Muscle building foods

Best Muscle Building Foods for Long-Term Results: Maximizing Muscle Growth in 2023

Explanation of the importance of nutrition in muscle building Foods

When it comes to building muscle, we often focus solely on our workout routine, forgetting the important role that nutrition plays in achieving long-term results.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Bodybuilding is 80% nutrition.”

In order to maximize muscle growth, consuming the right foods that fuel and repair muscles is important.

By incorporating healthy muscle-building meals into your diet, you can enhance your performance in the gym and achieve your desired physique in the long run.

So, let’s look at some of the top foods you should be eating to see some serious gains.

The Role of Protein in mass building

Sources of vegetable protein are laid out in the shape of a heart

It’s time to debunk a common myth in the fitness world. You don’t need to chow down on meat to build muscle. Sure, protein plays a crucial role in bodybuilding, but it doesn’t have to come from animal products.

As Arnold once stated that if he had known in his youth that meat-free protein was the superior choice for health, he could have avoided damaging his health through other means.

In fact, meat-free proteins can be just as effective, if not more so. Not to mention, a diet high in animal products can lead to long-term health problems.

So, if you want to build muscle and take care of your body for the long haul, consider incorporating meat-free protein sources like quinoa, lentils, and tofu into your meals. Your muscles (and your health) will thank you.

Fueling Muscle Growth with Plant-Based Power Foods

Are you tired of chugging protein shakes and forcing down tasteless chicken breasts in hopes of gaining muscle?

Fear not, my plant-based friends, because building muscle doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your love for all things green. In fact, some of the best muscle-building foods are plant-based! That’s right, you don’t need to eat like a caveman to bulk up.

In this blog, I’m going to give you a list of healthy, delicious, and plant-based foods that will help maximize your muscle development and keep you feeling good in the long run. So, put down that bland chicken, and let’s get to it!

Plant-based protein sources for muscle mass

If you’re looking to build muscle on a plant-based diet, it’s important to include protein-rich foods in your meals. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious plant-based options that can help support muscle hypertrophy.

The list of high-protein plant-based foods

The list includes lentils, tofu, chickpeas, edamame, quinoa, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, chia seeds, seitan, and tempeh. These foods are not only packed with protein, but also with a range of other important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to build muscle and maintain overall health.

Here are some high-protein plant-based foods that can help support muscle hypertrophy.

Building muscles
Building muscles
  1. Lentils – 18g protein per cooked cup
  2. Tofu – 20g protein per 3.5oz serving
  3. Chickpeas – 15g protein per cooked cup
  4. Edamame – 18g protein per cooked cup
  5. Quinoa – 8g protein per cooked cup
  6. Nutritional Yeast – 8g protein per 2 tbsp
  7. Hemp Seeds – 10g protein per 3 tbsp
  8. Chia Seeds – 5g protein per 2 tbsp
  9. Seitan – 24g protein per 3.5oz serving
  10. Tempeh – 16g protein per 3.5oz serving

Incorporating a variety of these non-animal protein sources into your meals can help you meet your daily protein needs and support muscle development.

In addition to the high-protein plant-based foods listed above

There are plenty of other options to choose from. Beans such as black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans are also great sources of meat-free protein, with around 15g per cooked cup.

Other seeds

such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also protein-rich, with around 8g of protein per quarter cup. Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts, are also good sources of meat-free protein, with around 6-8g of protein per quarter cup.

It’s important to remember that variety is key when it comes to a healthy diet, so try to incorporate a range of non-animal protein sources into your meals to get the most benefit.

For more in-depth information on meat-free protein sources, be sure to check out the resource on Best Plant-Based Protein.

The protein content of these foods and their benefits for bodybuilding

The high-protein plant-based foods listed above are all excellent options for supporting bodybuilding.

Protein is a key nutrient for building and repairing muscle tissue, and consuming enough protein is essential for promoting muscle hypertrophy.

Lentils, tofu, chickpeas, and edamame are all great sources of protein, with around 15-20g per serving.

Quinoa is also a good source of protein, with around 8g per cooked cup, along with other important nutrients such as fiber, iron, and magnesium.

Nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are great sources of protein and can easily be added to meals and snacks for an extra boost of nutrition.

Seitan and tempeh are both protein-rich meat alternatives that are made from wheat and soybeans respectively, and provide a whopping 16-24g of protein per serving.

In addition to their protein content, many of these plant-based foods also contain other important nutrients that can benefit muscle development and overall health.


For example, lentils are also high in iron, which is important for transporting oxygen to the muscles, while quinoa is high in magnesium, which can help relax muscles and improve exercise performance.

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of healthy fats and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and promote recovery after exercise.

Incorporating these meat-free protein sources into a well-rounded diet can provide the nutrients necessary for supporting muscle hypertrophy and overall health.

Explanation of how to incorporate these foods into a balanced diet

Incorporating high-protein plant-based foods into a proper nutrition diet can be easy and delicious.

One approach is to swap out traditional meat-based meals for plant-based options. For example, instead of chicken breast, try a serving of lentils or chickpeas as the protein source in a salad, wrap, or stir-fry.

Tofu and tempeh can be used as substitutes for meat in many dishes, such as burgers, tacos, and stir-fries. Quinoa and brown rice can be used as a base for bowls or salads and can be topped with a variety of veggies and legumes for a complete meal.

Nuts and seeds make great snacks and can be sprinkled on top of salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for added protein and texture.

Smoothies can also be a great way to pack in meat-free protein, by adding ingredients such as silken tofu, hemp seeds, and leafy greens.

With a bit of creativity and experimentation, it’s easy to incorporate these high-protein plant-based foods into a well-rounded and satisfying diet that supports muscle development and overall health.

Other important nutrients for muscle building

Explanation of the role of carbohydrates and healthy fats in providing energy for workouts and supporting muscle mass

In addition to protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats play important roles in supporting bodybuilding and providing energy for workouts.

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, and they provide the fuel needed for high-intensity workouts. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocado, provide sustained energy and also support the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for muscle growth and recovery, such as vitamin D and calcium.

Healthy fats (muscle building foods)
Healthy fats (muscle-building foods)

Keep in mind

It’s important to include a variety of nutrient-dense foods in a muscle-building diet to ensure that the body has all the nutrients it needs to perform at its best.

A well-rounded diet that includes plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help support muscle development, energy levels, and overall health.

List of healthy carbohydrate and fat sources

Here’s a list of healthy carbohydrate and fat sources.

Healthy Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, pasta, etc.)
  • Fruits (berries, bananas, apples, etc.)
  • Vegetables (sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, carrots, etc.)
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.)
  • Low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, etc.)

Healthy Fat Sources:

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.)
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.)
  • Coconut oil
  • Nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)

Incorporating these healthy carbohydrate and fat sources

By incorporating these foods can provide the energy and nutrients your body needs to support muscle growth and exercise performance.

Incorporating these healthy carbohydrate and fat sources, including omega-3 fatty acids, into your diet can provide the energy and nutrients your body needs to support muscle growth and exercise performance.

To optimize your muscle-building goals, it’s important to consume a balanced diet with sufficient muscle-building foods that provides the number of calories to meet your body’s energy demands.

Aim to eat 3-4 servings of healthy carbohydrates per day, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and incorporate healthy fats, including sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds, into your meals and snacks.

Additionally, consuming omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fatty fish, chia seeds, and flaxseeds can provide additional benefits for reducing inflammation and improving recovery, which can support muscle growth and exercise performance.

Top muscle-building meals for long-term results

Here are five plant-based meals that are high in protein and carbohydrates to support bodybuilding:

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry: This hearty and flavorful curry is made with protein-rich chickpeas and vitamin-packed sweet potatoes. One serving contains approximately 15 g of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrates.

Lentil Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash: A plant-based twist on a classic Italian dish, this bolognese is made with protein-packed lentils and served over spaghetti squash for a low-carb option. One serving contains approximately 20 g of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad: This refreshing salad is a great source of plant-based protein from both quinoa and black beans. One serving contains approximately 12 g of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates.

Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice: This stir-fry is a delicious way to get a variety of vegetables in your diet while also getting a good source of plant-based protein from tofu. Served with brown rice, one serving contains approximately 15 g of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrates.

Vegan Protein Smoothie Bowl: A tasty and satisfying breakfast or post-workout snack, this smoothie bowl is made with vegan protein powder, fruit, and almond milk. One serving contains approximately 20 g of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates.

How these foods can contribute to long-term health and muscle growth

Incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your diet can provide your body with the necessary building blocks for lean body mass and proper muscle function.

By consuming an adequate diet that includes plant-based sources of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, you can support your body’s needs for exercise and growth. In addition, consuming enough calories from these foods can help support healthy body weight and prevent muscle breakdown.

With regular exercise and an adequate diet rich in these muscle-building foods, you can achieve long-term results and maintain a healthy body.

The discipline of eating healthy muscle-building foods

The discipline of consistently consuming healthy, high-quality protein and nutrient-rich foods is crucial for supporting muscle health, muscle recovery, and achieving optimal body weight. Building muscle requires a steady supply of nutrients, particularly protein, to repair and grow muscular tissue after exercise.

Consistency in consuming healthy muscle-building foods such as lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, provides the body with the necessary nutrients for proper muscle development.

Discipline in following a healthy and well-rounded diet can lead to long-term benefits for both overall health and fitness goals.

Strategies for maintaining a healthy and consistent diet, such as meal planning, food tracking, and habit-forming techniques

Maintaining a healthy and consistent diet is essential to stimulate muscle growth and support muscle regeneration. One effective strategy is meal planning, which involves setting aside time each week to plan and prepare healthy meals in advance.

By doing this, you can ensure that you are getting enough high-quality protein and other essential nutrients to eat to gain muscle, and you can avoid the temptation of reaching for unhealthy snacks or fast food when you’re short on time. Another useful tool is food tracking, which can help you monitor your nutrient intake and ensure that you are meeting your daily protein and carbohydrate goals.

Finally, habit-forming techniques, such as setting specific meal times and creating a supportive environment, can help you stick to your healthy eating habits over the long term. By consistently consuming high-quality protein and other nutrients, you can support your muscle health and maintain healthy body weight.

Sample meal plan

Here’s a sample meal plan that includes three meals and meets the protein requirement of at least 80 grams.


  • 2 slices of whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons of almond butter (16 grams of protein)
  • 1 medium banana (1 gram of protein)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk (7 grams of protein)


  • 1 cup of sliced carrots with 2 tablespoons of hummus (4 grams of protein)


  • Quinoa and black bean salad with mixed greens and veggies (30 grams of protein)
  • 1 medium apple (0 grams of protein)


  • 1 serving of roasted chickpeas (6 grams of protein)


  • 1 serving of lentil soup (18 grams of protein)
  • 1 small whole wheat pita bread (6 grams of protein)
  • 1 cup of steamed broccoli (3 grams of protein)

Total protein for the day: 91 grams

Keep in mind that this is just an example and can be adjusted based on individual dietary needs and preferences.

Here’s an example meal plan for someone doing intermittent fasting (16/8) that contains at least 80 grams of protein.

Meal 1 (12 pm):

  • Quinoa bowl with mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, bell peppers), chickpeas, and avocado
  • Protein shake made with plant-based protein powder, almond milk, and frozen berries

The second Meal (3 pm):

  • Tofu stir-fry with mixed vegetables (bok choy, mushrooms, snap peas) and brown rice
  • Side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and sliced almonds

Third Meal (7 pm):

  • Grilled portobello mushrooms with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus
  • Lentil soup with a side of whole-grain bread

Total protein intake: approximately 86 grams (assuming 20 grams of protein in the protein shake, 25 grams of protein in the tofu stir-fry, 10 grams of protein in the side salad, 6 grams of protein in the mushrooms, 15 grams of protein in the lentil soup, and 10 grams of protein in the bread).

How this meal plan meets the recommended daily protein intake for bodybuilding?

The sample meal plan provided includes three meals that collectively provide over 80 grams of protein, which meets or exceeds the recommended daily protein intake for bodybuilding.

Each meal contains plant-based protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, and lentils, along with healthy carbohydrates and fats to support energy and muscle growth.

Following a meal plan like this, while also engaging in regular exercise, can help individuals meet their muscle-building goals while maintaining healthy, balanced eating.

Exercise for mass building

Strength training is essential for stimulating muscle development and promoting lean muscle gain. When you engage in strength training exercises, you place stress on your muscles, which creates small tears in the muscle fibers.

As your body repairs these tears, it builds new muscle tissue, resulting in lean body mass. Incorporating strength training into your workout routine is crucial for those looking to maximize muscle growth as much as possible.

Without it, you may struggle to build the lean muscle mass necessary to achieve your goals. Additionally, strength training can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories, even when you’re not working out, which can aid in achieving a leaner physique.


In conclusion, it is crucial to understand that proper nutrition is essential for building muscle, regardless of whether you follow a plant-based diet or consume meat. Incorporating healthy plant-based protein sources, such as beans, tofu, and quinoa, can be just as effective as animal sources.

Additionally, including healthy unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts and seeds, can support muscle recovery and increase muscle mass.

Maintaining discipline in consuming healthy muscle-building foods and incorporating strength training exercises into your workout routine can help stimulate muscle development and support lean muscle gain.

Working with a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist to develop a personalized meal plan can ensure that you are meeting your individual nutrient needs to achieve your fitness goals.

Remember, building lean muscle mass takes time and consistency. By prioritizing proper nutrition and exercise, you can achieve as much muscle gain as you desire while also supporting your long-term health and well-being.

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