The 15 Best Lean-Muscle Building Foods

1 Beef (From Grass-Fed Cattle)

Beef is important for building lean muscle due to its protein content, cholesterol, zinc, B vitamins and iron content.

Beef from grass-fed cattle have much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventionally raised cattle, which gives you a boost in shedding bodyfat and building lean muscle.

2 Beets

A good source of betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, this nutrient not only enhances liver and joint repair, but also has been shown in clinical research to increase muscle strength and power.

Beets also provide an NO boost which can ehance energy and aid recovery.

3 Brown Rice

A slow-digesting whole grain that provides you longer-lasting energy throughout the day, and during workouts. Brown rice also can help boost your growth hormone (GH) levels, which are critical for encouraging lean muscle growth, fat loss and strength gains.

"A slow-digesting whole grain that provides you longer-lasting energy throughout the day, and during workouts."

4 Oranges

Another good fruit that can actually help to boost muscle growth, strength and endurance, especially when eaten before workouts.

5 Cantaloupe

Due to it's relatively low fructose content, this melon is one of the few fruits that is actually a fast-digesting carb. That makes it a good carb to have first thing in the morning after a long night of fasting and one of the few good fruits to eat after workouts.

6 Cottage Cheese (Organic)

Rich in casein protein, cottage cheese is a great go-to protein source, especially before bed.

Casein protein is the slowest-digesting protein you can eat, meaning it prevents your muscles from being used as an energy source while you fast during the night.

7 Eggs

Eggs are known as the perfect protein, but their ability to boost lean muscle and strength gains isn't due to just the protein alone. It gets a lot of help from the yolks, where the cholesterol is found.

If you're worried about your cholesterol shooting up from eating the yolks, cholesterol from eggs has been shown to decrease the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles associated with atherosclerosis.

Eggs are known as the perfect protein
"Eggs are known as the perfect protein."

8 Milk (Organic)

Contains both whey and casein and is rich in the amino acid glutamine. Organic milk has about 70% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.

9 Quinoa

A complete protein in addition to being a slow-digesting carb, quinoa has been linked with an increase in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels, an important factor associated with lean muscle and strength gains.

10 Wonka Pixy Stix

These contain dextrose, meaning this carb doesn't even need to be digested - it literally goes straight into your bloodstream, getting those carbs straight to your muscles for the fastest recovery possible after workouts.

11 Spinach

A good source of glutamine, the amino acid that is important for lean muscle growth.

In addition to glutamine, spinach can increase muscle strength and endurance.

12 Apples

The specific polyphenols in apples help to increase muscle strength and prevent muscle fatigue, allowing you to train harder for longer.

Other research also shows that these polyphenols can increase fat burning as well. That's why it's a good idea to make apples a pre-workout carb source.

Apples help to increase muscle strength and prevent muscle fatigue, allowing you to train harder for longer
"Apples help to increase muscle strength and prevent muscle fatigue, allowing you to train harder for longer."

13 Greek Yogurt

Like plain yogurt, Greek yogurt starts from the same source: milk. Greek yogurt, however, has more protein (a whopping 20 g per cup) and fewer carbs (9 g per cup) than regular yogurt (16 g protein, 16 g carbs per cup).

It's also a good source of casein protein.

14 Ezekial 4:9 Bread

Ezekiel bread is made from organic sprouted whole grains. Because it contains grains and legumes, the bread is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine of the amino acids your body can't produce on its own - the ones needed for lean muscle growth.

15 Wheat Germ

Rich in zinc, iron, selenium, potassium and B vitamins, high in fiber and protein, with a good amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), arginine and glutamine.

This makes wheat germ a great source of slow-digesting carbohydrates and a quality protein that's a perfect food before workouts.

The Lean Muscle One-Week Meal Plan

The following plan is designed for a woman weighing 140 pounds. When trying to gain lean muscle during a rigorous exercise program, a good rule of thumb is to shoot for an intake of about 13-15 calories per pound of bodyweight.

So for a 110-pound woman, total daily calories would be between 1,430 to 1,650; for a 150-pound woman, about 1,950 to 2,250. See muscleandfitnesshers.com for your supplements on workout days.

Monday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2: (30-60 min after B1)
Late-Morning Snack:
Lunch:
Midday Snack:
Dinner:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the Day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,835
Total Fat65 g
Total Carbs135 g
Protein185 g

Tuesday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Lunch:
Midday Snack:
Dinner:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,870
Total Fat60 g
Total Carbs145 g
Protein190 g

Wednesday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Midday Snack:
Dinner:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,900
Total Fat55 g
Total Carbs160 g
Protein180 g

Thursday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Lunch:
Midday Snack:
Dinner:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,850
Total Fat75 g
Total Carbs130 g
Protein165 g

Friday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Midday Snack:
Dinner:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,915
Total Fat65 g
Total Carbs145 g
Protein195 g

Saturday

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Lunch:
Midday Snack:
Nighttime Snack:
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 2,000
Total Fat70 g
Total Carbs170 g
Protein180 g

Sunday (High Carb "Cheat" Day)

Breakfast 1:
Breakfast 2:
Late-Morning Snack:
Lunch:
Midday Snack:
Dinner: Cheat Meal
Nighttime Snack
Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 2,500
Total Fat75 g
Total Carbs255 g
Protein160 g

The Recipes

Recipe A: Frittata

Ingredients
Directions
  1. In frying pan on medium heat, cook onions for about five minutes with fat-free cooking spray; add broccoli and cook for about five minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, and cottage cheese and add to pan, lift and rotate pan so that eggs are evenly distributed; as eggs set around the edges, lift to allow uncooked portions to flow underneath.
  3. Turn heat to low, cover the pan and cook until top is set.
  4. Invert onto a plate.

Frittata A Recipe PDF (12 KB)

Recipe B: Stir-fry

Ingredients
Directions
  1. In a pan over medium heat cook shrimp in nonfat cooking spray, add boiled rice and vegetables, add scrambled egg and soy sauce if desired.
  2. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir-fry B Recipe PDF (54 KB)

Recipe C: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Mix desired spices with ground turkey and roll into balls; add desired spices to sauce and cook meatballs in sauce until done.
  2. Cook spaghetti squash in a shallow baking pan with ½ inch of water in pan at 350 degrees in oven until tender. Scrape out spaghetti squash with fork to make spaghetti strings.
  3. Top spaghetti squash with meatballs and sauce, and spinach and top with ricotta.

Spaghetti and Meatballs C Recipe PDF (12 KB)

Recipe D: Breakfast Sandwich

Recipe D: Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 slice reduced-fat American cheese
  • 2 slices low-fat deli ham
  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin
Directions
  1. Make breakfast sandwich: toast muffin; fry ham in pan and place on one half of muffin.
  2. Fry egg in pan using nonstick cooking spray and place on ham; top egg with cheese and cover with other muffin half to make breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast Sandwich D Recipe PDF (12 KB)

Nutrition 101 Main Page



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