Want the perfect workout program?Take Quiz
Fact checked by Andrew Lenau, ISSA CPT & Sports NutritionistFACT CHECKED
At first, high protein and veganism may seem like an unlikely combination. After all, if you can't eat platefuls of chicken and steak for every meal, how are you supposed to hit your protein goals?
Fortunately, we're here to tell you that you can still hit your macros while choosing plant based foods. Now being vegan may make it a tad harder, forcing you to get more creative with your recipes, but it's certainly not impossible.
No matter your diet, the concepts and principles for building muscle and losing fat remain the same. The main difference when following a vegan diet is ensuring you eat a wide variety of plant proteins in each meal.
This should begin with your first meal of the day, breakfast, as it'll get you on track to meet your daily protein count, while helping you feel full for longer. And if you're in need of some inspiration, we've got you covered!
We're about to go over 8 great high protein vegan breakfast ideas.
Table of Contents
Veganism in itself is a philosophy. Most people think you don't eat meat or seafood, but it's much deeper than that. It is a way of life that involves excluding any form of cruelty or mistreatment of animals. Being vegan means you forgo any food of animal origin and avoid products that exploit animals in any way.
As a vegan, you will avoid meat, dairy products, eggs, and honey. To take it a step further, as we mentioned, you will also avoid any foods that contain byproducts of animal agriculture, such as lard, whey, or gelatin.
A vegan may even avoid refined white sugar and some wines, depending on how they were processed, and also avoid the use of personal or household products that were tested on animals. In addition, vegans will avoid purchasing products such as leather, wool, or fur coats.
As you can see, being vegan is a complete lifestyle change, not just a diet fad in which you opt for produce and veggie protein sources. If you're a meat eater who has never considered forgoing animal products, you may be curious as to how vegans even begin to come close to hitting their protein goals.
Vegan diets include high protein nuts and seeds, grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and for bodybuilders, it emphasizes plant based protein. In addition, some vegans may opt to create dishes that resemble standard American fare, such as vegan hot dogs, ice cream, chocolate, vegan dairy creamers, or veggie burgers, to name a few.
It's now quite common at natural food stores to see at least one vegan option for every popular non-vegan food.
One reason that some, like many of these top vegan bodybuilders, turn to vegan food is that it is better for the environment and animals.
Vegans are able to feel their direct impact in fighting against animal cruelty and exploitation, and this lifestyle choice also immediately affects the earth's carbon footprint. We'll save the political battle for another day, but a vegan diet is a surefire way to reduce your impact on the planet.
Another reason to choose vegan food relates to its effect on your body. On average, vegans are much lighter than their meat-eating counterparts.
Some meat eaters may unknowingly have difficulty digesting all the meat they eat. When they switch to produce and plant based protein, they may lower their daily calorie intake without trying to do so, resulting in losing excess fat. They may also begin to feel better as their body begins to function correctly without all the cholesterol and saturated animal fat.
Plant food can leave you feeling healthier and happier. Vegans get all the nutrients they need from plant protein, fiber, and minerals. This often leaves people with higher energy levels than ever before and can even improve their workout performance.
All of these reasons circle back to the main draw of being vegan. It is a lifestyle choice similar to living with a higher purpose. You are no longer just thinking of feeding yourself. You're now thinking of your health, the planet, and all of the animals on it.
People can often confuse these two, assuming that because you don't eat meat following either diet, they can be used interchangeably.
But, there are differences. While high protein vegetarian meals don't include any animal flesh, including meat, poultry, or fish, a vegan takes it a step further, also excluding dairy, eggs, and any other ingredients that come from animals or the exploitation of animals.
Both diets will be full of fruits, veggies, grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, and imitation options that mimic popular non-vegan and vegetarian foods. In addition, vegans and vegetarians have popular commercial options that, although dairy and meat-free, are still highly processed and full of sugar.
So for both diets, it's critical to still look at the ingredients and not just trust the label on the front of the package.
So, what exactly are the best protein options that vegans can eat for breakfast? Here's a list of some of our favorite high protein vegan breakfast ingredients.
The key to looking at a list like this and then turning it into a delicious vegan breakfast meal like avocado toast, peanut butter overnight oats, a breakfast cookie, or chickpea sweet potato hash is in the recipe.
For vegans, what makes meals high in protein is combining several different protein sources to make a vegan breakfast recipe full of protein to help you maintain or build muscle. Everything down to the flour you use now has a unique purpose in crafting a tasty and protein-packed morning meal.
When following a vegan bodybuilding diet, you're going to get the highest protein amounts from tofu sources. In addition, finding a quality vegan protein powder will help you more easily reach your daily protein goals.
Beans and legumes, seeds, nut butter, and grains are all additional great protein sources. Don't feel limited to just standard breakfast items either. Get creative with it!
Here's a look at the highest vegan protein sources.
Beans & Legumes:
Nuts & Seeds:
Other Vegan Protein Sources:
Now that you know the types of high protein foods you should be focusing on, we're going to take those ingredients and turn them into protein-packed tasty recipes, perfect for any vegan breakfast.
Here are 8 of our favorite high protein vegan breakfasts.
This breakfast meal is a savory version of vegan pancakes, and the chickpeas give this dish far more protein that standard pancakes. A serving size is about four pancakes per batch, coming in at 253 calories, 10 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of protein.
Serve with chutney, vegan yogurt, or avocado to complete your savory breakfast experience. In addition, you can spice your pancakes up by including a dash of chili flakes, some red bell pepper, or even a serving of peas.
A smoothie bowl is a delicious breakfast dish that is easy to make and a great on-the-go breakfast option. It contains 685 calories, 25 grams of fat, 80 carbs, and 57 grams of protein per serving.
Almond milk will be your dairy substitute in this recipe. In addition, choose a good vegan protein powder, like some of these pea protein powder options, to complement the smoothie's flavors. Top with chia, flax, or hemp seeds based on whichever you like best.
This is a perfect vegan replacement for scrambled eggs. The recipe makes two servings, with one serving containing 240 calories, 11 grams of fat, 16 carbs, and 20 grams of protein. Make sure not to overcook the tofu as it gets crumbly.
Low-calorie, produce-packed options like these are what make the vegan diet so great for weight loss!
This overnight oats recipe is a great breakfast option for satisfying your sweet tooth. It makes one serving, containing 580 calories, 25 grams of fat, 72 carbs, and 23 grams of protein.
Soy milk is the critical vegan dairy substitute in this recipe, as well as flaxseed and chia seeds to complete your vegan oats.
Avocado toast is always a good breakfast or brunch option. This recipe, which serves 4, packs 413 calories, 24 grams of fat, 45 carbs, and 10 grams of protein per serving.
This quinoa breakfast delight makes two servings and, per serving, contains 400 calories, 7 grams of fat, 67 carbs, and 16 grams of protein.
This homemade protein bar recipe is a great breakfast option and also makes for an awesome on-the-go snack. The recipe makes around 12 bars, and per serving contains 166 calories, 6 grams of fat, 17 carbs, and 13 grams of protein.
Use a vegan protein powder and dairy-free chocolate chips to keep it vegan. And if you like the idea of a protein bar but don't want to go through the hassle of making it, check out these best vegan protein bar options!
This burrito makes four 3/4 cup servings, each containing 183 calories, 5 grams of fat, 22 carbs, and 16 grams of protein. If you dislike tofu in your vegan breakfast burritos, use chickpeas or black beans instead.
The key to successfully cooking high protein vegan breakfasts is in the details. Go through your recipe with a fine-toothed comb and choose the right ingredients, such as the correct flour type and a good milk alternative, that will offer additional protein. Remember, the more individual ingredients contain protein, the higher your overall breakfast protein count will be.
Many recipes also have a lot of "if desired" portions, so look closely to see if it's something you want to add. This is especially important when you're working with foods like tofu, which tend to take on the flavor of whatever else they're being cooked with.
And, if you decide that shopping, prepping, and cooking your meals takes too much time and brainpower, another option to consider is signing up for a vegan delivery meal service, which does all of the work for you, delivering high protein vegan dishes directly to your doorstep!
If you have lingering questions regarding making a high protein vegan breakfast, this section will clear them up!
First, find the high-protein vegan foods that work best for you and pre-plan your daily meals to ensure you hit your target goal. Eating a wide variety of plant-based protein sources throughout the day is key.
Seitan or tofu are the highest in protein. At close to 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces, seitan has close to 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces, while firm tofu contains 43 grams of protein per cup.
Overnight oats with protein powder is a fast and easy way to hit 20 grams. In addition, including tofu in your morning meal almost instantly guarantees you'll hit 20 grams.
Want more great high protein vegan meals? Check out our 7-Day Vegan Bodybuilding Meal Plan for a week's worth of delicious dishes!
At SET FOR SET, we strive to equip you with the tools and knowledge needed for your fitness journey. Our team of experts, including certified trainers, dietitians, and athletes, brings over a decade of industry expertise. Our goal is to be your primary resource for all fitness inquiries, guiding you toward a stronger and healthier life. Sign up to stay up-to-date!