Fitness & Health
Leave a Comment

Understanding foods that build muscle

healthy food

Building muscle is the perfect combination of training and nutrition, they come hand in hand in order to see results or reach goals. We worked with Future Fit Training to bring you everything you need to know regarding nutrition for building muscle. The key to nutrition in building muscle is eating nutritious and high-protein meals as well as incorporating carbohydrates and fats as sources of energy. Guest author Future Fit Training explore foods to help you build muscle.

Top high protein foods

Below you can find some of the top foods which you can incorporate into your diet for a healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat intake whilst trying to build muscle. These foods can be the base of your meal planning, ensuring you incorporate these into your diet throughout each week will support you in your journey to build muscle.


Salmon is great high-protein food which is also beneficial to your overall health, it has a great combination of protein, omega-3 acids and several important B vitamins. 

Lean beef mince

Beef mince can be quite a fatty meat, so when trying to build muscle mass and control fat intake buying lean beef mince is the best thing for you. When trying to gain muscle it’s best to find foods that can support mass protein intake without adding on significant calorie intake. 

Lean mince contains high protein as well as B vitamins, minerals and creatine making it a staple food in your muscle-building diet. 

Soya beans

Including soya beans within your diet can be a good source of protein for those who may be trying to adopt a vegetarian diet or just as a way of having less meat day-to-day. Soya beans have around 16 grams of protein per half a cup, whilst also having healthy unsaturated fat and several vitamins and minerals. 


Chickpeas are another great source of protein and carbohydrates for muscle-building diets as well as for vegans and vegetarians. A cup of chickpeas contains around 15 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrates. It may be considered a lower protein source compared to meats, however as a plant source this protein can be beneficial in a muscle-building diet.


Nuts including peanuts, walnuts, hazel nuts and several others are considered whole foods which contain high protein and unsaturated fats. A standard serving of peanuts (28 grams) will contain 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrates. This can be a great food to incorporate into meals or use as a daily snack, to help boost nutrient and protein intake for the day. 

Chicken breast

Whenever people are trying to increase their muscle mass chicken breast becomes a staple in doing so, as lean and high protein meat. The average chicken breast will have around 25 grams of protein per serving whilst also having both B vitamins niacin and B6 which are important to have when you are particularly active.

brown rice
Photo by Trista Chen

Brown rice

Brown rice is an important part of increasing muscle mass, not as a protein source but as a carbohydrate. A portion of brown rice will only contain around 6 grams of protein and around 45 grams of carbohydrates. 

You should consider eating this type of food to help fuel a workout or physical activity by consuming this a few hours before. This will help your performance by providing your body with energy helping you train harder. 


Quinoa is another food type which is not necessarily protein-rich but is however a good source of carbohydrates to help provide energy. Once cooked, a cup of quinoa contains 40 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fibre and a large amount of magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in helping muscles function. 

Greek yogurt

Dairy is a good way to consume protein as well as having a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein which will help aid lean muscle mass. 

This can be a good type of food to consume after a workout or before bed, due to its combination of fast and slow digesting proteins.


Eggs are a great food to incorporate into your meal plans, they contain a high level of protein as well as healthy fats and nutrients like B vitamins and choline. They also contain high levels of amino acid leucine which is important for muscle gain. 

Is nutrition important in building muscle?

It is important to recognise the importance of your nutrition when you are training towards a particular goal, if you are making drastic changes in the amount of training you are doing, you should be looking at making the necessary changes to your nutrition. 

You could be doing intense weight training for weeks on weeks and see little to no results because your nutrition is not meeting the needs of your body. It is important that you provide your body and muscles with the food it needs to repair and recover. This will then help you see results in building muscle and progressing in your fitness journey. 

What diet modifications do I need to make to help?

It is recommended that in order to start building and gaining muscle mass you should be adding between 600-1000 calories more on top of your current daily intake. But this can differ for everybody so it could be worth speaking to a qualified personal trainer or nutrition coach to understand this in more detail relating to your personal needs. 

To focus on foods that build muscle you should just ensure you are including the staple foods which are rich in carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. These can all be gained through both meat and plant food sources. 

If you are interested in learning more about the world of nutrition and fitness, discover Future Fit Training’s range of nutrition courses or personal training courses.

This blog post was authored by Future Fit Training – a leading training provider, offering courses in personal training, nutrition and much more.

Header photo by Ella Olsson

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


Human Kinetics is the world's leading information provider on physical activity and health. This blog is operated by the European division of Human Kinetics, based in Leeds in the United Kingdom. In this blog we aim to bring you our latest products, news on our existing products and articles and information on health, exercise, fitness, PE, nutrition and much, much more.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.