There are lots of factors to consider when building muscle (as outlined in this guide to building muscle by Gym Gear), and what you eat is one of the most important variables.
Many gym buffs take pride in their meal planning because they know just how crucial it is to achieving their goals. Meal preparation allows you to properly plan your ingredients, nutrients, and even your portion size in advance, and saves you time in the process.
But, what do you actually need to eat to build muscle? In short, the aim should be to strike the right balance between foods that are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
The amount of calories you consume will depend on how much muscle you want to build, and how quickly but, in terms of the type of food you eat, there are some surefire options.
Below are 5 tasty meal ideas (with meat-based, vegetarian, and vegan options!) to give you some meal preparation ideas when you’re trying to build muscle.
This vegan dish is packed full of nutrients and is easy to make. Lentils are bursting with protein and fibre and give you other vitamins and minerals such as iron, B6, zinc, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus.
It’s a filling meal and something that you can batch cook. Plus, it can be served with rice or naan bread (or both!).
Quick and easy to make, this is perfect for a weekday dinner.
Using basil, chilli flakes, chopped tomatoes, and garlic, this dish is full of flavour – a welcome break from the bland chicken and rice meal prep we see so often.
It keeps things lean by using reduced fat sausages and quark instead of cream cheese, it gives you 34 g of protein and less than 6 g of fat.
Morrocan chicken and couscous
This delicious meal can last up to 4 days in the fridge and includes chicken thighs, green beans, red onions, couscous, and lemon. You can, of course, swap the couscous for quinoa, brown rice, or farro, depending on your preferences.
If you follow this recipe, each serving is 364 calories, with 12 g of fat, 25 g of protein, and 40 g of carbohydrates.
Creamy roasted cauliflower soup
This super healthy soup is perfect or meal preparation and for a comforting lunch or dinner on a cold day. It’s full of nutrients from cauliflower, celery, onions, garlic, carrot, and more.
It’s 133 calories per serving, is vegetarian, gluten free and keto-friendly. In a serving, you’ll get 12 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of protein, and 8 g of fat.
To make this soup vegan, swap the milk for almond milk and the stock for vegan-friendly stock.
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