Top 10 Muscle Building Foods to Build Muscle, Gain Mass and Build the Body of Your Dreams

Your Muscle Building Plate

Eating Muscle Building Foods is a full time job and Hardgainers can master muscle eating in 3 simple steps.

  • Select the best muscle building foods
  • Develop a Killer Appetite and
  • Master Nutrient Timing for Lean Muscle Gains

By the end of this article you will know the best muscle building foods to eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. You will discover how to develop a good appetite and also the food secrets I used to gain 24 lbs of muscle mass in 15 short weeks. Its time to grow, grow, grow.

Tasty Muscle building Foods

Eating is a FULL-TIME job for Bodybuilders

You had the perfect muscle blasting workout. The reps were higher, the sets heavier and the workout a killer one. You are thrilled with your efforts and its time to eat like a king.

But what do you find? Its chicken and rice again! Or it might be beef for a change. Throw in some broccoli and its the perfect meal they say. Yes, the perfect meal. In prison!

During your muscle building phase, eating is a FULL-TIME job. Repeating bland foods is a surefire recipe for what I call muscle frustration. But No More!

Luckily for you bodybuilding nutrition has evolved. In this article you will discover the best muscle building foods, 10 tasty muscle meals you can prepare quickly and discover my favourite “CND” criteria for selecting amazing muscle building foods.

Inside This Article:


Why Food is Your Best Weapon to Build Muscle Mass

Vince Delmonte Muscle Eating

I am sure you have heard of such blatant claims {lies!}

"I gained 12 pounds in 2 weeks with this supershake."

"I gained 10 pounds in just a week with this amazing powershake."

In a world where supplements are promoted as the best agents to build muscle, does food have any role?

Yes. Absolutely. Without any doubt. Take it from me, a former skinny guy gone muscular.

Food is and will be the No.1 reason you will build solid muscle mass or fail to gain muscle. Here’s why.

Training is measurable. You can plan a workout with perfect reps, sets & rest intervals and train accordingly. You can laser target your muscles for growth stimulation.

But eating is where skinny ectomorphs fail. Muscle eating requires planning your meals, eating high quality and quantity foods and at the optimal times. And this can be real tough.

Do you know what has been my secret? Its Muscle Meals.

It has been my biggest reason for slow gain early in my muscle building days. Once I mastered nutrition, I gained muscle week after week.

Will it help you? Once you master simple recipes with tasty, nutritious foods, you will never look back. When other skinny guys are drinking useless shakes & pills and wondering why they can’t gain lean muscle, you will be gaining muscle constantly, week after week, like a clock.

Real, Unprocessed, Fresh Food should be your cornerstone of bodybuilding

Supplements are excellent vehicles for convenient eating, but food should remain your cornerstone for building quality muscle mass. Why?

Because food provides real nutrients. No supplement contains the thousands of ingredients hidden in real, high quality, nutrient and caloric dense foods. Science has not, and will never reach a stage when it can recreate a supplement to match any food.

Foods contains thousands of micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients many of which are unknown to science. These have amazing muscle building potential. They will never come in a pill!

Also the form in which these micronutrients are present make them bio-available, meaning most of what you eat will be used by your body.

And only such forms can be catalysts for hundreds of chemical reaction making us digest and absorb food optimally.

Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions, making digestion and absorption of nutrients faster.

Bottomline: Eat real, nutrient-and-caloric-dense foods whenever possible. Food supplements should remain your second choice except post-workout nutrition or when in a hurry/convenient.


How to Select "CND" Caloric-Nutrient-Dense Muscle Building Foods Everytime

Select Caloric Dense Foods

Skinny muscle builders have a BIG problem. APPETITE!

If nature was not cruel enough, it has given skinny guys a weak appetite, especially for protein foods.

You can gulp down colas like crazy, eat pizzas, ice-creams and junk foods in a jiffy but when it comes to eating real muscle building proteins and fats, you will find appetite lacking. You are not alone!

Whats the solution? Eat “CND" Foods. What is CND?

CND stands for Caloric and Nutrient Dense Foods. The foods you select should provide high calories and high macro and micronutrients. Let me give you an example.

  1. Eat Beef instead of poultry or veg proteins when possible. Beef packs more proteins calorie-for-calorie, contains B vitamins, iron, and zinc. It also contains creatine which helps stronger lifts. 

  2. Eat raisins instead of grapes or other fruits around workout. One small packet 40 grams contains 34 grams of carbs and digest faster too. Few very sources can match such high calories packed in such a handful raisins. Excellent for peri-workout nutrition.

  3. Eat Dried fruits instead of crackers as snacks. Dry fruits like almonds, cashews are the perfect foods. They contain carbs, proteins and fats in excellent ratios and are excellent muscle building snacks.

As you can see just by selecting smartly you can increase your caloric intake dramatically. All this means more calories and more muscle. Now lets discover the top 10 CND muscle building foods.


Top 10 Muscle Building Foods of all time

Before you get down to the list remember that you need to, 

“Eat whole, real, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible every 3-4 hours, 4-6 times a day."

Once your caloric intake is calculated, pick one food from each list P+C+F and make your perfect meal.

Interested in Tasty Asian recipes? Then check out Beng's Filipino Food Recipes website. Don't forget to check out her Chicken Filipino Recipes to enjoy chicken curry, chicken adobo and Hongkong Chicken among others. I highly recommend it.


Top 10 Muscle Building Protein Foods

The list below contains both animal products and vegetarian food sources and I suggest you eat both. 

Animal food sources are the best ones for high quality, first class proteins that are No.1 for building lean muscle mass. Vegetarian protein sources contain second class proteins which are not ideal for building dense, big muscles. Stay away from them.

1. Whole Eggs

Whole Eggs are the most complete, tasty and powerful protein muscle building food available, especially for breakfast, snacking or on the go eating.

Each egg provides 6-7 grams of first class proteins and are packed with amino acids, anabolic fatty acids and  14 micronutrients like vitamins, minerals & choline {brain nutrient}.

How to use Eggs: Eat cage-free, omega-3 enriched whole eggs at breakfast as omelettes or choose from the variety of egg recipes at Anabolic Cooking Program.

My Special Tip: 

  • Eat whole eggs, leave the egg whites only for sissies who do not know the anabolic hormone building effects of egg yolk. Also Yolk contains half the proteins in egg, why miss it!
  • Master 3-5 muscle building breakfast recipes with eggs to start the day with a bang.

2. Beef

Beef is an excellent source of quality proteins with 6 ounces of beef providing you with 36 grams of top quality muscle building proteins.

Grass-fed Beef and Ground Buffalo beef should be your top 3 protein choices. here's why.

Beef has:

  • highest quality proteins {22g per 3 oz beef},
  • more nutrients calorie-for-calorie {vitamin B-6 and B-12}
  • significant amount of carnitine compared to other proteins
  • 2 grams of strength gaining creatine per pound and 
  • is VERY TASTY AND SATISFYING!

How to use beef:

  • Buy lean cuts.
  • Grill is best, don't overcook
  • Beef protein powder is excellent muscle builder, its very high in calories and nutrients. It is also free from hormones and antibiotics, hence better than chicken/poultry.

My Special Tip: 

  • Don't overeat any protein source including beef. I have found best results when eating beef 2-4 times per week.
  • Protein variety and rotation is best long term strategy.
  • Try the Beef and broccoli stir fry recipe here.

3. Seafood

Seafood, you name any and you got a muscle builder.

Cold Water Salmon is the best muscle builder. It is rich in proteins, creatine and carnitine, proven muscle and strength builders.

Also eat Mackerel, Herring, Tuna , Shrimp, Lobster, Haddock , Cod and Tilapia whenever possible.

How to use fish:

  • Eat fish 2-4 times per week.
  • Make sure it is wild one, not farm raised.
  • Avoid canned fish.

My Special Tips: 

  • Fresh fish has a salty sea smell not a stinky odour.
  • Fish cooks in about 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Poach or Grill are an excellent option for fish.

4. Poultry and Lamb

Pasture-raised Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Duck are the most versatile muscle building foods for muscleheads.

They are easiest to prepare, inexpensive, very deliciously and contains less fat than beef. Each chicken breast gives you 35 grams of quality muscle growing proteins, no carbs and just 2 grams of fat.

My Special Tips:

  • Cook several pieces and store them in fridge for quick on the go muscle meals.
  • Add any fruit, example apple, to make a perfect meal anytime of the day.

5. Beef Liver and Lamb Brain

Want to bump up your calories and nutrient intake? Try beef liver and lamb brain.

If you eat them, make it a regular habit. They are a delicacy and a quality protein source. 3 oz of liver provides 25 grams of muscle building proteins.

Beef Liver and Lamb Brain are excellent sources of vitamins B12, Proteins and essential fatty acids. They also contain fats and help bump up your caloric intake.

Lamb brain is excellent source of copper, zinc, among other minerals

Bodybuilders need plenty of B12 vitamins for proper muscle growth. 

My Special Tip:

  • Eat these once a week or twice a month to increase your vitamin stores and improve brain nutrient profile.
  • Desiccated Liver tablets are a great alternative if you do not eat coked liver.

6. Nuts and Seeds - Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts and Chia Seeds

These made excellent muscle building snacks to eat between meals to pump up your calories and protein content.

They are rich in proteins, fiber, good fats and antioxidants. 

Just half cup of almonds contains 10 grams of proteins, enough to keep protein synthesis on for up to an hour.

Exercise produces free radicals. Brazil nuts and walnuts contain glutathione which is a potent anti-oxidant which neutralises free radicals and keep you healthy.

Seeds like chia and flax are considered superfoods because they contain 8-10 micronutrients essential for muscle growth. Chia is a source of complete proteins too.

My Special Tips:

  • Pack a handful of nuts in small container and keep it in your bag. If the duration between meals gets longer, grab the packet. Tasty muscle building proteins at your disposal!
  • Seeds like flax and chia are best sprinkled in muscle shakes and post workout drinks or on salads.

7. Cheese, Yogurt and Organic Butter

These milk products are packed with proteins, good fats and calories. 

Each serving of yogurt provides 25 grams of proteins and goes great for protein and detox shakes.

Cheese and butter are great for protein sandwiches and are very tasty too. Use organic, non-processed, no-salt-added versions and you are good to go.

Yogurt is great probiotic, means very good for building healthy bacteria and gut immunity.

My Special Tip:

  • Use yogurt instead of milk for making whey protein shakes 3-6 times per week.
  • Add cheese with fruits or flavoured yogurt as muscle snacks. They are filling and maintain nitrogen balance for building muscles.

8. Whey Protein

Whey protein is the highest quality food supplement money can buy. They are:

  • Most complete proteins
  • have highest biological value and
  • contain branched chain amino acids which stimulate protein synthesis

My Special Tips:

  • Whey are quick to digest, they are ideal post workout shakes. 
  • Add superfoods like chia seeds or flaxseeds to make them healthy muscle shakes that detoxify you while providing muscle building proteins.
  • Keep a shaker with protein powder like this Biotrust powder ready for on the go drinking.

9. Split Peas, Soybeans and Legumes

Finally a great source of vegetarian proteins.

Soybeans has the highest protein content per gram. Split peas gives you 15 grams of quality proteins for every serving.

Vegetarian proteins are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and therefore a great addition to combat exercise and meat induced acidosis.

Sprouted legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and all beans are excellent. 

My Special Tips:

  • Use them as salad or mixed with rice.
  • Eat them raw half the times for optimal fiber intake.
  • Sprout them for best gains as sprouted ones make the carbs, proteins and fats easier to digest and absorb.

10. Worse Muscle Building Proteins to AVOID

Stay away from: Soy-based protein bars, Sausage, Hot dogs and Pepperoni.

Also avoid high fat beef, lard and trans fat loaded burgers and fries!

These provide low quality proteins, are loaded with trans fat and unwanted calories.


Top 10 Muscle Building Carbohydrate Foods

Remember the advice of Bodybuilding Coach Ben Pakulski, "He who eats Carbohydrates best, wins. Not the one who eats carbs the most”.

In that note, the goal of carbs you eat around workout is to provide instant energy. Carbs for rest of the day should aim at providing slow digesting nutrients for stable energy levels.

Best Muscle Building Carbs around Workout

  • Glucose and glucose polymers like maltodextrin
  • Raisins
  • Bananas

These provide instant energy that is critical for fuel supply during exercise. Since they digest easily, consume them 45 minutes before workout. When mixed with protein like whey they can be used during workouts and as a post-workout shake.

My Special Tips:

  • Stay away from Fruit Juices which contain fructose. 
  • Add a teaspoon of salt to your per-workout shakes for electrolyte balance.

Best Muscle Building Carbs for rest of the day

Contrary to popular belief you DONT NEED carbs throughout the day in high amounts. Although they increase your caloric intake, they pump insulin secretion which leads to fat gain. Use them sparingly. 

Fill your plate with proteins first. Everything else comes next because carbs are easy to find and eat. 

Here are the best slow-digesting carbs filled with fibers, minerals and vitamins.

  • All Fresh Vegetables {Eat a Rainbow}
  • All Fresh Fruits {Eat a Rainbow}
  • Sweet potatoes Beans (all) Lentils
  • Oats
  • Quinoa 
  • Sprouted grain
  • Whole wheat Breads/Wraps Pastas
  • Whole grain brown rice and Basmati rice

10 Worst Muscle Building Carbs to Avoid

Stay away from: 

  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Soda
  • Muffins
  • Pastries
  • Sugar
  • Donuts
  • Bagels
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Commercial fruit juices
  • Cereal bars
  • White: Breads/Wraps
  • Pastas

These foods increase blood sugar level to very high levels causing massive Insulin release. Insulin is a storage hormone.

Since you don't need these calories where do you think they are taken? To fat stores, especially around abdomen.

They also contain trans-fats, which are linked to heart disease and metabolic syndrome.


Top 10 Muscle Building Fats

Fats are extremely anabolic. They are satisfying to eat as well.

You need them for hormone production {testosterone}, muscle membrane building and since they provide 9 calories per gram, they are excellent caloric bumpers.

Here are the best fat sources for bodybuilders.

10 Best Fat Sources for Bodybuilders

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil tops the list
  • Cold water fatty fish
  • Fish oils
  • Avacado
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds , Walnuts , Pecans and Brazil Seeds:
  • Superfoods like Chia, Flax, and Sunflower
  • Red meat fat
  • Whole eggs
  • Coconut Oil

Worse Fats to Avoid

  • Trans fat
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Margarine
  • Corn oil
  • Vegetable Oils 
  • Salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salted butter

When Food Supplements are Better than Food

Although real food should be the no.1 source of nutrients, there are times when food supplements are superior in terms of digestion and absorption.

The biggest reason I use food supplements is Convenience. Nothing is more easier than post workout shakes immediately after training. Eating on the go, the protein energy bar or high protein fruit shake is the best way out.

But whenever you have the time, prepare your meals. Prepare in advance and store them. Whenever you need don’t shy away from food supplements

Top Food supplements:

  • Whey protein
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids
  • Creatine

My No.1 Supplement for Muscle Insurance and Perfect Digestion

What about times when you cannot get enough muscle building foods? Getting enough fruits and vegetables can be real difficult. How to overcome this deficiency?

The best way to get the muscle insurance is to get a multivitamin/mineral supplements only during your muscle gain phases.

A quality supplement can fill in the nutritional gaps created during such times and help your body continue muscle growth rather than searching for the vital nutrients. I recommend the Prograde VGF 25+ as it is the highest quality supplement.


10 Anabolicious Muscle Building Recipes

Join my newsletter and I will send you the 10 most tastiest muscle building recipes to build muscle and gain mass.


Knowing the right foods is the first step in muscle building nutrition. Cooking tasty muscle meals in few minutes is the next.

Anabolic Cooking program shows you 200+ tasty muscle building recipes to take your muscle building goals to the next level.

Check out the 200+ recipes here.

Recent Articles

  1. Bodybuilding Workouts & Muscle Building Workout Routines that Build Muscle

    Jul 01, 17 09:52 AM

    Discover effective bodybuilding workouts and muscle building routines with strategies to make every workout a killer one. Download free 3-day, 4-day or 5-day workout routines.

    Read More

  2. Why Beginner Bodybuilders must use Light Weights for Muscle Gain

    Jul 01, 17 09:44 AM

    Discover the science why beginner bodybuilders must use light to moderate weights to gain maximum muscle mass in the first 2-3 months of training to gain muscle, prevent injuries and grow bigger.

    Read More

  3. How to do a S.W.O.T Analysis of Your Bodybuilding Workout

    Oct 26, 16 01:41 AM

    Looking to take your bodybuilding workout to the next level? Then do a SWOT analysis of your muscle building workout to increase your lifts every workout.

    Read More