Building muscle is hard work, but if you think all you have to do is lift heavy to grow, you’re dead wrong! Here are 10 foods that are sure to pack on muscle in no time!
Does your diet lack creativity?
Do you find yourself eating the same old boring foods?
A dull diet is a common issue for those who are looking to build muscle or improve training performance. Unfortunately, sometimes we can become so obsessed with eating the right foods that our meals become a habit, and we end up not even tasting our food.
When trying to build muscle, our diet can sometimes even become a little repetitive since certain foods work so well.
That’s no way to eat!
Some variety is essential for long-term nutrition and enjoyment of life. So, before you reach for another bowl of oatmeal or a plain grilled chicken breast, consider some of these other easy to find and common muscle building foods to add a little spice and variety to your diet.
What Are Some Powerful Dairy Sources to Help Build Muscle?
It’s true: Your mother was right! A glass of milk really is good for building muscles and bones. Whether you choose dairy milk, nut or soy milk, you could expect up to 10 grams of protein per 246 grams. This is an efficient 1 gram of protein per 11.8 calories.
This nutrition packed food could give you a massive 10 grams of protein in only an average cup. With that said, you should stick to non-dairy or skimmed milks to avoid adding additional fats into your diet. While you will be drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, be sure to add in a glass or two of milk for a greater protein boost.
Cottage cheese has a reputation of being a boring and bland food, but it can also be a great addition to nutritious and flavorful meals. It is also low in fat, so you will build muscle not fat.
Cottage cheese is packed with complete protein, with 28 grams in each cup. The form of protein found in cottage cheese is casein. This type of protein offers a stable and slow rise in blood amino acid. It can also keep the rise elevated for much longer.
Cottage cheese is a great source of phosphorus, calcium and B vitamins. There are 138 milligrams of calcium and 303 milligrams of phosphorus in a cup. Since calcium is needed for proper muscle function and phosphorus is needed for DNA structure, this can be very beneficial for those wanting to build muscle. Cottage cheese is also rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin B2. Of course, riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is needed to activate the enzymes and convert food into a useable energy source.
What Are Some Powerful Poultry Sources To Help Build Muscle?
Chicken is a great standby protein for muscle building, but it need not be in the form of a bland grilled breast. Rotisserie chicken is a mostly cheap and great go-to meal when you need a quick snack.
It is available at almost every grocery store and supermarket. Providing you choose a free-range option, you can enjoy a no hormone dinner. Chicken is a lower fat meat option, but it still provides a powerful protein punch. It offers 18 grams of protein per 100-gram portion. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B6, B12, B2, D, E, and K.
Eggs are truly the best friends of everyone trying to build muscle. But, they are surprisingly often overlooked. They are a great source of protein with 6 grams contained in the average egg. Eggs are also a high-quality and inexpensive protein and are totally flexible to add to any dishes. Over half of the protein contained in an egg can be found in the egg white. So if you are concerned about the cholesterol in the yolk, just stick to egg white dishes. Egg whites are rich in Vitamin B6, B12 and D. They also provide a great source of selenium, copper, iron and zinc.
Eggs can be incorporated into just about any dish. You can add an egg to burgers, sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes. Just be sure to add them to low-calorie and low-fat options because you’re still trying to build muscle, not fat. Eggs can also make a quick and easy snack when you get home from the gym. Cook up a quick omelet packed with veggies, whip up scrambled eggs with wholemeal toast or simply boil up a couple. If you’re a movie buff, you can even try to drink them like Rocky. Just be sure to choose a free-range egg to avoid the hormones and chemicals fed to battery chickens.
What Are Some Powerful Shellfish Sources To Help Build Muscle?
Scallops are a cousin of the oyster and can provide a more cost-effective source of protein. Just as little as six ounces of scallops provides up to 35 grams of protein. It can also offer some excellent fatty acids to keep your body and mind running smoothly.
In fact, scallops are a great source of omega 3s, which promotes cardiovascular health. They can help to increase heart rate variability. Needless to say, a strong, healthy heart is essential for long-term stamina for your workout so you might want to consider these. Cook up a batch of scallops with some sweet potatoes and green veggies for the ultimate post lift treat.
We get it!
When it’s dripping in melted butter, it is definitely hard to see how lobster could be a healthy muscle building food. However, with up to 19 grams of protein per 100 grams of lobster, it is an excellent low-fat source.
Lobster is also low in cholesterol and a good source of omega 3s. These nutritional benefits can facilitate the reduction of blood pressure and boost your cardiovascular health. Lobster also contains an abundance of phosphorus, which enhances kidney function and can lessen joint pain. This could help to alleviate the post workout burn and help you to get back to the gym quicker to continue lifting huge weights sky high.
What’s the drawback to eating lobster? Unfortunately, you do need to cook live lobsters. We suggest using lobster meat in carb-rich rice dishes such as risotto. You could also add it to your pasta dishes and salads.
What Are Some Other Powerful Sources to Help Build Muscle?
While lentils have a reputation of being the core of only a vegan diet, they are actually amazingly beneficial for any diet. There are several varieties of lentils to provide a different taste or texture to your meals. A cup of lentils contains 40 grams of healthy carbs and 18 grams of protein, making them ideal for mass gains.
Lentils are considered a superfood. Fortunately, even with their lofty status, they remain one of the cheapest foods to buy. With their long shelf life, you can store dried lentils in the back of your cupboard ready to use when you are in the mood for something different.
Lentils have also been shown to be beneficial to give you slow burning energy and stabilize your blood sugar levels. This can help with insulin resistance and reduce cholesterol levels. They are also flexible enough to incorporate into your diet. You can add them to salads, serve them over rice or use them instead of meat in your favorite meals. As an added bonus, lentils are packed with fiber and are also a great source of vitamin B6, copper, iron, vitamin B1 and folate.
This is another great plant-based source of protein, which is considered one of the very best muscle building foods. Tofu contains up to 48 grams of protein per 100-gram serving and is a great source of many other nutritional benefits. A 100-gram serving of tofu offers 184% of your recommended daily allowance of manganese.
Why is that important?
Manganese is needed to strengthen your bones and metabolize amino acids and carbs.
Research has also shown that tofu can be beneficial for increasing blood flow. It contains 24 grams of unsaturated fats, which when eaten after exercise increases arterial blood flow by up to 45%. This increased blood flow allows for increased levels of anti-inflammatory agents reaching your working muscles. While considered by many to be only a vegan food, tofu will help you to recover from training sessions faster.
Unfortunately, it can taste a little bland. The good news is that it takes on the flavors it is cooked with. You should avoid high salt sauces. Instead, add it to vegetable soups or other naturally flavorful dishes to avoid compromising all of that tofu goodness.
These little guys are an excellent source of good carbs. Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, contain 45 grams of slow release carbs, 12 grams of fiber and up to 39 grams of protein per cup. They can be a great substitute for other carb fillers such as grains or rice. Research has also shown that chickpeas are excellent for appetite suppression. Filling up on a chickpea-based snack such as hummus can also provide another positive side effect. It could prevent you from reaching for the processed snacks when all your calories have been burnt following an intense workout.
Chickpeas are also a great food for digestive support. Up to 75% of the fiber contained in chickpeas is insoluble, which remains undigested until it reaches your colon. This process aids in the production of short chain fatty acids to fuel the cells in the lining of your intestinal wall. This support of your intestinal cells reduces your risk of developing colon problems and helps to expel toxins and waste from your body. They are also a great potential source of manganese, copper, iron and zinc.
As an added bonus, chickpeas are flexible enough to incorporate into your diet. They can be added into soups, stews and many other dishes. You can also make some great snacks with them including roasted chickpeas or hummus.
Nuts and Seeds
You can’t go wrong whether you choose pumpkin, sunflower or watermelon seeds, almonds, peanuts or pistachios. Nuts and seeds can be a fantastic source of protein and nutrients. They come with up to 33 grams of protein per 100-gram serving and a wealth of other nutritional benefits including magnesium, selenium and omega oils.
Nuts and seeds are a great addition to your meals. A handful of them can also be a great snack. Add a selection of nuts and seeds to your breakfast granola to give you a carb, protein, and nutrient boost. You can also make a protein-packed granola bar for a delicious and nutritious post-workout snack.
Protein and carbs are an important dietary requirement for building muscle. However, there is no need to exist on the same old boring white rice and grilled chicken breast. How long can you put up with just that?
With these 10 great muscle-building foods, you can add some variety and spice to your boring diet. It’s real easy. Add some color and interest to your meals with red lentils. Switch your protein sources around by swapping out your boring grilled chicken for lobster, scallops or chickpeas. And, add in a nutritional boost with nuts and seeds.
This variety will increase the flavor of your meals and your interest in your diet. An interesting meal is a lot easier to eat than a boring routine meal. So begin by spicing up your diet and you’ll find you can get more enjoyment in your food and fuel your workout to hit even higher training goals.
By Lorraine Smithills
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