If you're looking to stay lean, pack on muscle, and have enough fuel in your tank to power through workouts, fit in these nutrient-dense eats.
Jay Cardiello 1 / 9
Broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and contains high amounts of antioxidants that can help repair your muscles and bulk up your immune system. It also contains phytochemicals, which have anti-estrogen properties; that means it can increase testosterone and help diminish the storage of fat.
You probably consider dairy an inferior source of protein. But this power-packed snack is a great source of both casein and whey protein. If you’re new to the world of fitness, whey protein is not only a staple protein source for bodybuilders, it's also a key player in burning fat. Casein on the other hand is a slower-digesting protein. Because of this, cottage cheese makes for an optimal choice before bed, too. It can help keep your body in an anabolic stage overnight.
Aside from being the ultimate smoothie and oatmeal add-in, your go-to fruit and veg dip, and favorite companion for toast, peanut butter is packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It’s also known to help repair muscles after injury. Eat it post-workout to reap the benefits.
When it comes to getting lean and packing on muscle, salmon swims far ahead of its competitors. The fish is extremely high in protein—a can of salmon can have up to 30 grams of protein. What’s more, the fats found in salmon are healthier compared to other protein counterparts, like chicken and beef.
Can we say any more good things about this bodybuilding bird? Chicken has a good protein-to-fat ratio—a typical 6 oz. chicken breast has about 200 calories, 40 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat. It's one of the most versatile foods for salads, wraps, sandwiches, and any other meal. Whatever your fitness goal, this no-fuss fowl has got you covered.
Quick, satisfying, damn near foolproof, eggs are essential to any fitness meal regimen. They’re loaded with approximately 5 to 6 grams of protein at the very low cost of just 60 calories per medium-sized egg. They’re also high in BCAAs, which aid in muscular growth and development. Cook 'em up however you like.
When you hit the weights, you’re creating micro-tears in your muscle; without proper nutrition and rest, you won’t be able you to see your desired gains. After a workout, you have a window (some believe it’s about 30 minutes long) to help replenish lost glycogen stores, replace energy and nutrients, and preserve lean muscle tissue. Most brands of chocolate milk supply around 20 to 25 grams of carbs and between 8 and 11 grams of protein (per 8 oz.), which makes for an optimal post-workout replenishment choice. Another key selling point to chocolate milk is that it comes from cow’s milk, which contains about 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Whey protein amino acids are immediately pumped right into your muscles and casein protein amino acids are digested slowly over time.
Beef is a tried-and-true source of protein among men looking to add size to their frame. What’s important to note is steak can often be fatty. To make sure you’re eating to stay shredded, opt for the leanest cuts, such as top round and flank steak. Approximately 100 grams of beef contains 30 grams of high-quality protein; it’s also a strong source of creatine and L-carnitine, which have both been shown to boost cardiovascular health and aid in muscle growth. There’s a reason why gym goer's have been nicknamed "meatheads.”