Developing muscle is a never-ending process. At times, it may seem overwhelming to incorporate adequate amounts of protein into your diet, but it’s easier than you think! Both plant and animal proteins can help you develop muscle mass, and many foods are packed with protein and other beneficial nutrients that can make you stronger and healthier over time. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed carnivore or a dedicated vegan, you can incorporate some of these high-protein foods into your diet to help develop lean muscles and feel better.
Chicken breast, a diet staple of bodybuilders and marathon runners alike, is a classic protein-packed entree that serves as the center of countless low-calorie meals. With 26 grams of high-quality protein per three-ounce serving and essential B vitamins, chicken breast is easy to incorporate into a post-workout meal. As chicken breast typically contains less fat than other cuts of meat, it should be your new go-to if you are focusing on a high-protein, low-fat diet.
Hemp seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of protein that is a complete protein, which means this powerhouse food contains all nine amino acids. Additionally, more than 25% of the calories from these mighty seeds come from high-quality protein! With impressive amounts of protein and beneficial fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, hemp seeds can be added to your favorite post-workout meals like smoothies and salads.
Shrimp is packed with vitamins like B12, minerals like selenium, and fatty acids like omega-3s, all while being low in calories. This delicious seafood still packs a protein punch, however, with 90% of the calories coming from protein. Perfect for a post-workout dinner, shrimp can be mixed with grits and your favorite veggies for a classic and nutritious southern staple.
Known for their versatility, eggs can be scrambled, boiled, or over easy and will always contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins. These essential vitamins play a significant role in energy production, so eggs are a perfect snack before or after your workout. Eggs also contain the amino acid leucine, which aids in muscle gain by stimulating protein synthesis.
Most fish can help build muscle thanks to their lean protein. However, with B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is especially nutritious for more than just our muscles. In addition to being heart-healthy, these fatty acids may play a part in helping you build muscle faster. With 17 grams of protein per three-ounce serving, salmon will become your new favorite protein staple.
While other soy-based foods like tofu are well known for their protein content, edamame is a delicious and nutritious addition to the family of soy products. Typically used in Asian cuisine, these immature whole soybeans provide all essential amino acids and are packed with protein, fiber, vitamin K, and manganese. In addition to these valuable nutrients, edamame is full of folate to help our bodies process amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Dairy contains a mixture of fast and slow-digesting proteins, which may be beneficial for developing lean muscle. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt contains around twice as much protein and contains no carbohydrates. The combination of these complex proteins that digest at different speeds makes Greek yogurt the perfect post-workout snack if you are trying to burn fat while building muscle.
This tasty grain is the real deal. In addition to complex carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus, quinoa also contains eight grams of protein per cup. Quinoa is naturally low in calories and fat, so replacing pasta or bread with quinoa can give your meal a nutritional upgrade.
When it comes to your diet, remember that moderation is key. A healthy, balanced diet is full of complex foods that provide all of the essential nutrients your body requires. Regardless of how much muscle you are trying to build, you must balance your protein-based foods with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains so that your body can perform at its highest level.
The staff at All American Healthcare is invested in all aspects of your well-being, and we want to help you live your healthiest life. If you suffer from chronic pain or are experiencing some new aches after a workout, visit us for a free chiropractic consultation. We would love to help you get back on your feet so you can keep getting stronger and living healthier.