6 Best Meals for Bodybuilding Diet

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

If you want to shred fat and build muscle, a bodybuilding diet plan can help you get there. Depending on your specific goals, every diet can be customized, but when it comes to bodybuilding, there is little debate about the fundamental nutritional needs in your diet. However, to gain muscle and lose fat effectively, it is important to understand how your body processes nutrients, what other factors affect your success, and what the best meal plan might be.

Bodybuilding Diet Plan

The key to any bodybuilding diet plan is to increase your protein levels, as this will help your muscles develop rapidly. Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of everything in the body, specifically muscle tissue. Without a high level of protein in your diet, all of the working out you do to bulk up those muscles will be useless, as the body won’t have the raw materials to create new muscle mass.

A healthy diet for an average person is usually composed of balanced levels of carbohydrates, protein, and fat – these are the three caloric sources in your diet. However, if you want to increase muscle size and strength, your protein intake should become a dominant part of your diet, and you should minimize your fat intake. Bodybuilders typically have a body fat percentage between 4%-9%, which allows their muscles to show clearly, rather than being covered by a small layer of fat. [1]

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, nuts, animal proteins, grains, and glasses of juices placed on a mat.

Plan your diet carefully when you are on a bodybuilding regime. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

That being said, there still must be balance in a bodybuilding diet plan, with complex carbohydrates, vegetables and other healthy foods included to round out your overall nutritional needs. While the most concentrated forms of protein tend to come from animal-based sources, such as red meat, poultry, and fish, there has been a recent increase in the amount of vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders. Protein-rich plant-based sources like seitan, soy, buckwheat, quinoa, and mycoprotein are also included in the vegan diet. [2]

Meal Plan for Body Building

A bodybuilding diet plan can come in many different forms, but some of the simplest and easiest to prepare options include large concentrations of protein, starchy carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vegetables, as well as protein supplements, and health shakes. Eating 5-6 meals per day, rather than 3 massive meals, will also help your body increase muscle mass development. An average daily diet for a bodybuilder should look something like the following. [3]

Meal 1

2 cups of Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of granola

1/2 cup of raspberries

1/2 cup of blueberries

3 eggs

Meal 2 (Shake)

2 scoops of protein powder

1 banana

1/2 cup of almonds

2 cups of almond milk

1 cup of water

3 ice cubes

Meal 3

10 oz. burger patty

2 leaves of lettuce

2 slices of tomato

2 slices of onion

2 cups of raw carrots (on the side)

Meal 4

1 Protein bar for post-workout recovery

Meal 5

6 oz. salmon filet

1 cup of brown rice

1 cup of spinach leaves

1/4 cup of feta cheese

1/2 green pepper

1/4 onion

1/4 cup of olive oil

Meal 6

6 oz. of chicken

1 cup of chickpeas

1/4 cup of walnuts

1/4 cup of raisins

Essential Tips for Bodybuilders

The best tips for maintaining a bodybuilding diet plan include staying hydrated, never skipping meals, avoiding processed foods and sweets, preventing overeating, occasionally cheating on your diet and using liquid nutrition instead of snacking, among others.

Avoid Overeating

It is possible to eat too much while trying a bodybuilding diet plan, and while your calorie intake may be significantly higher than in the past, there is still a limit to how much the body can use, versus how much it will have to store as fat. Moderate your calories appropriately, based on your physical activity and metabolic expectations, but don’t simply gorge yourself on protein. [4]

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is critical for bodybuilders, as they will lose water in large quantities during intense training. If you want any of your efforts to be successful, your body needs to function properly, which means it needs enough water. Drinking water throughout the day is essential for muscle-building properties, as well as calorie-burning efforts by the body. [5]

Stop Skipping Meals

When you are in a bodybuilding mode, your systems are constantly seeking nutrients to create muscle mass and make up for the burned off calories. Skipping a meal can cause your body to stumble, and you will lose the potential benefits of your previous workout. You want to ensure that your body gets the nutrients it has become accustomed to if you want to see healthy, rapid results. [6]

Cheating on the Diet

It can be difficult to maintain any diet without a break, so don’t be afraid to give yourself a cheat day, where you grab some fast food or a pint of ice cream. These small rewards, in moderation, will help keep your motivation up and make it easier to maintain your bodybuilding diet plan for the long haul. [7]

Liquid Nutrition

On a bodybuilding diet plan, hunger can often creep up in between meals, even if you are having 5-6 meals per day. Instead of reaching for a snack or stopping for fast food, have protein shakes or other liquid forms of nutrition on hand. This will sate your appetite and is perfect for grabbing some good nutrients on the go. [8]

Avoid Processed Foods & Sweets

Avoid processed foods whenever possible including fast food, which is packed with trans and saturated fats. While some processed foods may contain good amounts of protein, they also have unhealthy fats that your body will have to work to eliminate. The same is true for sweets, cakes, potato chips, and other simple carbohydrates. [9]

Best Foods for Building Muscle

If you want to build muscle, your diet needs to include foods like eggs, salmon, brown rice, turkey, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, nuts, and tuna, among others.

Eggs – With 6 grams of protein in a single large egg, this is one of the purest sources for your protein-rich bodybuilding diet plan. [10]

Salmon – This fatty fish is not only high in protein, with 40 grams of protein in a medium filet, but it also possesses omega-3 fatty acids, which are the types of healthy fats that you want to include in your diet. [11]

Brown Rice – Your bodybuilding diet needs protein as well as fiber, and brown rice provides ample amounts of both. With 5 grams of protein per cup and 3.5 grams of fiber, adding at least one cup of this to your diet every day is a wise choice. [12]

Chickpeas – One of the most popular protein sources for vegetarians, chickpeas have 40 grams of protein per cup, the same amount as a filet of salmon. You can also include them easily in salads and as side dishes for your meals. [13]

Turkey – This is an excellent form of lean protein, which won’t contain as many of the unhealthy fats as red meat. Turkey contains nearly 25 grams of protein in every 100 grams of meat, which is an impressive percentage for any food.

Tuna – Similar to salmon, tuna has a high level of protein (30 grams in a 100-gram filet), as well as a number of healthy fats, and has a huge amount of vitamin B-12, which is very good for the body metabolism and muscle-building. [14]

Sweet Potatoes – In terms of starchy carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are a great choice, as they contain high levels of dietary fiber, as well as various nutrients and antioxidants that the body needs while undergoing significant muscle growth.

DMCA.com Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 3.6 out of 5.0 based on 23 user(s).