Foods that build muscle and help you to stay lean

Eating foods that build muscle will help you do just that

Photo by CC user National Cancer Institute (public domain)

Are you looking for foods that build muscle and that will help you to lose fat? Improving your physique and your health is easier than you think. In this post, we will list off foods that you should be eating in order to support your goals. Most of the foods on this list contain both protein and fiber to help you add muscle mass while filling you up to deter you from snacking on unhealthy foods.
Beans are one of the least expensive sources of protein available, and with all the different types of beans, you will never get bored. Beans are an excellent source of both fiber and protein, and have a low glycemic index and therefore help to balance your blood sugar levels. With all their fiber and protein, beans will fill you up and keep you feeling full for a long time without a lot of calories. Rich in antioxidants, including beans in your diet can actually help prevent cancer. They are low in fat, simple to prepare, and versatile in recipes.
Quinoa is an ancient grain rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Like beans, the protein and fiber provided by quinoa will help you feel satisfied for a long time so you don’t need to snack, and will provide you with amino acids essential for building muscle. Quinoa is a low glycemic index grain, helping to balance your blood sugar levels. This will help to prevent energy crashes a few hours after finishing your meal like those triggered by high glycemic index foods.
Leafy Greens
Filling and nutritious, leafy greens each have their own unique nutritional profile, but in general, they provide lots of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fiber, with a healthy dose of protein to boot. The fiber from the greens will fill you up, and all of the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they provide help to support your growing muscle both in building new muscle and repairing existing tissue after a workout. It takes a lot more than just protein to build a strong body.
Brown Rice
White rice is simply brown rice with the outer hull of the grain polished off. Brown rice is digested more slowly than white rice and is a good source of protein. In fact, brown rice powder is sold as a nutritional supplement similar to whey powder. Brown rice is not a source of complete protein, missing the amino acid lysine. But lysine is easily found in many other foods, and so as long as brown rice is consumed in combination with meat or vegetables, you will get all the essential amino acids in your meal.
Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt with no added sugar or fruit is an excellent choice for those looking to build lean muscle. It is prepared by draining regular yogurt, removing the liquid whey that contains sugars and some proteins. This process leaves behind lots of casein, an abundant protein that is digested slowly. Greek yogurt also contains calcium, protein, and vitamin D, all excellent for building muscle and strengthening bones. Look for Greek yogurt with live cultures, the bacteria that turn milk into yogurt. They are probiotics, bacteria beneficial for your intestinal health.
Oatmeal is another great grain choice for those looking to build muscle slowly. Rolled or steel-cut oats have a low glycemic index, five grams of protein for one-half of a cup dry oats, and a good amount of fiber. Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will help keep you full all morning and contribute a good amount of protein towards your daily total. Oatmeal can also be added to smoothies to make them thicker, and provides a good base for homemade energy bars and bites.
Healthy Fats
Yes, even when you’re trying to stay lean, you still need fat in your diet. Fat is necessary for nerve health, and indeed the health of every cell in your body as your cell membranes are composed of fats. Healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support muscle repair and help your body utilize fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D. Sources of good fats include fish oil and many plant-derived oils, often included in foods like salad dressings like Just Caesar from HamptonCreek Foods.
Including these foods in your diet will increase your protein and fiber intake significantly. Combine these additions with regular exercise and plenty of water, and you will begin to see an improvement in your body quickly.