Learn which muscle-building foods you should eat to develop a lean, muscular physique. It’s not like you have to spend hours every day working out at the gym. Also incorporate a muscle-building diet into your routine. Yes, you have to work your muscles to make them grow big and strong, but don’t forget to feed them too. Your muscles need calories and nutrition to grow their mass. Here’s how to eat muscle-building foods to grow your muscles:

Add plenty of protein to your diet. How do you calculate the healthy amount of protein to eat? Calculate your body weight. Somewhere from 1 to 1.5 times your body weight (in grams) is the recommended amount of protein intake for muscle building. What if you are overweight? Measure your protein intake based on your ideal body weight. What are some examples of protein foods to build muscle?

  • Red meats such as beef, lamb, pork, bison, venison, etc.

  • Duck breast, chicken, turkey and other poultry

  • Fish such as salmon, tuna, sea bass, swordfish, mackerel, trout, etc.

  • Dairy products, such as cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

  • Egg whites in eggs. The yolk can be eaten once or twice a day because it is high in cholesterol.

Eat more complete proteins. These foods are necessary for building muscles. Some complete protein foods include milk, cheese, eggs, fish, and meat. Most animal products are usually complete proteins. If you’re a vegetarian, stick to non-animal sources of complete protein, such as buckwheat, quinoa, soy, hemp seeds, chia, and greens and beans with rice.

Eat food sources that score high on PDCAA. Refers to the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score which measures the digestibility of protein in the body. It is calculated based on the solubility of amino acids in proteins. It’s sort of like a standard that rates the quality of the protein foods you eat. The highest score is 1, while the lowest is 0. Here is a list of protein food sources and their PDCAA scores:

  • 1:00- soy protein, casein, whey and egg white

  • 0.9- soy and beef

  • 0.7- fruits and vegetables, chickpeas, black beans, other vegetables

  • 0.5- peanuts, cereals and their derivatives

  • 0.4- whole wheat

Eat foods rich in carbohydrates. Have carbohydrate reserves in your body. You will need it to take advantage of the glycogen reserve in your muscles when you are training. Glycogen stores are your sources of energy. If you lack carbohydrates, your body will also lack energy, causing your muscles to break down. Eat about 1,500 carbohydrate calories per day. Eat carbohydrates after you exercise, especially in the morning at breakfast. Choose carbohydrates that have a low GI (glycemic index). These are healthier carbohydrate foods that release energy slowly.

Include foods that contain healthy fats in your diet. Not all fats are bad. There are healthy fats that will benefit your health. Twenty to thirty-five percent of your calorie intake should come from fat. It’s the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that you generally have to eat, also known as good fats. Food sources of good fats are:

  • walnuts

  • Fish

  • Olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil

  • Soy products (soy milk or tofu)

  • Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds

Here are some examples of muscle-building foods you can include in your diet. Work your way to a muscular body by exercising and eating muscle-building foods and supplements.