Top 10 Muscle-Building Foods | STACK

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.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Strengthen Small and Weak Muscles

Do you find yourself often wearing long pants in the summer? Are there muscle groups on your body that just don't seem quite as proportionate with the...

Q&A: Brad Schoenfeld on Maximizing Muscle Growth

Can Your Diet Prevent Sports Injuries?

5 Reasons Why You're Not Ripped

The Food Rules for Building Muscle

3 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Stronger

Why You

5 Reasons You Can't Build Muscle

Why You Need to Change Your Workouts More Often

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

Quickly Build Muscle for Football

Build Bigger Biceps Without an 'Arm Day'

Pressed for Time? Try This 20-Minute, 200-Rep Workout

Keys to a Successful Full-Body Transformation

What You Need to Know About Gaining Muscle Mass

Why Hard Work May Not Always Beat Good Genes

The Weakling's Guide to Working Out

Mechanical Overload: A Strategy for Bigger Muscles

Get Strong and Thick With Strongman Exercises

Build Muscle in Less Time With Massed Practice

How the Actors of 'Blue Mountain State' Get in Shape

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

The 8 Craziest Things People Do to Build Muscle

I Lift Weights But Can't Build Muscle. What's Wrong?

When to Use Isolation Exercises for Growth

How to Build Muscle: A Game of Angles

Build Muscle Faster With This Simple Weight Room Trick

You Need Rest Intervals. Here's Why

Shoulder Workouts for Mass: 3 Tips

5 Food Swaps that Help Athletes Bulk Up

Pack on Muscle by Wave Loading

5 Easy Muscle-Building Tips for Hardgainer Athletes

The 15-Minute Beach Muscle (Plus Hustle) Workout

Increase Metabolic Stress for Size and Performance

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

A Simple Strategy for Serious Muscle Growth

3 Simple Moves for Bigger Triceps

5 Tips to Increase Lean Body Mass

Build Bigger Arms With This Bicep Workout

Get a Big Chest With 5 Stand-up Exercises