23 Best Muscle Building Foods That Help Build Lean Mass

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Written By Jonathan Deventer

Building lean muscle mass requires a combination of effective training and a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients that support muscle growth. Nutrition plays a crucial role in the process of muscle building, providing the body with the necessary fuel and building blocks for optimal growth and recovery. In this article, we will explore 23 of the best muscle building foods that can help you achieve your fitness goals and build lean mass effectively.

Must Read: Best Bodybuilding Diet For Beginners

23 Best Muscle Building Foods

Here is the list of 23 Best Muscle Building Foods that will help you to build lean muscle.

Foods For Bodybuilding

Chicken Breast

Protein Content: Chicken breast is a lean source of protein, containing about 31 grams per 100 grams.

Nutrient Profile: It also provides essential nutrients such as B vitamins, particularly niacin and B6, which are crucial for energy metabolism and muscle function.


Protein Content: Eggs are a complete protein source, with approximately 6 grams of protein per egg.

Nutrient Profile: They are rich in vitamins such as B12, riboflavin, and choline, which play a role in energy production and muscle function.


Protein Content: Salmon provides about 25 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, supporting muscle recovery and reducing inflammation.

Greek Yogurt

Protein Content: Greek yogurt is high in protein, containing around 15 grams per 6-ounce serving.

Probiotics: It also contains probiotics that aid in digestive health, promoting nutrient absorption.

Lean Beef:

Protein Content: Lean beef offers approximately 26 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Iron and Zinc: It is a good source of iron, crucial for oxygen transport, and zinc, which supports immune function and muscle growth.

Cottage Cheese

Protein Content: Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, providing about 11 grams per half-cup.

Calcium: It is also a source of calcium, supporting bone health.


Protein Content: Quinoa is a complete protein, offering around 8 grams per cup.

Complex Carbohydrates: It provides complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and fiber for digestive health.

Brown Rice

Carbohydrates: Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate source, supplying about 45 grams of carbs per cup.

Nutrient Density: It contains essential nutrients such as magnesium and selenium.

Sweet Potatoes

Carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, providing approximately 26 grams per cup.

Vitamins: They are a good source of vitamins A and C, contributing to overall health.


Protein Content: Chickpeas are a plant-based protein source, offering around 15 grams per cup.

Fiber: They are high in fiber, supporting digestive health and nutrient absorption.


Protein and Healthy Fats: Peanuts provide both protein (about 26 grams per cup) and healthy fats.

Vitamins and Minerals: They contain essential vitamins and minerals like niacin and magnesium.


Protein and Healthy Fats: Almonds are a protein and healthy fat source, providing about 6 grams of protein per ounce.

Antioxidants: They contain antioxidants, supporting overall health and recovery.


Protein Types: Milk contains both whey and casein proteins, offering around 8 grams of protein per cup.

Calcium: It is a significant source of calcium, crucial for bone health.


Protein Content: Tuna is a lean protein source, providing approximately 30 grams per 100 grams.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Like salmon, tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids for inflammation reduction.


Carbohydrates and Fibers: Oats are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, offering around 16 grams of protein per cup.

Beta-glucans: They contain beta-glucans, which support heart health.

Whey Protein

Fast-Digesting Protein: Whey protein is a quickly absorbed protein supplement, often used post-workout.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): It is rich in BCAAs, crucial for muscle protein synthesis.


Fiber and Nutrients: Broccoli is high in fiber, offering about 5 grams per cup, and provides essential vitamins and minerals.

Antioxidants: It contains antioxidants, supporting overall health.


Iron and Vitamins: Spinach is a good source of iron and vitamins, providing about 6 grams of protein per cup.

Antioxidants: It contains antioxidants, promoting recovery and immune health.


Protein Content: Turkey is a lean protein source, offering approximately 29 grams per 100 grams.

B Vitamins and Zinc: It provides B vitamins and zinc, supporting energy metabolism and immune function.


Protein and Fiber: Beans are a plant-based protein source with around 15 grams of protein per cup and high fiber content.

Slow-Digesting Carbohydrates: They provide slow-digesting carbohydrates for sustained energy.


Protein and Fiber: Lentils offer both protein (about 18 grams per cup) and fiber.

Micronutrients: They contain essential micronutrients such as folate and manganese.


Carbohydrates and Potassium: Bananas are a natural source of carbohydrates (about 30 grams per banana) and potassium.

Vitamins: They provide essential vitamins, contributing to overall health.


Low-Calorie Nutrient Source: Cauliflower is low in calories but rich in vitamins, providing about 3 grams of protein per cup.

Antioxidants: It contains antioxidants, supporting overall health.

Crazy Bulk Cutting Stack

23 muscle-building Recipes

Here are simple and delicious recipes for each of the 23 best muscle building foods:

Chicken Breast: Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken

  • Marinate chicken breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Grill until fully cooked, and serve with a side of steamed vegetables.

Eggs: Spinach and Mushroom Omelette

  • Whisk eggs and pour into a hot, greased pan. Add spinach, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Fold the omelet and cook until the eggs are set.

Salmon: Baked Dijon Salmon

  • Mix Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Coat salmon fillets and bake until flaky. Serve with quinoa.

Greek Yogurt: Berry Greek Yogurt Parfait

  • Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, granola, and a drizzle of honey.

Lean Beef: Beef Stir-Fry

  • Sauté lean beef strips with colorful vegetables in a wok.
  • Season with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Serve over brown rice.

Cottage Cheese: Cottage Cheese and Pineapple Bowl

  • Mix cottage cheese with fresh pineapple chunks for a sweet and savory snack.

Quinoa: Quinoa Salad

  • Combine cooked quinoa with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Brown Rice: Teriyaki Chicken with Brown Rice

  • Cook brown rice and serve with grilled teriyaki chicken and steamed broccoli.

Sweet Potatoes: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • Cut sweet potatoes into fries, toss with olive oil and seasoning, and bake until crispy.

Chickpeas: Chickpea Salad

  • Combine chickpeas with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta cheese.
  • Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.

Peanuts: Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • Blend peanuts, banana, Greek yogurt, and a splash of milk for a protein-packed smoothie.

Almonds: Almond-Crusted Baked Chicken

  • Coat chicken breasts in crushed almonds and bake until golden brown.

Milk: Protein-Packed Smoothie

  • Blend milk with whey protein, banana, and a handful of berries for a quick and nutritious shake.

Tuna: Tuna Salad Wrap

  • Mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt, celery, and herbs.
  • Spread the mixture on a whole-grain wrap with lettuce and tomatoes.

Oats: Overnight Oats

  • Combine oats, milk, yogurt, and your favorite toppings in a jar.
  • Refrigerate overnight for a quick and nutritious breakfast.

Whey Protein: Protein-Packed Pancakes

  • Mix whey protein with oats, bananas, and eggs to create high-protein pancakes.

Broccoli: Roasted Broccoli

  • Toss broccoli florets in olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest.
  • Roast until tender and slightly crispy.

Spinach: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

  • Stuff chicken breasts with a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, and garlic.
  • Bake until the chicken is cooked through.

Turkey: Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  • Mix ground turkey with cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, and taco seasoning.
  • Stuff bell peppers and bake until tender.

Beans: Black Bean Salad

  • Combine black beans with corn, red onion, cilantro, and a lime vinaigrette.

Lentils: Lentil Soup

  • Cook lentils with vegetables, tomatoes, and broth for a hearty and nutritious soup.

Bananas: Peanut Butter Banana Toast

  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain toast and top with banana slices.

Cauliflower: Cauliflower Mash

  • Steam cauliflower and mash with garlic, Greek yogurt, and a touch of olive oil.

These recipes not only incorporate the best muscle building foods but also add variety and flavor to your diet. Adjust portions based on your nutritional needs and enjoy the journey of building lean muscle with delicious, wholesome meals.



Incorporating these 23 muscle-building foods into your diet can significantly contribute to the development of lean muscle mass. Remember to combine a well-balanced diet with a consistent and effective workout routine for optimal results. It’s also essential to stay hydrated and get enough rest for proper recovery. Consult with a nutritionist or fitness professional to tailor these recommendations to your specific needs and goals. With the right combination of nutrition and exercise, you’ll be on your way to achieving a strong, lean physique.

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