These foods are great for various reasons; most of the foods are high in protein while some contain certain elements that will help you pack on lean muscle like never before.
The foods we want to focus on contain a well balanced variety of both essential and non-essential amino acids. The foods that contain both of these amino acids, necessary for building muscle, are known as “complete proteins”. We want to find foods that contain complete proteins because they are the best for building muscle tissue.
Most of these muscle building foods are low in carbohydrates because they are derived from animals so you need to still eat carbohydrates. Concentrate on eating these foods that build muscle during every meal along with some type of complex carbohydrate food like whole grain cereal or oatmeal. This combination of eating will give your body the energy and nutrients it needs to build muscle fast!
1. Muscle Building Food – Chicken
- Chicken is probably my favorite muscle building food because it is cheap, easy to cook, and great in about 1000 recipes. Chicken is really high in protein, has no carbohydrates, and very little fat. One chicken breast has around 25 grams of protein and only about 130 calories. This makes it great for almost any time of the day or night.
You will want to get skinless chicken breasts because they are low in fat and cholesterol. You can cook chicken breasts a million different ways. Look around for some different ways of cooking chicken because chances are you will eat a lot of it and it could a little repetitive and old. I like to add spices to my chicken breasts because it keeps the flavor changing and also keeps the calories low.
You can cook chicken in the oven, on the grill, or on the stove. I like to start the grill up once or twice a week and cook a couple chicken breasts so I don’t have to cook them every time I want one. After you have them cooked, toss them in the fridge, and then later on just reheat the chicken in the microwave before you toss them in your meal.
2. Muscle Building Food – Red Meat
- Red Meat is great because it is high in protein and has something chicken and fish cannot offer you, creatine. Eating red meat will help you to naturally maintain your optimal creatine levels. I would recommend eating red meat about once a week. Red meat unfortunately tends to be higher in cholesterol and fat than some of the other muscle building foods but also should not be completely neglected.
If you are having trouble gaining weight, try switching to red meat. Red meat is higher in calories which might be just what you need to start putting on the extra muscle. Your body needs a surplus of calories to build muscle and switching from chicken to red meat might make all the difference. And if that’s not enough… red meat tastes delicious!
3. Muscle Building Food – Tuna
- Tuna is packed with nutrients and is really easy to prepare. Tuna contains all of the essential and non-essential amino acids required for your body to build and maintain new muscle tissue. Tuna is also packed with essential fatty acids. Make sure to buy tuna that is packed with water so you don’t pour out the necessary fatty oils when you drain the can.
You can make some great meals with tuna; my favorite being the classic tuna sandwich. I like to mix the tuna up with some miracle whip and sweet relish in a bowl. Then I just toss it between some whole grain bread and you will have a great lunch with the perfect muscle building foods.
4. Muscle Building Food – Egg Whites
- Eggs contain the one of the purest forms of protein found in whole-foods. They have a biological value of 93.7 which is a measurement of how efficiently the body uses the protein for growth. To give you a quick comparison, milk which also makes this list, has a biological value of 84.5. The yolk of the egg contains a lot of nutrients but also cholesterol. You can easily get these nutrients from other sources so I would recommend just tossing them.
Egg whites are also really inexpensive even with the rising price of food these days. You can get a dozen of eggs for around $2.00. I like to hard boil my eggs so that I can bring them with me for a quick snack or a meal on the go. To hard boil your eggs just boil some water on the stove, toss the eggs in and wait until they float which means they are done cooking. Finally, take them out and let them cool. I like to store them in the fridge until I am ready to eat them.
5. Muscle Building Food – Peanut Butter
- Peanut Butter is packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins & minerals, and dietary fiber; all of which are necessary for building muscle. Peanut butter is extremely healthy even with its high amount of calories. I would just recommend staying away from peanut butter if your goals are to be lean.
Peanut butter is probably the easiest muscle building food on this list to make. You can stick with the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich or try something different like peanut butter and yogurt. I know peanut butter and yogurt sounds weird but try mixing it up and dipping apples in it… its amazing!
6. Muscle Building Food – Kidney Beans
- Kidney Beans are a great source of dietary fiber and protein; both of which are great for building muscle. There are about 14 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving of kidney beans, which makes kidney beans a great supplement to any meal. Kidney beans are both a complex carbohydrate and a high protein source which makes them once of the best muscle building foods on this list.
I would recommend having them before 7pm because they are higher in carbohydrates and you generally don’t need that many late in the evening. However, they are high in dietary fiber so a large part of the calories will just pass through your body; so this shouldn’t be a big problem. Eat your beans!
7. Muscle Building Food – Cottage Cheese
- Cottage Cheese is a great source of both casein and whey protein. Whey protein is great for your muscles and has higher biological value than any food on this list. Because casein protein is a slower digesting protein; cottage cheese is great before bed. Having cottage cheese before bed will help your body build muscle while staying in an anabolic stage overnight.
Because cottage cheese can get a little boring over time try mixing a personal size yogurt in with a bowl of cottage cheese. I like to mix fat-free flavored yogurt with cottage cheese, this gives you around 20 grams of protein for building muscle. Also, some people like to mix fruit and a dash of pepper in with their cottage cheese to keep the carbohydrates lower while still benefiting from the muscle building power of cottage cheese.
8. Muscle Building Food – Broccoli
- Broccoli might not seem like the best muscle building food on the list but it is definitely a good one. Broccoli contains lots of nutrients that aid in the production and maintenance of new cells. Specifically broccoli contains a naturally occurring compound that works against estrogen “the female sex hormone”. This is important because with less estrogen your body becomes become more efficient at burning excess fat.
In addition to containing special compounds broccoli is high in fiber and contains special cancer-fighting pytochemicals. Foods high in fiber are great before bed because the fiber will not convert to fat while you sleep. Broccoli may not be high in protein but it is a food that should be in your muscle building diet.
9. Muscle Building Food – Milk
- Milk is one of the best natural muscle building foods on this list. Milk has a biological value of 95, which means the body uses it very efficiently for building muscle. Milk is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained easily during anytime of the year. Milk is great at almost any time of the day and great combination of simple sugars and protein.
Milk’s mix of simple sugars makes it great in the morning, after a workout, and a late night snack. It will give your body a little extra burst of energy when you are running low. Milk makes the perfect natural post workout drink, second to that of a whey protein shake.
10. Muscle Building Food – Oatmeal
- Oatmeal contains the perfect ratio of carbohydrates and protein for a pre-workout meal. Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbohydrates which makes it a great food before your workout. Oatmeal’s nutrients will also fill your muscles with the glycogen they need to make it through a long workout.
In addition to being a great source of fuel for your workouts oatmeal is cheap and delicious. You can find tons of different flavors in the stores for only a couple of dollars a dozen. Oatmeal is a great way for any bodybuilder to stay healthy on a budget.