What Are the Best Protein Foods to Build Muscle?
If you are trying to build muscle or gain muscle mass, protein should be the backbone of your diet. You want to keep your total calories in check so that you don’t accidentally gain any fat, which will hide your muscle definition and all your hard work, so try to choose lean protein foods whenever possible. If you are exercising regularly and vigorously, about 35% of your daily calories should come from protein, or about 0.7-1.0 grams per pound of lean body weight. For example, a 150 lb person with 20% body fat has 80% lean body weight, and should eat approximately 84-120 grams of protein each day.
Some of the best food sources of protein are:
Chicken (lean = white meat, no skin)
Beef (lean = leaner cuts, trim off extra fat)
Fish (lean = non-oily fish, e.g. canned tuna packed in water)
Dairy (lean = low fat, low/no sugar Greek yogurt, low fat cheese)
Vegan sources of protein:
Many vegan sources of protein are also nutrient-dense and come with a good amount of healthy unsaturated fats. These are good fats, but they are still high in calories, so monitor your portion sizes.
Soy (lean = less processed soy foods, preferably fermented, e.g. tofu)
Beans and legumes
Peanut butter (watch your portions!)
Nuts and seeds