To build muscles through a daily diet, your body needs a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates. It also needs fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals. The keys are incorporating lean sources of protein in combination with good sources of complex carbohydrates and nutrients; think whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Choose good, lean sources of protein. That’s essential for a diet that will build your muscles, says Michael Sena, personal trainer and author of “Lean Mom, Fit Family.” A few great options include white meat turkey pork loin, turkey hotdogs, top round steaks. lean ground beef, low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, and protein shakes.
Include whole grains in your eating plan. They provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, nutrients, and energy for your body. Skip the white bread in favor of whole grain bread. Choose brown rice over white rice. Have a bowl of oatmeal instead of sugary cereal.
Eat your vegetables. Kathy Smith, author of “Feed Muscle, Shrink Fat Diet,” recommends choosing what she defines as high-volume vegetables: those which provide the most water and nutrients per portion size. Look for the green and brightly colored vegetables; avoid starchy ones like potatoes and winter squashes.
Snack on fruit. Both Sena and Smith recommend lower-sugar fruit as part of your diet. Apples, pears, and berries of all kinds make great snacks, provide a long-lasting source of energy, and they are packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Get the right kind of fat in your diet. Include fish as a regular source of protein and these Omega-3 fats. Other options include flaxseed (try some sprinkled on your oatmeal). Snack on nuts, and cook with olive oil for more sources of those good fats.
Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day, especially when you are working out. If your body doesn’t get enough water, the muscles will release water in their cells to keep an adequate amount of water in the bloodstream.
- Don’t get caught up in the “carbohydrates are evil” mindset. You need complex carbohydrates for long-lasting energy.