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12 Best Foods For Men to Build Muscle

Protein is the fuel for your muscles.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Do you want to build those muscles AND lose inches?! Well, I have just the answer for you…PROTEIN! Yes, it seems so simple but can make the biggest difference. As a Stanford Medicine certified nutritionist and owner of my nutrition-based business, Stripped with Melissa, across the board that is the one food my clients don't get enough of. Why protein though? Protein plays so many crucial roles in our body from helping the function of our tissues and organs to forming the major components of our muscles. Protein not only helps build our muscles but keeps them growing. Just like plants need water to thrive, muscles need protein just as much. The body, however, does not store protein the way it does other vitamins and nutrients so we must have it to use it. Protein is the fuel for your muscles and without it, especially for men as you start getting older, you can actually begin to lose muscle mass. So how do we get enough protein? Never fear, I have many protein-packed delicious foods right here!


Eggcellent Eggs!

Poached eggs


There are 7 grams of protein in one egg along with the yolk containing the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to build muscle. Eggs also contain all nine essential amino acids which make them a complete protein. Eggs are a great post workout snack, so hard boil some for on the go!

RELATED: 12 Best Foods For Women to Build Muscle



Fresh bananas on wooden background

Bananas might get a bad reputation because they are high in fructose, however, bananas are an amazing pre-workout food rich in potassium and easy to digest. There are so many nutrients packed in bananas that are important for growing those muscles!



Gourmet portion of thick juicy fresh salmon grilling on a griddle seasoned with lemon zest, herbs and spices in a low angle view with copyspace and rising steam

Salmon is a complex protein and high in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Salmon contains a type of poly unsaturated fat that helps to reduce muscle loss and increase muscle mass!


Beans beans good for your heart… and muscles?

Delicious English Beans on Toast, top view. Flat lay, overhead, from above. Close-up.

Beans are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals AND low in fat. Beans also contain leucine which is one of the three amino acids needed to improve muscle growth.

Related: I Lost 10 Pounds in 50 Days with These 5 Hacks



Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.

A fun fact about garlic…it stimulates testosterone and inhibits cortisol. Testosterone is a key hormone in muscle growth and strength. So just say yes to the garlic!


Lean White Fish

Fresh Icelandic Haddock Fillets on a plate with lemon and parsley.

Fish like haddock, cod, and sole are high in protein and low in fat. This is the perfect combo to gain muscle mass all while keeping that figure lean and mean!


Say Please for the Cottage Cheese!

Cottage cheese and mint in a wooden bowl on an old rustic table, selective focus.

Cottage cheese is high in protein and contains live cultures, which are the good bacteria helping your body break down and absorb the nutrients you need to get bigger and stronger!



cooking and home concept - close up of female emptying jar with quinoa

Quinoa is one of the highest protein grains! Along with protein, all the fiber packed in quinoa is great for digestion. A huge benefit of quinoa is that it contains all 9 amino acids our bodies can't produce on its own in order to build muscle.


Lean Red Meat

Grilled top sirloin or cup rump beef meat steak on marble board. Black background. Top view

Lean red meat such as sirloin and tenderloin are loaded with protein, vitamin B12, zinc, and iron. It also contains all nine essential amino acids our body needs to build muscle AND prevent muscles from breaking down.

Related: I'm a Nutritionist and Here are 10 Weight Loss Foods I Buy Every Week



oysters fresh seafood healthy meal food snack on the table copy space food background rustic top view pescatarian diet

Oysters are naturally low in fat, an awesome source of protein, and high in zinc. Zinc is one of the vital minerals that supports testosterone production, the hormone we need to build muscle. So, grab some hot sauce and eat those oysters!


Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt in a wooden bowl on a rustic wooden table. Selective focus

Yogurt is great for muscle building because it's loaded with protein and low in calories.  Yogurt is great for blending with smoothies, baking, or having with some fresh cinnamon and berries to start your day!

Related: Autumn Calabrese Shows Off Washboard Abs and Shares Tips On How to Stay "Fit Over 40"


Protein Powder

low key scoop up whey protein, selective focus

Protein powder is such an amazing way to get the extra boost of protein we need and there are so many tasty ones on the market now. Protein powder can be added to your favorite smoothie with a variety of protein-packed rockstars like yogurt, milk and fruits. Hot tip…take protein powder after your workout because our bodies have an anabolic for sucking that protein up and getting the most out of it! If you enjoyed this article, don't miss 20 Foods That Strip Belly Flab.

Melissa Pfeister, founder of the program Stripped with Melissa, is a Stanford Med Certified Nutritionist.

Melissa Pfeister, CN
Melissa Pfeister is a Stanford Med Certified Nutritionist and founder of the program Stripped with Melissa. Read more
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