Rather than filling your body with fatty meats, poor-quality fish, and low-protein dairy products, opt for sources that fuel your body with the nourishment it craves.
After all, building up your muscle mass isn't just a function of working hard in the gym—you need to provide your body with the necessary proteins to rebuild exhausted muscles (and keep them working properly).
These five sources have the optimal combination of vitamin, nutrients, and macros to promote good health and foster impressive muscle growth.
So-called oily fish has a higher fat content, which means more omega-3 fatty acids, as well as lots of protein and high vitamin D levels. Additionally, some studies have shown oily fish to have beneficial effects on heart disease, prostate cancer, vision loss, and dementia.
It’s easy to use in meals: Salmon, for example, works with any cooking technique and seasoning; anchovies dissolve into sauces (making them taste balanced and robust rather than fishy); and high-quality canned sardines and mackerel, which are becoming increasingly available, are great snacks—just drain well and serve with a squeeze of lemon.
High in protein but relatively low in fat and calories, chicken—particularly chicken breast—is a dietary staple that is easy to cook and takes to just about any seasoning. You can even grind it in a food processor and use in place of ground beef.
Grass-fed beef has more vitamins (up to 10x more A), minerals, and omega-3s than grain-fed. Don’t buy preground, which may come from hundreds of cows; have a butcher grind it, or pulse cubed meat in a processor.
Egg whites are almost all protein, with minimal calories. But the yolk is where all the other nutrients are. For scrambled, use one whole egg for every four egg whites. (Add turmeric for flavor and extra nutrients.)
Greek yogurt (which has had the whey strained out) has fewer carbs and more protein than regular yogurt. Use kefir, a fermented milk product similar to thin yogurt, to replace milk in smoothies and on cereal.