Aside from putting in the time and effort to build muscle, there are plenty of foods that can be essential to gaining bulk. In fact, those who want to get the best results are certain to benefit from doing both – so before you plan out the perfect exercise regime, it’s worth taking the time to craft the ideal diet for maximum results.
The only downside to this is that finding the right information isn’t always a simple task. With so many resources, facts and sometimes contradictory advice, it can be hard to know who to trust.
Fortunately for anyone out there who’s interested in finding the best foods for muscle growth, our team here at Mr Meals has got you covered with the top 10 foods and meals, alongside top tips from experts to help you with building body mass in other ways.
The 10 best foods for building muscle
Starting off with one of the best snacks you can have when you’re feeling puckish, almonds are high in protein and when eaten in moderation hold several benefits for muscle gain. Vitamin E, phosphorous and magnesium are all components that almonds are rich in, making them even better.
They can help with healing cellular damage from exercise and help to satisfy your cravings between meals, but their high-calorie content is important to keep in mind.
Chicken, especially chicken breast, is well known for being one of the best foods out there for muscle gain. If you haven’t already been eating chicken as part of your diet, there’s no better time to start than the present if you’re hoping to see results.
In just 85 grams of chicken breast (3 ounces), there are 26 grams of protein – making it an absolute powerhouse in any muscle growth meal plan. There are also plenty of vitamins in chicken too, all of which will help to keep your body functioning as it should be, as well as generally promoting the growth of muscles.
Popular for being quite versatile, highly effective, filling and generally tasty in meals, it’s not hard to see why chicken has a place in essentially any diet. All in all, if you need protein for muscle growth, chicken is one of the best choices, especially if you eat it without the skin.
3. Cottage Cheese
Those without much experience in muscle gain might be surprised to hear that cottage cheese can actually be an excellent food choice, especially if you eat some before going to bed. This is because of its high levels of casein, a slow-digesting protein that can help your body to get the influx you need, even when you’re in a state of relaxation like sleep.
Low fat cottage cheese is typically the best option and in every 226 grams, you ingest leucine (an essential amino acid for muscle gain) and 28 g of protein. Even so, some may choose to consume a higher fat product to get a few extra calories – it all depends on your needs and goals.
While many people are aware that eggs can be a key ingredient for muscle growth, far less actually understand why they can be so beneficial and may even overlook them because of it. As well as being excellent for weight loss diets, eggs have plenty of proteins, healthy fats and nutrients, all of which are great for the body when trying to build significant gains.
Aside from the properties that make them worthwhile, they are filling too – and having them as part of your breakfast could help to reduce your food cravings throughout the day, allowing you to limit your meals only to the foods that you need.
5. Gnocchi with Rosemary-Walnut Pesto
If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly meal option, you’re in luck – as the gnocchi with rosemary-walnut pesto dish is perfect for gaining muscle or weight loss dietary needs. To make it even better, it’s also a delicious meal that you’re sure to enjoy.
Gnocchi, cauliflower, rosemary-walnut pesto and more all make quality meals that offer everything you need to get the most out of your weight gain.
Another food that can help muscle grow is kale. While fairly well known for its potential in muscle development, there are still many people who don’t include it in their diet plans. If this is you, you could be missing out significantly right now.
Kale is easily one of the best foods, mainly because of how much iron is stored within it. Iron is necessary for helping oxygen to circulate to muscles, for boosting repair after exercise and so much more. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which can help to make intense workouts feel less strenuous on your body, helping you to further your progress.
7. Lamb with Rocket Beetroot Salad
Another dish we would recommend you check out is lamb with rocket beetroot salad. Lamb is an excellent meat for your diet, providing a rich source of iron and general muscle growth, repair, function and stamina. Overall, it has everything you need.
Alongside the healthy salad, sweet potato, crumbled feta and an aioli dip, it’s a delicious meal that packs a punch for those who want to eat well without missing out on flavor.
8. Lean Beef
Any diet for muscle gain should include some unprocessed lean beef. With high-quality protein, B-vitamins, iron and more, it has plenty of nutrition and minerals to aid you on your journey.
High levels of zinc (which is essential to body healing after exercise and testosterone development) is another advantage that you can get from eating lean meat. It’s also good for weight loss too, which is another great point to consider if you’re hoping to do both.
One particular benefit is that lean red meat can boost how much lean weight you gain through training, so it can certainly be worthwhile to implement it into your diet if you’re hoping to see rapid muscle growth.
9. Portuguese Chicken Wrap
High in protein and incredibly healthy, the Portuguese chicken wrap meal is an excellent way to get the nutrients you need without having to sacrifice flavor. Ideal for a quick lunch or dinner, it’s an overall healthy dish that has everything you need; from iceberg lettuce, to succulent chicken. With our tasty sauce to top it all off, it’s a meal that you just can’t overlook.
You can also get it in either a muscle-building or weight loss meal option, like the other foods from Mr Meal, so depending on what kind of diet you’re following, you’ll be able to get a delicious wrap that suits your requirements.
Alongside the gnocchi meal mentioned earlier, tofu is an excellent choice for any vegetarians who want to build muscle. A common meat substitute, you’ll get plenty of carbs and soy protein, which is generally considered to be one of the best plant proteins. Since it’s made from soy milk, tofu is also rich in calcium, which is essential for muscle function and bone health.
With everything that tofu has to offer, it’s not hard to see why it’s commonly regarded as the perfect substitute to meat in any vegetarian’s muscle growth plan.
Top 10 tips to help build muscle
Foods alone aren’t going to carry you through to your goal and even with proper exercise, there could still be a variety of things that you won’t consider that could make all the difference. Bulking tips are essential for this reason, since they can often provide small yet crucial insight on how to make the most out of every second of your journey.
With that in mind, we wanted to share our top 10 muscle building tips:
1. Exercise smart
It may not always cross our minds, but choosing your exercises wisely can make a significant difference to the results you see. For example, choosing one that requires multiple joints and muscles (like a dumbbell row) could be far more effective than bicep curls. This is just something to keep in mind if you’re not seeing the results you’ve been hoping for.
2. Consume whole foods as often as possible
At least 90% of the foods you eat should be whole foods if you want to gain as much as possible, as soon as possible. Anything that’s unprocessed and unrefined is a good choice, so leaving out cereal, frozen meals and anything that you know is processed is usually a worthwhile idea.
3. Eat a proper breakfast, every day
There’s no point in skipping the first meal of the day. It allows you to get some energy in your body, stay focused on the goal ahead and overall promote a healthier day – all thanks to getting a good start.
4. Add more fruit and veg to your diet
It may sound obvious, but it’s something that so many people forget to implement, especially if they’re trying to pack more chicken or lean meats into their diet. With vitamins, nutrients, fiber and much more, most greens and fruits can play a role in helping you to build the muscle you need. In general, you should aim to eat some with each meal when possible, especially if you’re looking for the best results, fast.
5. Drink more water
You may have heard of this for weight loss, but drinking more water can also be beneficial for muscle gain too. Water is essential to the body in several ways and if you’re doing a lot of exercise (which you’re probably going to be, if you’re serious about building muscle), you could be losing more than you think simply by sweating.
6. Consume healthy fats
Due to slow digestion, healthy fats can be a good tool in ensuring that you get the fat you need without putting on any unwanted weight. Just make sure that you’re careful of your intake and stay away from any artificial fats.
7. Get as much protein in with each meal
Since protein is imperative to muscle gain, it’s not surprising that it can be important to consistently give your body a good amount to promote muscle growth. A good rule of thumb is at least 1 gram/ 454 grams of body weight, which can be spread out throughout the day. Red meat, whey, eggs and more can all help you to achieve this in your regular meals.
8. Only consume carbs after a workout
Carbs are essential for energy, but you should only eat them when you need them – which is typically after working out. Fruit and veg in meals and whole grains post-workout can be a simple solution for getting the necessary carbs in.
9. Eat once every three hours
Avoiding food won’t help you out much. Instead, most will find that eating properly at the right times will make a significant difference. Alongside eating 3 meals regularly; snacks and small meals post-workout and before bed can be a great idea, spaced out throughout the day to keep you feeling satisfied.
10. Put in the work
Exercising every day is a great way to ensure muscle gain, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to push yourself to your utmost limits every time. Workout sessions don’t need to end in exhaustion and fatigue. In fact, pushing yourself too far could stop your body from having a chance to grow. With this in mind, it’s always best to be mindful of what you’re actually doing if you want results.
Looking to get the best meals for building muscle?
As you can see, what you put in your body can be absolutely essential to your muscle gain potential. If you want to build body mass, there’s no denying that one of the best things you can do is compliment your exercise regime with foods that are high in protein and rich in nutrients. A good meal plan for muscle gain can be an excellent way to ensure that you’re getting everything you need.