Are you looking to gain some serious muscle mass? But you want to focus on the best foods rather than junk foods. This isn’t easy for even the committed lifter, as building muscles requires proper training and calorie intake. The good news is that we will share the best health-bulking foods and proper bulking meal plans.
As a nutritionist who has seen clients’ cholesterol levels increase because of the harmful fat and sugar incorporated into the most commonly calorically dense foods, I needed to identify the best healthy bulking foods for hard gainers.
Here are the best 10 healthy bulking foods for gainers:
- Nuts and seeds
- chicken thighs
- Dried Fruit
- Whole Grain Bread and Crackers
What Is Bulk?
Bulk word is not a common term that you listen to daily. This term is mainly used in the bodybuilding and weightlifting field.
The bulking process involves eating plenty of calories to build weight and, most importantly, muscles.
It’s part of various other aspects, such as cutting maintenance, cutting, and pre-contest preparation.
Consider it like the seasons of a professional athlete. You build muscles as you cut off the fat, keep it up, and build up for the show.
Even for those not participating in bodybuilding and weight lifting, competition, bulking, and losing weight are still common seasons for men.
What Are Bulking Foods?
The most productive foods to bulk up must be rich in calories, but that does not mean you must satisfy with pizza and chocolate at every meal.
The empty calories might taste great. However, they’re not the most nutritious diet for muscle building.
Healthy and nutritious foods aren’t alike regarding the need to bulk. Suppose you are eating a whole bowl of broccoli vs. a full cup of oatmeal. Though both are carbs, even if you consume the same amount, you’ll be different afterwards.
One of them is denser in calories and calorie-rich than the others. However, oatmeal can make you feel fuller and help your body build muscles more than broccoli.
That means ensuring you eat nutrient-rich, high-calorie food items for each macronutrient group is a significant move in the right direction.
How many calories do you need to gain muscle mass?
At the beginning, you should take foods that are bulking up as part of a larger picture of calories compared to how many calories burn.
However, pizza’s calories are 3000, and ice cream’s calories aren’t as beneficial as nutritious food items to bulk up.
When you have a rough idea of the daily energy consumption (or the maintenance calories) and add between 200 and 300 calories, this amount is a great starting point for most people.
If, for instance, the daily calories you’re consuming are 3000 calories, starting with approximately 3,200 calories will help ensure that you don’t burn too much fat to attain the size of your muscles.
If you’re only getting started with bodybuilding and struggling to build your weight, you might be interested in a boost of 500 calories.
These are great starting points, but the process is a bit of trial and error in addition to. Nothing is more crucial when trying to shed weight than being honest when you record how many calories.
If you do not accurately record your calories on time, it’s like closing your eyes.
At the same time, you aim at the dartboard and try to determine if your body’s trajectory is exactly the direction you want.
Weekly tracker to see how much your body weight moves downwards or up. This is easy to reflect on and decide if you need to increase or reduce energy intake.
If you’re losing weight but aren’t losing any, or you’ve been honest about your eating habits and you’re following the same pattern of overtraining at the gym, you’re in the right place to increase your calories to a degree.
10 Bulking Foods or Meals for HardGainers
The fact that you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to satisfy in chocolate, ice cream chips, milkshakes, or chips.
It’s okay to indulge occasionally; however, a regular habit could lead to fatigue, physical ailments, and ultimately chronic illness.
Instead, make sure to fill your days with quality proteins and bulking foods like healthy fats, whole carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits. A healthy diet will give you the energy to power your workout and keep you feeling great.
- Eggs are on the list because of their versatility, flavour, and protein. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.
- It’s not like the 90s anymore. We now know that certain fats are beneficial to us. Eggs are a great source! Due to this, I will keep this in the first place on bulking foods list. Try adding some eggs to these delicious breakfast recipes that are bulky.
Read More: What Food Group Are Eggs In?
- Yoghurt not only provides your gut with an increase of good bacteria, but it’s also a good source of protein that helps build muscles.
- The wide variety of options available there is overwhelming. However, if you hope to shed some weight, go for the high-fat varieties.
- Beware of those that contain less fat (unless you’re suffering from high cholesterol or have heart problems) since they typically contain sugars added to replace fat.
- Yoghurt makes a fantastic snack when paired with fruits and nuts. It’s also the perfect base for making a homemade smoothie or shake.
- Milk is a wonderful mixture of carbs, fats, and proteins. It also has a lot of minerals and vitamins, including bone-building Vitamin D as well as calcium.
- The milk protein is 20 per cent whey and 80% casein. It also has amino acids branched chain, which enhances exercise performance.
- Research shows that they’re best absorbed in their natural form, like in milk, rather than supplements or powders.
- Because milk is simple to digest, it can be the perfect post-workout energy source.
- Cheese is an excellent source of protein, fat, calcium, and calories. Add cheese in the list of bulking foods if you’re trying to gain weight, look for high-fat versions.
- Studies reveal that cheese doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of heart disease, but generally, substituting dairy fat with polyunsaturated fat (found in plant-based food items) can improve heart health.
- Be aware that not all cheeses are made equal. One serving is the equivalent of two dice and can be eaten quickly. Choose the cheeses that are hard such as ricotta and cheddar. Review the ingredients list and look for natural cheeses.
5: Nuts and seeds
- The nuts and seeds are the ideal snacks that can be taken everywhere, especially when pushing to shed pounds. They contain healthy nutrients, calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Be sure to have them in case of an emergency in which you cannot eat. To add calories, select those that are coated with oils. Beware of salt-based ones unless you sweat a lot and need the excess sodium.
6: Chicken Thighs
- Thighs are one of the most popular choices over chicken breasts because they have a more distinctive flavor. Like ground beef, it is a fantastic quality food item that is extremely flexible in how you cook it and the food items you serve it with.
- It’s loaded with protein as well as fats to build muscles. When you cut breasts off, you’ll want to eat chicken breasts since it’s an excellent low-fat, high-protein bulking meal.
7: Dried Fruit
- Dry fruits are also bulking foods items because they are high in natural calories and carbs. It also contains antioxidants and minerals. Because of the high sugar levels, they are a great choice to aid in weight gain. They’re simple to eat and can result in a surge in appetite in certain individuals.
- Make a snack of dried fruit and nuts, or explore your dried fruit and incorporate it into food items you eat regularly.
- Include raisins or dates with grains like couscous to make an ideal Mediterranean type of food.
- Dry Fruits are rich in vitamin B12 and a good source of Vitamin A.
- These non-perishable root vegetables are rich in carbohydrates and can be used as quick energy sources or later for usage as muscle or for extra pounds. They also contain high levels of potassium that can be beneficial in controlling water retention and blood pressure after intense workouts.
- Be sure to select the finest organic potatoes for your food source instead of fries or chips made from potatoes loaded with high sodium levels and harmful cholesterol.
- They are typically packed with trans fats and associated with certain types of cancer and heart disease.
- If you are looking for a budget-friendly bulking foods item, it could be one of them because it’s cheap and easy dish to bake potato topped with your favorite toppings!
- Oats are one of the best bulking diets meal; they could assist in weight gain. They’re an excellent source of soluble fiber that helps maintain blood sugar levels, give you energy, and keep things moving within the digestive tract.
- You can make your breakfast oatmeal with milk to boost your calories and creamy texture. Add nuts dried fruit, and honey or honey of your choice.
- Oats are also excellent for making healthier cookies. They can be added to scrambled eggs to add a zing. This may sound strange but don’t rule it out until you’ve had a go. Just add small amounts to the pan, and stir it into.
10: Whole Grain Bread and Crackers
- If you opt for whole-grain crackers or bread, you’ll get complex carbohydrates, which provide a regular amount of energy, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
- Please go through this list of ingredients and verify that they are made up of all grains. Generally, it would help if you tried to find at least three grams of fiber per portion.
- Bread and crackers made from whole grains are ideal for pairing with protein-rich food items. For example, try eating eggs and bread for breakfast.
Bulking Foods Meal Plan for Hardgainers
Every person is unique and needs various quantities of calories. Mix the recommended calories and macro guidelines, which we have discussed previously, by following this meal schedule guide.
Be flexible about it. You can switch out foods that fall into the same macro group (protein to protein). Try to eat five to six times a day. Food times can be modified according to your schedule. The most important thing is to keep eating!
|Breakfast||2 Tbsp peanut butter – 175 kcal1 cup milk – 150 kcal1 cup instant oats (dry) – 300 kcal1 banana – 100 kcal 725 kcal|
|Snack||1 cup low-fat yoghurt – 100 kcal¼ cup raisins – 100 kcal2 ounces granola – 275 kcal 475 kcal|
|Lunch||2 slices whole grain bread – 200 kcal3 ounces chicken breast – 150 kcal½ avocado 150 kcalLettuce (negligible calories)1 cup apple sauce – 100 kcal 600 kcal|
|Snack||2 hard-boiled eggs – 150 kcal12 grain crackers 150 kcal2 ounces cheese – 200 kcal 500 kcal|
|Dinner||4 ounces salmon – 225 kcal2 cups brown rice – 300 kcal2 tbsp oil – 250 kcal1 cup mixed veggies (negligible calories)1 cup black beans – 125 kcal 900 kcal|
|TOTAL CALORIES||3200 kcal*|
Just like any other sustainable change, weight gain takes time. It’s not going to happen in one day. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get results quickly.
Be conscious that changing your behavior will require you to develop new habits, and the old ones are difficult for you to shake. If you continue to have bulking foods in your meal, you can reach your final goal will eventually be time.