You already know that a high-protein diet and regular workouts are the key to gaining muscle mass, but do you know which foods to choose for the best possible results? Here, you’ll find seven of the absolute best foods that build muscle along with tips for incorporating them into your daily diet.
1 – Eggs
Eggs have always been high on the list of favorite foods for bodybuilding. They’re one of the best sources of protein around, and they’re so versatile you can incorporate them into absolutely anything. A single egg contains about 75 calories, and each of those calories is packed with nutrition. You’ll get good cholesterol, lots of B vitamins, and plenty of vitamins E, K, and A. Most importantly, eggs are one of the best foods that build muscle because they’re packed with amino acids your body needs for post-workout recovery and muscle synthesis.
2 – Oatmeal
Your body needs fuel to function. While sugars and fats can certainly act as fuel, complex carbohydrates are the best option when you need plenty of energy over a long period of time for strength training. Consider a bowl of oatmeal after a hard workout, or if eating oatmeal in its traditional form doesn’t seem appealing, look for recipes for homemade oatmeal energy bars that are as delicious as they are satisfying.
3 – Coconut and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Not all fats are bad for you. In fact, they’re some of the most important foods that build muscle on this list. Coconut and olive oil (extra virgin has a lighter taste) are great sources of slow-release energy you can count on throughout your day. Unlike other fats, these oils won’t end up on your hips, thighs, or abdomen in the form of body fat.
4 – Avocadoes
Avocadoes are super foods that build muscle. They’re delicious, nutritious, and easy to add to your diet. These little green pear-shaped fruits contain large amounts of vitamins and antioxidants that will help keep you healthy and strong. Avocadoes have been clinically proven to support heart health, as well, which is important for getting the most out of your workouts. Add them to your favorite sandwich, smash them and serve on a bagel instead of cream cheese, or make some guacamole with tomatoes, onions, lime juice, garlic, and avocadoes.
5 – Lean Meats
Boneless, skinless chicken breast is by far one of the most popular foods for building muscle. Very few of its calories come from fat, and a single serving contains about 21 grams of protein. Even though chicken is considered the “norm”, you shouldn’t discount lean beef or pork. Lean beef contains roughly 30 grams of protein per serving, and lean pork contains 22 grams of protein. Look for tenderloins, which are lean, tender, and quick-cooking.
6 – Nuts
The monounsaturated fats found in nuts are incredibly beneficial when it comes to muscle growth and trimming away body fat. A recent study published by the American Diabetes Association found that diets high in monounsaturated fats could boost the body’s ability to shed body fat, particularly around the belly area. What’s more, nuts are also packed with protein. Peanuts contain about 25 grams of protein per 100 grams, cashews contain 18 grams of protein, and almonds contain 21 grams of protein.
7 – Sweet Potatoes
Last, but most certainly not least, sweet potatoes are a great way to get some extra nutrition into your diet. They’re one of the best foods that build muscle thanks to their healthy carbs. Another reason you should consider adding these orange tubers to your diet has to do with their natural sugars. When you can satisfy your cravings, you’re less likely to reach for sugar-laden snacks, which can interrupt metabolic processes and leave you feeling less than energetic in the end. Try them roasted, mash them with honey and cinnamon or a touch of maple syrup, or even use them to make healthy oven-roasted French fries.
There are plenty of foods that build muscle, but not all of them are as healthy as the seven on this list. What’s more, these foods are all versatile, which means you can enjoy them regularly in dozens of different ways. Try incorporating them into your diet today, and you’ll soon feel and see the difference in your body.