We know that diet plays a major role in muscle building, but what else do we need to keep in mind when stocking our kitchens?
There’s a saying that floats around the fitness community: “Abs are built in the kitchen.” I think this is totally true.
Without getting the right diet, our bodies can become weak. All the time in the gym won’t help if we don’t fuel ourselves properly.
A poor diet, even with regular exercise, can still end up weight gain and poor health. So what do we need to do aside from just “eating healthy”?
I created Truth of Building Muscle to help others who are interested in fitness get the best information to help them gain muscle and see results. It’s important to me that we get the right food in our bodies and the right moves in the gym. So I’ve put together this guide of my top 10 foods you need to be eating to have the perfect muscle building diet.
For more info, check out the rest of my articles on diet!
Why having a muscle building diet matters
The fast answer to why having a great diet is important is “for your health.” This is obvious, but many people don’t see to put as much value on diet as much as they should.
If we were all perfect, fast food businesses would be out of business and superfoods would be on our plates all day. We’d also be extremely healthy and problems like diet-based diabetes wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, humans love sweets and everything that’s good for us simply can’t always compete with the taste of a good burger or cake. So, what do we do?
We need to remind ourselves that having a good diet is a lifestyle. We’ll need to change the way we think about food entirely in order to better ourselves in the long run.
The perks? You’ll have more energy and reduced risks for problems like cancer and heart disease.
10 foods you need to be eating to get a great muscle building diet
As a fitness specialist and food lover, these are the 10 foods you absolutely should stock up on in order to have a great muscle building diet!
Salmon tops my list for a number of reasons. Many people try and stay away from fish because they don’t like the taste or even the idea of eating a fish. The benefits far outweigh any cons I can find.
There are so many ways to cook salmon and integrate it into your food that taste should no longer be an issue. One favorite snack of mine is salmon mixed with greek yogurt and some hot sauce for additional flavor. Add in some boiled eggs for an extra shot of protein and you’re all food to go.
Salmon is extremely high in protein while remaining relatively low in calories. It is full of Vitamin D, selenium, and omega-3s. All of these promote a healthy body and heart. When combined with the protein found in salmon, this food is perfect for building muscle.
Avocados should be on the radar of anyone who wants to have a muscle building diet. It’s a versatile food that can be put into salads, breakfast, and even smoothies.
When it comes to building muscle, avocados are where it’s at! They are full of healthy fats, calcium, and magnesium. This sounds like a lot for such a simple food, but the benefits of these nutrients are all linked to better health and the increased ability to grow muscle.
Here’s another versatile vegetable that can basically go into a meal any time of the day. Sweet potatoes are full of fiber and this is great for those of us who need to help our digestive systems out a little bit.
Not only are sweet potatoes full of fiber, but they are also Vitamin E and Potassium!
It’s been found that Vitamin E is linked to better muscle growth and recovery, making it something that should be found within anyone who seeks a muscle building diet to improve their physique.
Some of the best nuts you can integrate into your diet are almonds, pistachios, and cashews!
Though nuts are notoriously high in calories, they are packed with tons of protein. As we know, protein is key to building muscle because protein sources are full of amino acids, which are like the building blocks of muscles.
As for nuts, they are also a great source of fiber to help keep our system clean and running smoothly.
Cottage cheese may be something you’ve avoided in the past and it’s time to stop. This excellent food is very high in protein, low in fat, and it’s low in calories. How could this food be a better combo for muscle gains?
It turns out that cottage cheese also contains key nutrients like calcium and phosphorous, which we know are necessary to keep healthy bones and muscles working.
Everyone is always raving and focused on how chicken is the protein source you need to be eating if you want to gain muscle. While chicken is great and should still be a dietary staple, don’t forget about turkey.
This food isn’t only around in November where you may binge on some turkey with your family. Try bringing it into your meals regularly to keep a well-rounded muscle building diet.
Turkey is a pretty inexpensive meat that contains tons of protein and low calories if you are eating the breast. Keep this in mind the next time you’re at the grocery store!
This fish is a great source of protein, but you need to be aware of the amount of mercury you’re eating at the same time. Unlike other sources of protein, tuna cannot be eaten every day if you want to maintain safe levels of this nutrient. 12 oz. a week should be your absolute max during weight training.
However, Tuna is full of great levels of omega-3 and a single can could contain almost half of a regular person’s daily protein amount!
Kale is the butt of many jokes, but you should be taking it seriously if you want to have a good muscle building diet.
This dark green vegetable is full of protein! It offers incredible health benefits like lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease. And it has plenty of Vitamin K, Iron, and Potassium!
We know that all balanced diets must contain proteins, grains, fruits, and some dairy.
Although rice has long been a part of the fitness community, it’s time to think about switching over to quinoa. Like kale, quinoa has been placed into the category of a “fad’ food among many people.
But quinoa is a must for those who want to grow muscle because it is yet another rich protein source while also providing us with complex carbohydrates. That’s right – not all carbs are bad!! Instead, quinoa can help you recover from a workout and get stronger in the process.
Mushrooms are my last super food when it comes to building muscle. They contain tons of iron but, perhaps most importantly, mushrooms are packed with Vitamin D.
For older people that are looking to increase their muscle strength, Vitamin D has been proven to help. This is a key bit of information for people of all ages because mushrooms can be added into many meals and offer tons of great flavor.
There are obviously a ton of other good foods that will support you in your muscle / strength building journey but I hope you got some new ideas out from my own favorites.
Meatless Diets And Building Muscle
And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, the top 10 list would look a totally different but meatless diets are just as good as meat diets in my opinion when it comes to building muscle so if you’re a vegetarian / vegan do not think that you’re missing out on anything because you’re not eating meat!
There are a ton of successful body builders, strength athletes, endurance athletes, etc. that eat vegan diets and they are competing at the highest level of their given sport.
There is nothing special in meat that makes you build more muscle compared to vegetarian / vegan options. It’s all about your own ethics and preferences in life and the good thing with these diets are that everyone can structure a plan that they enjoy following and making great gains with.
So that wraps it up. I hope you found this article helpful. What’s on your muscle building diet shopping list?