26 Muscle Building Foods


Protein-rich foods with low saturated fat are the best for building muscle. Don’t forget to include carbohydrates and fats. For best results, you’ll need a healthy diet and an exercise program.

If you want to build lean muscle, both nutrition and exercise are essential. You must challenge your body with physical activity, but your progress will be slowed down without the right nutrition.

For muscle gain, high protein foods are essential. However, carbohydrates and fats also provide energy.

You should exercise regularly and consume more calories per day, preferably from foods that build muscle.

Muscle building foods for lean muscle gain

1. Eggs

Eggs contain a high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients such as B vitamins and Choline.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Leucine is a key amino acid for muscle growth.

B vitamins play a crucial role in a number of body processes, including the production of energy.


2. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent choice for building muscle and improving your overall health.

Salmon is a good source of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acid, protein, and other nutrients.

Omega-3 fatty acid plays an important role in muscle health and can even increase muscle gains during an exercise program.

Piece of salmon

3. Chicken breast

Chicken breasts are a great source of protein. About 26.7 grams of protein are found in each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving.

The B vitamins B6 and niacin are also abundant in chicken breasts, which is especially important for those who are active.

The vitamins in this supplement will help you to gain maximum muscle mass by ensuring that your body functions properly when engaging in physical activity.

Some research suggests that a diet high in protein, including chicken, may help to reduce body fat.

Grilled Chicken Breast

4. Greek yogurt

Dairy is not only high-quality protein, but also contains a combination of whey and casein proteins that are both fast digesting.

Some research shows that combining fast- and slower-digesting milk proteins can increase lean mass.

Not all dairy products are created equal. Greek yogurt, for example, contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

Greek yogurt can be a great snack at any time but eating it before or after an exercise session may have a positive effect due to the mixture of proteins that are fast and slow digestible.

Greek Yogurt with berries

5. Tuna

Tuna is high in vitamin A, B12, Niacin and B6, as well as protein. These nutrients are essential for optimal health, energy, and exercise performance.

Tuna is also rich in omega-3 fatty acid, which can help to support muscle health.

It may be especially important for older adults. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow down the loss of strength and muscle mass that occurs as we age.

Fresh Tuna

6. Lean beef

Beef contains high-quality protein, minerals, and B vitamins.

Research has shown that eating lean meat while weight-training can help increase lean muscle mass.

It’s best to select beef that will support muscle growth without adding too many calories.

As an example, 3 ounces of ground 70% lean beef (85 grams) contains 235 calories with 16 grams of fat.

The same amount of ground beef that is 95% lean contains slightly more proteins, but only 148 calories, and 6 grams fat.

Lean beef

7. Shrimp

Shrimp are almost all protein. Each 3-ounce serving (85 grams) contains 19g of protein, 1.44g of fat and 1g of carbs.

Shrimp is a great way to add protein and build muscle without adding too many calories.

Shrimp contains high amounts of leucine amino acid, which is essential for muscle growth.

Grilled Shrimp

8. Soybeans

A half cup of cooked soybeans (86 grams) contains 16 grams protein, as well as healthy unsaturated fatty acids and several vitamins.

Soybeans contain a lot of iron, phosphorus, and vitamin K.

A deficiency in iron can affect your ability to store and transport the oxygen you need for your muscles and blood.

Iron deficiency is a serious problem for women who menstruate, as they lose blood during their cycle.

Bowl of soybeans

9. Cottage cheese

One cup of cottage cheese is packed with 28 grams of leucine, an important amino acid for building muscle.

Cottage cheese is available in a variety of fat contents. Cottage cheeses with high fat content, such as creamed versions, have more calories.

The best type of cottage cheese depends solely on the number of extra calories that you wish to add to your daily diet. It’s an excellent snack for building muscle, no matter which kind you choose.

Cottage cheese

10. Turkey breast

The protein content of a 3-ounce (85-gram serving) of turkey breast is around 26 grams, and there are almost no carbs or fats.

Turkey is a great source of niacin (B vitamin), which helps your body process carbohydrates and fats.

B vitamins can help you build muscle by enhancing your body’s capacity to exercise.

Turkey breast

11. Tilapia

Tilapia, although it does not contain as much Omega-3 fatty acids (as salmon), is likewise a high-protein seafood.

One (87-grams) fillet contains around 23 grams protein along with good amounts vitamin B12 and selenium.

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain the health of blood cells and nerves. This allows you to do the exercises you need to build muscle.


12. Beans

Many types of beans are good for gaining lean muscle mass.

Beans, including black, pinto and kidney beans, contain 15 grams of protein per cup.

They are also a good source of B vitamins and fiber, as well as being rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Beans are an excellent source of plant-based proteins.

They may also play a part in the prevention of long-term diseases and health.

Kidney beans

13. Protein Powders

While a good diet should be based on whole foods, dietary supplements are sometimes beneficial.

You can add protein shakes into your daily routine if you find it difficult to get enough protein through food alone.

Some of the most common protein powders are dairy proteins, like whey or casein. Other protein powders are made from soy, peas, beef, or chicken.

Online, you can find many different protein powders.


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14. Edamame

Edamame refers to immature soybeans. The developing beans can be found in pods and are used in many dishes of Japanese origin.

A cup of edamame (155 grams) contains around 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. The edamame contains large amounts folate, manganese, vitamin K.

Folate is a vitamin that helps the body to process amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein.

Folate is important for muscle strength and mass, especially in older adults.


15. Quinoa

It’s important to fuel your body with energy to be active.

Carbohydrate-rich foods can provide energy.

The cooked quinoa has about 40 grams carbs per cup. It also contains 8 grams protein, 5 grams fiber and large amounts of magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.


16. Scallops

Scallops are a great source of protein, but they contain very little fat.

These very lean protein sources may be a good choice if you want to add more protein to your diet, but not consume too many calories.

Scallops are a good source of protein. They contain less than 100 calories and 17 grams.


17. Lean jerky

Lean jerky is a great option for those who are on the move and want a high-quality protein.

The nutritional facts of jerky can vary depending on the type of meat used. The majority of fat is removed during the processing process, so most calories come from protein.

These high-quality animal proteins stimulate muscle growth.

Lean jerky

18. Chickpeas

Garbanzo beans are also called chickpeas. They’re a great source of carbs as well as protein.

The average 1-cup serving (164 grams) of chickpeas in cans contains 15 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of fiber.

Like many other plants, chickpea protein is of lower quality than animal sources. It can be a part of a healthy muscle-building diet.


19. Peanuts

Peanuts are a mixture of carbs, protein, and fat. One ounce (28 grams) of peanuts contains 7 grams protein, 6 grains of carbohydrate, and a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids.

Leucine is also present in higher quantities than other plant products.

Peanuts contain around 166 calories per 1-ounce (28-gram serving).

Nuts are a great way to add extra calories and nutrients to your diet if you find it difficult to gain muscle.

Nuts are also thought to be an important part of a healthy diet.


20. Buckwheat

Buckwheat can be used as a flour alternative to traditional flour.

A cup of cooked buckwheat grains (168g) contains 6 grams of proteins, as well as fiber and carbs.

Buckwheat is a popular health food because of its high vitamin and mineral content. It is rich in B vitamins, manganese, and phosphorus.

These vitamins and minerals will help you stay healthy and perform exercises that build muscle.


21. Tofu

Tofu, which is made from soymilk, is often used to replace meat.

The half-cup serving (124 grams) of raw tofu has 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat. It also contains 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Tofu also contains calcium, an important mineral for bone and muscle health.

The highest quality plant protein is the soy protein found in tofu, soybeans, and other foods.

All these factors make soy-based foods an excellent choice for vegans and other vegetarians.


22. Pork tenderloin

Pork tenderloin, a lean meat cut, contains 23.1 grams protein and 2 grams fat per 4 ounces.

Pork has similar effects to other muscle-building foods like beef and chicken, according to some research.

Pork tenderloin

23. Milk

Milk contains a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Milk contains proteins that are both quickly and slowly digestible.

It is believed that this will help to increase muscle mass. In fact, studies have shown people can increase muscle mass by drinking milk and weight training.


24. Almonds

Roasted almonds contain 6 grams of proteins and a large amount of magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E.

The phosphorus in your body helps you use fats and carbohydrates for energy, both at rest and when exercising.

Almonds are high in calories, so they should also be eaten in moderation. A half cup of blanched almonds has more than 400 calories.


25. Bison

Similar to beef, bison contains about 22 grams per 3-ounce (85 gram) serving.

Some research suggests that beef may have a higher risk of heart disease than bison.

You can replace some of the beef in your diet with bison if you are concerned about your heart.

Bison Steak

26. Brown rice

Even though cooked brown rice contains only 6 grams protein per cup (202g), it provides the carbohydrates that you need to fuel physical activity.

Eat healthy carbs like brown rice and quinoa before exercising.

You can exercise more intensely, giving your muscles a stronger stimulus to grow.

Some research shows that rice protein can help you gain muscle as much as whey during a weight-training program.

Brown rice


What is the best diet to gain muscle?

You should increase your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories.

This is not a general recommendation for everyone. You should consider what you eat in terms of protein and calories.

Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, and sources of protein with high quality can come from animals or plants.

When attempting to maximize the building of muscles, it has been found that a daily intake of protein between 1.6 and 2.2 grams per pound of body weight is the most important factor.

This level of protein can be reached by consuming high-quality protein sources all day. Consider adding high-quality protein supplements like whey or casein to your diet.

Use nutrition apps to track daily protein intake.

What is the importance of diet in building muscle?

Diet is an important factor in building muscle. When combined with resistance training, higher protein diets can help build muscle and increase strength.

What are the best foods to gain lean muscle mass?

To gain muscle mass, you should eat foods high in protein, such as salmon, chicken, Greek yogurt, and skimmed milk.

What foods can build muscle fast?

Eggs can help you build muscle mass quickly. Whole eggs are healthier than egg whites.

A study found that participants who consumed whole eggs after a workout had a 40% higher muscle response than those who consumed the same amount of egg whites.

How can I gain muscle mass if I only eat three meals per day?

If you want to build muscle with only three meals per day, ensure that your meals contain more calories than what you are burning. This will cause anabolic growth.

Achieve a balance between protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If you can, ask a registered dietitian or healthcare professional about your nutritional needs.

What should I do to increase muscle mass?

You’ll need more calories to maximize muscle growth than you normally do. Consume 1.4-2 grams per pound of body weight each day.

Eat enough carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals as well as healthy fats in order to support muscle recovery and growth.


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Bottom line

Numerous foods can help you gain lean muscle. They are rich in protein, which allows your muscles to grow and recover after exercise.

Consuming carbohydrates and fats are important for fueling physical activity and exercise.

Many of the foods in this list are rich in vitamins and minerals that your body requires to function at its peak.

For gaining muscle mass, you should focus on eating more calories per day and exercising regularly.