As we all know, protein is king.
What this sometimes means is that many of us will simply turn to the protein shake without a moment’s hesitation – forgetting that there are everyday foods which contain masses of protein and are actually pretty healthy (and tasty).
We’re not just talking about the normal suggestions either – we’re not going to propose that you stock up on chicken and rice for every meal. Instead, we have the complete list of ten and this time, you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the foods that make the grade.
Let’s now get straight into the list – and show how your diet can kick-start your muscle-growth.
We’ve already mentioned it, and we really should get it out of the way first. Like it or not, protein shakes are extremely effective.
The amount of protein they can deliver to your body in one serving is terrific and fortunately, the days of those ill-flavours are long gone. While some particular shakes might not be to everyone’s taste, most people have found that these shakes can be combined with other foods to make them utterly scrumptious. Some will form a smoothie and combine with fruits and vegetables – the options are endless.
Additionally, protein shakes give you some good options. You can quickly decide whether to go for whey, soy, egg or whatever protein suits your needs.
We promise – the remaining suggestions will be more inventive. However, never forget the power of the shake.
When we spoke about being a little more inventive, we’d suggest that this next food probably makes the grade.
We’ve just passed comment on protein shakes and how powerful these can be – without getting into specifics on how much protein they can deliver to your muscles (the reason is – all brands vary).
With lentils, there’s no such confusion. If you turn to one cup, you’ll immediately charge yourself with 50g of protein and 115g of carbohydrates. It’s a tremendous amount of fuel and when you also consider the 59g of fibre you get – it’s pretty much the perfect food.
The beauty about lentils is that you don’t have to inhale them all at once. You can add them to a huge variety of meals and as they’re so cheap to buy, there’s no reason why everybody can’t rely on this muscle-building fuel.
One of the suggestions that most of you were probably expecting comes in the form of eggs.
Eggs are something which go hand-in-hand with muscle growth, for the simple reason that they contain large amounts of protein again. There are around 6g of protein per egg and when you consider how many most of us are able to handle – it means that it certainly stacks up.
There are some slight concerns regarding cholesterol, but considering the lack of fat and all of the different ways eggs can be cooked – all in all they are a bodybuilder’s dream.
Most people are surprised to see nuts high on a list of muscle-building foods, for the simple reason that they’re so small. However, for their size, they are extremely powerful and contain masses of protein which can help you on your way.
This is another food which really allows you to experiment with your cooking. While some people will just use them as a healthy snack, others may fry them to take advantage of the flavours.
Regardless of how you use them – they can make a tremendous difference.
You have most probably been waiting around for this one for a while. Meat and protein are often closely associated with each other and if you turn to something like chicken (as we mentioned earlier) or lean beef you will be reaping in huge amounts of protein without taking on board much fat.
As well as the protein-punch, let’s not forget that meat contains umpteen nutrients and vitamins that will do your overall health the world of good.
Additionally, as we all know, the cooking options are endless here. Whether its grilling the meet or barbecuing it – you can make quite the menu.
A lot of the time dairy is immediately discarded because of its fat content. While this can be true to an extent with some types of dairy (we’re talking about the likes of full fat cottage cheese and the like), some types are absolute Godsends when it comes to protein.
Greek yoghurt and milk are prime examples although regardless of the dairy you tap into, always check the sugar content. A lot of dairy foods have the habit of overloading on sugar which can bring your diet crashing down, even if you are taking in heaps of protein and vitamins.
When we talk about legumes, we’re really referring to foods like pulses, beans and chickpeas to be specific. Once again, these are inundated with all the right goodness – plenty of proteins, fibre and nutrients. Additionally, they’re free of the bad stuff like cholesterol and fat.
Naturally, they tend to be a preferred option for vegetarians and vegans. The best way to treat them is to soak them overnight, before cooking them in boiling hot water.
As we’ve already said, most people have chicken and other types of meats drilled into them as one of the best fuels for muscle growth.
It therefore seems bizarre that years and years ago, back in the gladiator days, these great warriors actually relied on a vegan diet. One of the primary ingredients that formed part of this was grains.
When you take a look at grains in detail, it’s really not surprising to see why these were (and still are) such a powerful ingredient. They contain slow-releasing carbohydrates which provide you with energy through the day, while it should go without saying by now that they also have lots of protein inside.
In terms of specific grains, the likes of rice, quinoa and oats are some of the best you can get. These don’t have to be consumed “directly” either – they can be part of other foods, such as bread and flapjacks, and still have the same effect.
The only rule with grains is to make sure that you’re sticking to whole grains, and not refined ones.
Next on the list is soy and if you’ve researched any muscle-building products, you’ll be fully aware of the powers of this. The fact that some protein shakes solely rely on soy says everything you need to know about how much it can aid the muscle growth process.
It’s one of the best forms of plant-based protein you can rely on and if you’re looking to turn to a specific form of protein – something going by the name of tempeh can work wonders. Made from soybeans, this actually contains 50% more protein than soy itself.
Last but not least is another small ingredient – but one that can make every bit of difference. Seeds are another fine choice if your vegetarian, but even the meat-eaters amongst you should be able to reap the benefits of them.
Whether its flaxseeds, chia seeds, hempseeds or any of the umpteen other types of seeds – there is immense protein within these small particles. They also have plenty of “good fats” and carbs, with the latter providing you with plenty of energy for those gruelling workouts.