Top 10 Muscle-Building Foods

April 14, 2011

Must See Nutrition Videos

Thousands of athletes across the country spend hours every day putting in the grueling physical labor necessary to catapult themselves onto the national stage. But when it comes to the number of athletes eating a healthy diet, those thousands turn into hundreds.

Not a wise decision, considering the huge role diet plays in building muscle, which is essential to improve athleticism. So if you’re looking to build muscle, include these 10 protein-rich foods in your diet.

1. Eggs

Eggs [especially egg whites] are chock-full of muscle-building protein, making them an ideal way to start your day. One egg delivers four to six grams of protein, as well as vitamin B12, which plays a key role in brain function, the nervous system and blood formation. These nutrients will fuel your body, ensuring an effective workout later in the day.

2. Fish

Grabbing the right fish can lead to a healthy meal—low in sodium but  filled with protein and other important nutrients, like vitamin B12. Half a fillet of salmon gives you a whopping 40 grams of protein, making it the preferred choice for muscle-building athletes.

3. Poultry

Depending on how you prepare it, chicken can be a great source of protein. At 32.8 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, chicken broilers pack a big punch. For the healthiest preparation, don’t fry it, and remove the skin whenever possible.

4. Almonds

Looking for a snack between meals or before an afternoon workout? Almonds are an excellent choice. Weighing in with up to 33 grams of protein per cup, they are a great way to fill gaps in your diet. They’re also a good source of magnesium, which, although essential for human cell life, is often deficient in athletes. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and osteoporosis.

5. Pork

Like poultry, pork is a good entree for a protein-filled dinner. With 30 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, it's also a great choice after a workout when your body needs a recovery meal.

6.  Black Beans

This delicious source of protein can be eaten as a mid-day snack or as a side for lunch or dinner. One cup will fill you up with about 15 grams of protein. Black beans are also a good source of essential nutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus and dietary fiber.

7. Cottage Cheese

When selecting cottage cheese, look closely at the nutrition label. As an athlete seeking solid sources of protein, you’ll want to stay away from brands high in sodium and fat. Instead, opt for low-fat cottage cheese with no added sodium. One cup has 28 grams of protein.

8. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become all the rage with healthy people who want a tasty option for their protein. Compared with most yogurt brands, which provide approximately eight grams of protein, Greek yogurt delivers 23 grams.

9. Cereal

Most athletes lack the time to prepare a big breakfast before running off to school or practice. Cereal is a popular choice because it's quick and easy. But—like many other foods—not all cereal is good for you. Avoid brands with high sugar content, and stick with those filled with fiber, carbs and protein, like Special K Protein Plus.

10. Protein Bars

We saved this one for last, since it’s the most obvious. As always, what you get depends on the brand, so always read the nutrition facts before you purchase. With most brands, you’re looking at about 20 grams of protein per bar. And since they’re made specifically for active individuals, they’re filled with nutrients our bodies need—like calcium, iron, and magnesium— while staying low on cholesterol.

Source:  NutritionData.Self.com
Photos:  science.kukuchew.com; sisterearthorganics.wordpress.com; ineedtext.com; localforage.com; yeinjee.com; eatingin.org; morningstarmilk.com; cookinginpajamas.onsugar.com; specialk.com; thehealthauthority.com, hip2save.com

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,265,894
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 197,143
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 396,957
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,189
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,916
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,134,125

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

You diet hard all week, eating nothing but clean foods, train your butt off in the gym, and feel like you're making real progress. Then Saturday comes -...

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

YardBarker