Whether you are looking to bulk and build as much muscle as humanly possible, or wanting to re-composition your body and cut the excess bodyfat and muscle, there are 15 foods that should be a staple in everyone’s diet.
1.) Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are a great source of cheap protein. A good pot of ham and beans will help anyone break that 10 pound personal record in the squat.
Beans are rich in the B vitamins and help prevent diseases, so adding these to your diet is a great way to ensure health and muscle growth.
Be careful, flatulence is a common side effect of beans be sure to eat them in the morning so you have a gift that keeps on giving.
Beef is a great source of protein as well as healthy fats. If you are not great at cooking, browning some ground beef is a great start.
You can eat ground beef by itself, on nachos, or in chili. I enjoy browning some ground beef, season it, and mix in some sour cream and cheese for an anabolic meal.
Cheese is full of healthy fats and lots of calories, so if you are looking for an easy way to increase calories and protein without eating more meat, this is a great solution.
Cheese can be added to virtually anything and is full of vitamins and calcium, so eat up.
Boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the most popular pieces of meat to eat in the fitness world. This cut has minimal fats and doesn’t contain a lot of calories for being so filling.
The downside to this cut is it is very dry and flavorless unless you know how to cook it. It’s painful seeing all of the pictures of people posting bland non-flavored pieces of baked or grilled chicken breast.
Dark meat chicken is cheaper, more flavorful, and contains more healthy fats. Give dark meat a try and see how you like it.
5.) Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a cheap and wonderful food that contains protein, fats, some carbs, vitamins, and calcium. Cottage cheese is quite filling and you don’t have to spend time preparing it.
Mix fruit with cottage cheese for a sweet and salty treat. Since there are slower digesting proteins in it, eating some before you go to bed will ensure that you have plenty of protein while you are recovering during sleep.
Eggs are another great cheap source of protein. Eating whole eggs will give you a great source of healthy fats and protein. Egg whites are less calorie dense and also a good source of protein.
Eating fruit will give you the satiety of eating sweets while also giving you fiber and other needed vitamins and minerals.
Since fruit contains sugars, eating fruit can cause an insulin spike which can be beneficial to muscle growth.
There is a reason there is a saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Oatmeal is a great stable in anybody’s diet because of the fair amount of carbohydrates and fiber it contains. Eating oatmeal in the morning when you first wake up is a great way to help curb your appetite for the rest of the day and helps you stay regular.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar into plain instant oatmeal and you have a decent tasting dish. Oatmeal is cheap and there’s no excuse to not eat some in the morning.
Pork may sound taboo, but bacon is extremely anabolic. With the obesity crisis getting out of control, there are a lot of articles and stories telling us how fats and bacon are horrible for your health. If this is the case, why did our great grandparents and grandparents live to be so old when they used pure lard and butter on everything?
Pork tenderloins have close to the same macronutrients as chicken breast.
10.) Tuna and Other Fish
Fresh and canned fishes are a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Fresh fish can be difficult to prepare if you do not have any experience, but is not hard to learn quickly.
Canned tuna and canned salmon are very easy to eat and takes no preparation. If you would like to doctor them up, a tablespoon of mayo mixed into the can is a fast and easy way to get a good serving of protein.
Turkey is another dry protein very low in fats. Baked, rotisserie, grilled, smoked, or fried turkey are all good. Turkey isn’t terribly expensive and is a good change of pace from chicken.
“Eat your vegetables!” We all heard this as kids. There is some truth to the “eat these vegetables to grow up big and strong” and now I’m here to tell you to eat your vegetables.
With so many different vegetables out there, you should be able to find something you can tolerate. Most vegetables are great if you add some butter or cheese to them. Be aware of the extra calories and fats you are taking in, but make the vegetables tasty!
Vegetables are full of fiber and other vitamins and minerals. Eat as much of a variety as you can and have as many green leafy vegetables you can fit in your stomach. They do not have hardly any calories and you can really fill up on them and save your calorie intake.
13.) Whey Protein
Whey protein isn’t just for the meatheads. Whey is a great source of protein and a protein shake is a non filling way to get some extra grams of protein.
Whey contains a great amino acid profile, regardless of company. Some whey proteins have higher fats and lower carbohydrates, some have higher carbs and lower fats; look for one that will fit your macros. If you are not concerned about macros, get one that is affordable and from a reputable company.
14.) Whole Grains
Low carb this and no carb that is sweeping the nation. The thing a lot of these diets and articles don’t tell you is that you must have a fair amount of healthy fats in your diet when you go low carb so your body will produce hormones and be balanced.
When eating low/no carb diets and you do not get enough healthy fats, there are many things that can go wrong including loss of performance in the gym, insomnia, and even impotence.
Eat your whole grains, brown rice, and breads. These are healthy for you and are calorie dense, so watch your intake!
15.) Whole Milk
Whole milk is full of the protein, fats, and calcium needed to grow muscles and have healthy joints. Depending on your goals, mix your protein shakes with whole milk to give you the best muscle-building drink you can have.
Some studies have shown that skim milk is unhealthy and advise drinking whole milk. I advise drinking whole milk to get in some extra healthy fats and plenty of calories.
Since most of these foods need to be prepared, learning to cook is going to be the most important thing you can do if you want to achieve your goals and build muscle.
Being able to prepare all of your meals is important so you can control exactly what is going into your body. Healthy fats are extremely important in your diet and you really need to be able to measure how much protein, carbohydrates, and fats go into your body.
Be consistent with your diet and training and you will gain muscle. This is a long journey and it will take time. You won’t have noticeable gains after a couple of weeks but if you stick with this you will look back in a year and be surprised at your progress.
If you are trying to bulk and gain muscle, once you have figured out your base calories to maintain weight, add 200 calories to your diet daily for 2 months and see how you respond. Adding too many calories to your diet will add more bodyfat than wanted and some people call this a “dirty bulk.”
If you are trying to lose bodyfat and build or maintain muscle, find the baseline calories to maintain weight and reduce calorie intake by 200 calories. Make sure to eat plenty proteins, get plenty healthy fats in and fill the rest in with carbohydrates.
There are many calculators and websites out there to help give you an idea how many calories you need to eat, but being consistent is going to be the key to learning your body.
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