Nutrition 101: Eat To Build Lean Muscle

Your one-week, lean-muscle building meal plan, plus the 15 best lean-muscle building foods.

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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.

"Brown rice helps boost your growth hormone (GH) levels"

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.

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

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.

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
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


cantaloupe

cantaloupe 1/2 small/medium


Breakfast 2: (30-60 min after B1)
omelet

Ham and Cheese Omelet (2 large eggs, 2 slices low-fat deli ham, 1/4 cup fat-free cheddar cheese)


oatmeal

Late-Morning Snack
yogurt

blueberries

blueberries 1/2 cup (Mixed in with yogurt)


Lunch
ground beef

whole-wheat hamburger bun

spinach

mixed greens (include spinach)2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Mid-day Snack
chicken breast

mayonnaise

whole wheat crackers

whole-wheat crackers 5 (Mix mayo in chicken, eat on crackers)


Dinner
chicken breast

broccoli

spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Night-time Snack
cottage cheese

salsa

salsa 2 tbsp (Mix salsa in cottage cheese)



Nutrition Facts
Totals for the Day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,835
Total Fat65 g
Total Carbs135 g
Protein185 g


Tuesday

Breakfast 1
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


orange

orange 1 large


Breakfast 2
eggs

eggs

large egg whites 2 (Make scrambled eggs)


waffle

syrup

Late-Morning Snack
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


wheat germ

wheat germ 1/2 cup (Mix wheat germ in whey shake)


Lunch
turkey

mayonnaise

bread

Ezekial bread 2 slices (Make turkey sandwich)


Mid-day Snack
cottage cheese

pineapple

sliced pineapple 1/4 cup (Mix pineapple in cottage cheese)


Dinner
tilapia

tilapia 6 oz


broccoli

broccoli 1 cup


spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Night-time Snack
casein

walnuts

peanut butter

peanut butter 1 tbsp (Dip walnuts in peanut butter)



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
Mid-day Snack
Dinner
steak

asparagus

spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Night-time Snack
yogurt

honey

honey 1 tsp


flaxseed

roasted flaxseeds 2 tbsp (Mix honey and flaxseeds in yogurt)



Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,900
Total Fat55 g
Total Carbs160 g
Protein180 g

Thursday

Breakfast 1
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


cantaloupe

cantaloupe 1/2 medium


Breakfast 2
milk

low-fat milk 1/2 cup


cereal

whey protein

whey protein 1/2 scoop


Late-Morning Snack
spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


eggs

large whole eggs 2 (hard-boiled and sliced)


oatmeal

dry oatmeal 1/4 cup


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp (Make salad by adding all ingredients together)


Lunch
Mid-day Snack
pita

cheese

reduce-fat cheddar cheese shredded 1/4 cup (Make cheese quesadilla: add cheese to one side of tortilla, cook on medium heat in pan until cheese is melted)


Dinner
salmon

salmon 6oz


spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Night-time Snack
cottage cheese

salsa

salsa 2 tbsp



Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,850
Total Fat75 g
Total Carbs130 g
Protein165 g

Friday

Breakfast 1
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


apple

Breakfast 2
cottage cheese

mandarin oranges

celery

peanut butter

peanut butter 1 tbsp (Fill celery grooves with peanut butter)


Late-Morning Snack
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


wheat germ

wheat germ 1/2 cup (Mix wheat germ in whey shake)


Mid-day Snack
Dinner
tilapia

tilapia 6 oz


spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Night-time Snack

Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 1,915
Total Fat65 g
Total Carbs145 g
Protein195 g

Saturday

Breakfast 1
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


orange

orange 1 large


Breakfast 2
eggs

eggs

cheese

reduced-fat cheddar cheese (shredded) 1/4 cup (Make cheese omelet)


english muffin

peanut butter

peanut butter 1 tbsp (Spread peanut butter on toasted muffin)


Late-Morning Snack
Lunch
tuna

albacore tuna (in water) 3oz


spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


beets

beets 1 cup


feta cheese

olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


pita

large whole-wheat pita bread (sliced into wedges) 1/2 (Add ingredients to salad and eat with pita bread)


Mid-day Snack
Night-time 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
whey protein

whey protein 1 scoop


cantaloupe

cantaloupe 1/2 medium


Breakfast 2
Late-Morning Snack
Lunch
turkey

bread

Ezekial bread 2 slices


spinach

mixed greens (include spinach) 2 cups


olive oil

olive oil and balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp / 1 tbsp


Mid-day Snack
pita

cheese

fat-free cheddar cheese 1/4 cup (Make cheese quesadilla)


Dinner: Cheat Meal
pizza

beer

beer 12 oz


ice cream

ice cream 1 cup


Night-time Snack
cottage cheese

salsa

salsa 2 tbsp



Nutrition Facts
Totals for the day
Amount per serving
Calories 2,500
Total Fat75 g
Total Carbs255 g
Protein160 g

The Recipes


1Frittata

Ingredients
eggs

whole eggs 2 large


eggs

egg white 1 large


cottage cheese

broccoli

broccoli 1/2 cup chopped


onion

onion, chopped 1/2 medium


Directions
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Turn heat to low, cover the pan and cook until top is set.
  • Invert onto a plate.


2Stir-fry

Ingredients
shrimp

shrimp 4oz


eggs

whole egg 1 large


rice

veggies

veggies 1 cup mixed frozen


Directions
  • 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.
  • Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.


3Spaghetti and Meatballs

Ingredients
Directions
  • Mix desired spices with ground turkey and roll into balls; add desired spices to sauce and cook meatballs in sauce until done.
  • 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.
  • Top spaghetti squash with meatballs and sauce, and spinach and top with ricotta.


4Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients
eggs

whole egg 1 large


cheese

American cheese 1 slice reduce-fat


ham

deli ham 2 slices low-fat


english muffin

English muffin 1 whole-wheat


Directions
  • Make breakfast sandwich: toast muffin; fry ham in pan and place on one half of muffin.
  • 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.



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