protein powders can be delicious and also help you reach your optimal daily protein intake, you should not rely TOO MUCH on them. What I mean is: make sure to eat lots of real food – not ONLY supplements.
And talking about real food, here’s a list with vegan foods that are very high in protein:Use that list to create a healthy diet with plenty of variety.
So there it goes, now you know how to make a healthy vegan breakfast that is rich in proteins and will provide you with a lot of energy for your day. Well, actually two of them 😉
Of course you can experiment with other ingredients and you don’t need to stick with the same menu every day, but it’s nice to have a “go-to” breakfast that helps you build muscles and stay healthy. I just shared mine!
Hope it helped, cheers!
PS: Since we’re talking about how to get enough protein in your diet, you might wanna check out this new Vegan Cookbook with muscle gaining recipes!