Building muscle is a balance between strategic strength training and an eating plan that includes proper protein and healthy carbohydrates while limiting refined sugars, processed food, and artificial ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the same salmon and kale for lunch and a dry chicken breast for dinner.
Here is a compilation of 25 muscle-building foods that can add variety to your diet and help you sculpt those muscles into flex-worthy shape.
1. Greek Yogurt: With more than twice the protein of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a great source to turn to when focused on muscle enhancement. Just be careful to look out for artificial colors, added sugars, and ingredients. Greek Yogurt also contains casein, a slow digesting milk protein to help keep you feeling full longer.
2. Black Beans: Don’t save these gems for taco night. Eating black beans provides you with vitamins B, K, C, and A which are low in saturated fats. It’s a high protein and fiber food that is low in calories. Yes, please.
3. Cottage Cheese: Also containing casein, cottage cheese additionally contains an average of 28 grams of protein in one cup! Choosing a low-fat cottage cheese is a great option provided it has not been supplemented with extra sugar or sodium.
4. Eggs: A whole egg is a perfect pick for a protein punch. And don’t get rid of the yolk! When trying to build muscle, the yolk contains beneficial nutrients worthy of consumption.
5. Broccoli: Not only is broccoli low in calories and filling, it also contains a significant amount of soluble fiber, which aids in fat loss. Who doesn’t love a fat loss bonus?!
6. Chocolate Milk: Another option containing the slow-digesting protein, casein, chocolate milk has been touted as not only a great post-workout recovery drink, but a good source of necessary carbs.
7. Almonds: These nuts stack up high when it comes to fiber and protein in comparison to most nut options. They also contain vitamin B, a vitamin linked to energize metabolism. Try Skinny Mom’s yummy Fruit and Almond Trail Mix, which are kid-tested and mommy-approved.
8. Raspberries: Raspberries contain the most fiber of all berries. A fiber-filled diet is imperative for proper digestion and muscle sculpting. The antioxidants can also help regulate metabolic rates and insulin sensitivity.
9. Avocados: Packed with monosaturated fat, the “good” fat, avocados can help eliminate weight from the midsection while containing a host of 20 different essential nutrients.
10. Quinoa: An option over grains that are high in amino acids, which sets it apart from most carbohydrates in your diet. Team Skinny Mom is quinoa-obsessed.
11. Apples: Offering electrolytes, carbs, and fiber, apples are a great post-workout snack and option for adding muscle mass to your physique.
12. Spinach: Not only known as a superfood, the calcium in spinach can help to relax muscles and prevent cramping during muscle training intervals.
13. Mussels: Just say yes to seafood, and especially these muscle-building mussels. High in protein and low in fat, mussels also contain B12, which is essential for active individuals.
14. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Another source of monosaturated “good” fat, extra virgin olive oil is a great enhancement to your salads and vegetable servings when in muscle-building mode.
15. Turkey: Turkey weighs in as one of the leanest meat options available. Packed with protein, turkey paired with vegetables can make for a hearty and muscle-friendly meal.
16. Oats: Oats are high in fiber, yet offer low sugar and carbohydrate options needed for lasting energy when muscle training. Look for whole rolled oats and avoid processed options. We love starting the day with Slow Cooker Oats topped with blueberries.
17. Carrots: Not only a source of vitamins, carrots are also rich in fiber and low in calories. They make an easy grab-and-go snack raw or can be cooked as a side dish with meals.
18. Green Tea: Green tea is a wonderful antioxidant and diuretic that has also been linked to fat loss and improved blood circulation. A perfect substitute for coffee when in muscle mode! If you haven’t tried the Detox Green Tea you are seriously missing out. Give it a go already!
19. Lentils: A perfect side dish with lean meats or vegetables, lentils offer fiber, protein, and slow-digesting carbohydrates most desirable when training to strengthen muscles.
20. Beets: Packed with natural nitrates, beets stand up to improve lasting performance when it comes to vasodilatation, or widening of blood vessels, which inhibits muscle growth.
21. Vinegar: Not only a nice pairing with your olive oil for salads, but when paired with carbohydrates, it acts as an agent to cause those carbs to be stored as muscle glycogen, rather than stored fat.
22. Brown Rice: A staple on most body builder diets, brown rice offers complex carbohydrates which lead to lasting energy for athletes. Look for whole grain options when shopping for this staple.
23. Venison: It may not be a meat that you come across often, but when you do, take advantage! Venison is high in iron and low in saturated fat and an excellent source of protein that packs flavor and nutrition.
24. Salmon: One of these best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon cannot be left off of any list for those who want to improve their physique. Look for wild salmon over farm-raised, which can be raised on corn and grain feed.
25. Oysters: Another seafood pick that offers the mineral zinc, oysters are rich in protein and help replenish muscles broken down from training.
Don’t let your meals become boring – add some of these foods for a good variety and watch those muscles grow!