Best Food For Gaining Muscle


Best Food For Gaining Muscle Bodybuilding is a long-term commitment. It is not a sport that you can enter and succeed overnight. And when you talk about muscle gain and building muscles, it requires you to eat right and eat in moderation. If you are looking for the right food choices, here are a few things that will help you go through your bodybuilding journey with success.

5 Post-Workout Snacks for Muscle Building and Energy

Dietitian-Approved Foods That Can Help You Rebuild and Replenish. 

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OCT. 11, 2018   3 MIN. READ

Your muscles need to recover after a hard workout, but what’s the best way? Knowing what foods to eat and when to eat them can help you recover better and be ready for your next workout.

“There’s a window of opportunity in the hour post-workout,” explains Steve Hertzler, PhD, RD, nutrition scientist and dietitian with Abbott. “But if you wait too long to eat, this delays the refueling process in tired muscles and might impair your performance in the next workout or competition. This is especially true if there is a short time between competitions or if you are training more than once per day.”

Next time you hit the gym or the pavement, try one of these tasty dietitian-approved post-workout snacks for the energy and nutrients your muscles crave.

A Protein-Rich Shake

For optimal recovery, Hertzler recommends the 15-30-45 formula. That means consuming 15 to 30 grams of protein within 45 minutes of working out. To further enhance recovery, he suggests choosing a high-quality whey protein that’s free of fillers.

For a refreshing, protein-packed drink to refuel worn out muscles, mix two scoops of 100 percent whey protein powder with water and blend with one cup of leafy greens like spinach, a medium banana, 10 ounces of orange juice and a little ice.

Scrambled Eggs and Veggies in a Whole-Wheat Pita

Eggs deliver the highest quality protein, making them one of the best foods to eat after a sweat session. Scramble up two large eggs and you’ll get 13 grams of protein. While you’re at it, toss in a handful of chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms for extra vitamins and phytonutrients to speed muscle repair. Serve it in a whole-wheat pita pocket and you’ll score six additional grams of protein, plus 36 grams of carbohydrates to replenish depleted glycogen. Glycogen is a readily available, stored form of glucose and is used by your muscles for fuel when your blood sugar levels drop — think of it as your backup energy reserves.

Greek Yogurt Delight

If you’re looking for a snack to help you recover, a Greek yogurt parfait is a perfect choice. A single-serve container of non-fat plain Greek yogurt provides 17 grams of protein along with nearly 20 percent of your daily calcium, a mineral that’s lost during prolonged sweating. Simply combine the yogurt with one scoop of Whey Protein powder and one teaspoon of honey and mix well. Top with a few dark chocolate chips and fresh berries for a healthy dose of energizing protein and carbs.

Grilled Chicken Strips With Raw Veggies and Hummus

After a tough workout, the last thing you want is to undo all of your hard work with a lot of fat and calories. That’s where grilled chicken comes in. Two ounces of skinless grilled chicken strips deliver 16 grams of lean protein for only 82 calories. Pair them with a cup of crunchy water-rich veggies plus one-quarter cup of hummus and you’ve got a satisfying, low-calorie snack that’s guaranteed to stick to your ribs for hours.

Cottage Cheese

If you usually exercise at night, try snacking on a cup of cottage cheese afterward. Cottage cheese is packed with sodium to replenish lost electrolytes, so it’s great for supporting hydration. It also contains casein, a form of protein that’s digested slowly, making it a favorite before-bedtime protein source among athletes. With an impressive 28 grams of protein per cup, think of it as a smart strategy to feed your muscles while you sleep.

When you’re planning your post-workout snack, don’t forget fluids for rehydration. Carrying a water bottle is an easy way to guarantee you’ll have the liquid you need to rehydrate right after exercise, recommends Hertzler. Wash down your post-workout snack with a big glass of water for optimal recovery.

Best Food For Gaining Muscle

To build muscle, individuals need to consider nutrition alongside resistance training. Protein is a key macronutrient, but a person also needs to eat carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and avoid fatigue.

The importance of nutrition 

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Eating the right foods can help someone build muscle, recover from training, and maintain their energy levels.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) advises that consuming 1.4–2.0 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day is sufficient for most exercising individuals to build and maintain muscle mass.

People performing high-intensity resistance training may benefit from up to 3 g of protein per kg of body weight per day.

To build muscle optimally, individuals also need to consume enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and liver and help to avoid fatigue during training.

The ISSN suggests that consuming 45–55% of daily calories as carbohydrates is sufficient for a general fitness program. However, people who take part in high-volume training may require more than this.

Muscle-building foods

The following are foods containing protein to help someone build muscle. Some also contain carbohydrates and fiber, while many others contain beneficial micronutrients.


A boiled or poached egg contains 6.28 g of protein.

Eggs contain the amino acid leucine, which research indicates is essential for muscle synthesis.

Eggs are also a suitable source of B vitamins that people need to produce energy.


A medium chicken breast without skin weighing 120 g contains 35.5 g of protein.

Chicken without the skin is a low fat protein source that someone can easily add to different meals and recipes.


A cup of chopped turkey contains 37.23 g of protein, while a turkey drumstick contains nearly 27 g of protein.

Like chicken, turkey is a low fat protein source that is adaptable to different meals and recipes.

Greek yogurt

Five ounces (oz) of Greek yogurt contains 12–18 g of protein.

A person could add some carbohydrate-rich banana to their Greek yogurt for a healthy snack after training.

Cottage cheese

Part-skimmed cottage cheese contains 14 g of protein per half-cup.

Cottage cheese is also rich in calcium for healthy bones.


A 227 g salmon steak contains 58.5 g of protein.

Salmon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have health benefits, including preventing muscle loss in older adults.


Tuna fish is a suitable source of omega-3 fatty acids besides their benefits for general health and inflammation.

Research suggests omega-3 fatty acids may also improve muscle size and strength.

Tuna contains 7 g of protein per ounce.


Skimmed or 1% fat milk contains 8 g of protein per 8 oz, and high protein milk contains 13 g of protein per 8 oz.

As long as individuals tolerate milk, it can be a healthy choice to boost protein and hydration after exercise.

Milk also contains calcium which people require for healthy bones.


Dried beef or turkey jerky contains 10–15 g of protein per oz.

Jerky can be a protein-rich snack that people can easily transport when going to the gym.

Whey protein powder

Whey protein isolate powder contains 50 g of protein per 3 scoops.

If someone tolerates whey protein powder, they can boost their protein intake by making shakes and drinks.

Soy protein powder

Soy protein powder contains around 25 g of protein per scoop.

People who eat a plant-based diet may find soy protein powder a valuable addition to boost their protein intake. They can add it to a smoothie along with some fruit and plant-based milk.

Lean beef

Lean beef contains just over 23 g of protein per 4 oz. It also contains selenium, zinc, and iron, which are essential for energy and recovery.

Best Foods to Build Muscle

Striking the right balance between protein, carbs and fats is muscle food 101, but less familiar is the influence of nutrient partitioning – how your body decides whether calories from those nutrients are burned as fuel, stored as fat, or used to build new muscle tissue.

You might already be regularly munching some of the foods below, others may come as a surprise – but trust us, all of them will fuel your mission to build lean muscle. Load up your shopping trolley with our best muscle food picks.

The Best Foods to Build Muscle

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1. Whole eggs

Another day, another article touting the benefits of eggs. Those golden orbs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is essential for post-exercise muscle recovery. Whole eggs in particular are considered to be something of a protein synthesis powerhouse. In fact, eating whole eggs after a workout elicits a 40 per cent greater muscle-building response than consuming egg whites alone, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.

2. Salmon

As well as a huge helping of complete protein (around 20g per 100g serve), salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which optimise nutrient partitioning by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 increases insulin sensitivity, a study from Harvard University found, resulting in less insulin floating around in your bloodstream. A good thing, because insulin boosts fat storage. Just try to avoid reheating it in the office microwave.

3. Soy beans

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If your goal is building lean, green muscle, soybeans are your most dependable option. Unlike other vegetarian sources of protein, those little legumes contain all nine essential amino acids, making them an essential vegan muscle food. Tofu, tempeh, and most vegetarian meat alternatives are made out of soy, which boasts around 36 grams per 100g serve.

4. Pineapple

Fruit isn’t your a-typical bodybuilding fare, but an exception can be made for pineapple. It’s the only food known to contain bromelein, an enzyme that digests protein. Fun fact: pineapple is often uncomfortable to eat because the bromelain is digesting the skin on the inside of your mouth. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties will help soothe post-workout pain, tenderness and swelling.

5. Greek yogurt

As well as being loaded with fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein – around 10 grams total per 100g serve – Greek yogurt is a source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is crucial for muscle contractions, while phosphorus is essential for creating ATP (the form of energy your body uses). According to research by Baylor University, a mix of whey and casein protein is the optimum combination for increasing lean mass.

6. Garlic

Your co-workers may not thank you, but your biceps will. In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, garlic was shown to increase testosterone and lower cortisol in rats on a high-protein diet. How? It’s all to do with a compound within garlic called allicin, which reduces the amount of ‘stress hormone’ pumping around your body. Cortisol competes with testosterone in your muscle cells, so essentially less stress results in better gains.

7. Turkey breast

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At 29 grams of protein per 100g, turkey is another big protein hitter. It’s also high in zinc, which is essential for protein synthesis and helps your body maintain healthy levels of testosterone, according to researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan, US.

8. Kidney beans

Being higher in carbohydrates, beans and legumes are often overlooked for their leaner cousins. But these fibrous foods are essential for a healthy gut – something you depend on to absorb the nutrients, minerals and supplements required to carve lean muscle. Kidney beans contain the most, with around 8 grams of protein per 100g serve (and around 10 grams of fibre!). Pair them with a whole grain such as brown rice to make a complete protein.

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