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Best Foods to Fuel Muscle Growth

Building muscle is a goal shared by many individuals who regularly exercise and engage in strength training. While a well-structured workout routine is crucial for muscle development, proper nutrition is equally important in achieving your desired gains. Understanding the significance of macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and fats—is essential for optimizing your diet for muscle-building success. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best foods to increase muscle growth, providing a comprehensive guide to fueling your body for optimal results.

Lean Protein Sources

Protein is the cornerstone of any muscle-building diet. It provides the essential amino acids your body needs to repair and build muscle tissue after a workout. Incorporating lean protein sources into your meals gives you the nutrients necessary for muscle growth. Below are some excellent options. 

  1. Chicken breast: Skinless, boneless chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein and is low in fat.
  1. Turkey: Like chicken, turkey is rich in protein and versatile for muscle growth.
  1. Lean beef: Opt for lean cuts like sirloin or round steak for a healthy protein, iron, and zinc dose.
  1. Fish: Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids, aiding muscle recovery.
  1. Eggs are a great source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and choline.
  1. Plant-based options: For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider adding tofu, tempeh, lentils, and beans as protein sources.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a dairy product rich in protein and contains probiotics, which support digestive health. Choose plain Greek yogurt over flavoured varieties, to avoid added sugars. The high protein content in Greek yogurt aids muscle repair and growth, making it an ideal snack or breakfast when paired with fruits, nuts, or honey.


Quinoa is a nutritious whole grain that contains both protein and complex carbohydrates. It’s an excellent choice for providing your muscles with a steady energy supply. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a valuable addition to your muscle-building diet.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, are rich in healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients. These foods provide a combination of protein and healthy fats that can support muscle growth and overall health. Exercise portion control, due to their calorie density, but include them in snacks or meals for sustained energy and muscle support.

Lean Dairy Products

Low-fat or fat-free dairy products like — milk, cottage cheese, and cheese — are excellent sources of protein and calcium. Calcium plays a role in muscle contractions, making it an essential nutrient for muscle function. Additionally, dairy products contain casein protein, which is slow-digesting and can provide a sustained release of amino acids to support muscle recovery during sleep.

Lean Pork

Lean cuts of pork, such as tenderloin, are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals like thiamine, niacin, and phosphorus. Including pork in your diet can provide a variety of nutrients necessary for muscle growth. Try cooking methods like grilling or baking, to retain the nutritional value of pork while minimizing saturated fat intake.


Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. While they may not be high in protein, they can support muscle growth by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which can hinder recovery. Integrate berries into your diet as a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth while supporting your muscle-building goals.


Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fibre, providing long-lasting energy for your workouts and aiding in muscle recovery. Beyond oatmeal, consider including oats in recipes such as overnight oats or homemade protein bars, for a convenient and nutritious boost to your muscle-building diet.


Achieving your muscle-growth goals requires a combination of consistent exercise and a well-balanced diet. Combining these muscle-building foods into your daily meals can give your body the nutrients needed to maintain lean muscle mass. Stay hydrated and monitor your overall calorie intake, to support your fitness objectives. You can achieve the desired muscle gains by focusing on the right foods and staying dedicated to your fitness routine.

Jennifer M. Williams | Editor-in-Chief

Summer 2024

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