Home / Bulking up / Nutrition / What foods to eat to gain weight and Build Muscle Mass

What foods to eat to gain weight and Build Muscle Mass

This is part-2 of what to eat to gain weight and build muscle series. If you had missed the part-1, you can read it here. So previous post we learned about Calories and general idea on how to gain weight easily and build muscle. Now this post will contain foods to eat to gain weight.  Only if you had read the earlier post (part-1) you could catch up with this.

vegetables high on protein

Does protein make you gain weight?

Your body cannot do anything without protein. Be prepared to eat lot of protein rich food items along with the carbohydrates. Remember, you need to fill up your calorie targets daily. So calculate the number of calories and decide the food items to eat. You daily diet should contain protein, carbs and fat.

If you say I’m a hard gainer/skinny and I can’t gain muscle – you are not eating enough. It is must that you need to eat more calories than you burn. At least add 500 calories to your current daily intake. If you don’t see a change in your body after four weeks, add another 500 calories. Remember, fat food items can help you to reach your calories target easily.

How much protein to build muscle?

There is a myth that has been floating around for generations. When you take large quantities of protein, your body builds muscle quickly. This is absolutely not true. Your body takes only what it requires. You should never load too many at a time. Instead, divide it and intake at regular intervals.

Protein is a complex chemical structure of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. Their function involves more than muscle tissue repair. So the role is very important to over-all body function and health. Sadly the media and magazines have shown that protein is mainly used to repair damaged muscle tissues. I suggest having 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.  So if you’re 192 lbs., then 192×1.4 = 269gms of protein per day. Your daily diet should have around 270gms of protein if your body weight is around 190lbs.

Foods to build muscle

As I said above, your daily meal should have enough protein, carbs and fat. Proteins help you to build muscle, carbs gives you enough energy and fat helps you to put some weight. You should choose food items so it varies your protein sources to get the full range of amino acids.

fruits chart protein, carbs, fat

Healthy weight gain foods

Red Meat – Steaks & ground round. Top round, sirloin.

Poultry – Chicken breast, ground turkey, whole chicken.

Fish – Canned tuna, mackerel, salmon.

Dairy – Milk, cottage cheese, plain low fat yogurt, quark cheese, whey.

Eggs – Whole eggs, scrambled eggs. Don’t worry about cholesterol.

Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, cashew, pistachio

Vegetable chart comparing calories, fat, carbs, and protein

What to eat to gain weight as a vegetarian

Beans – Black, garbanzo, hummus, kidney, fava, winged, mungo, lima

Legumes – Lentils, peas, peanuts, peanut butter

Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, pistachio, cashew

Seeds – Sesame, pumpkin, hemp, flax

Milk – Soy milk, almond milk

Soy – Soy beans, tofu, deli-style soy meats, soy cheese

Whole Grains – Brown rice, quinoa, granola, oats, breads

Veggies – Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, collard greens

Protein Powder – Soy protein, hemp protein, rice protein

Three or four times a week have chocolate, ice cream, pizza, burgers, etc.

Make sure you choose the food items so that it meets your calorie target. Also load it equally throughout the day. How equally? Prepare a 7 times meal plan that includes breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, Post workout, Dinner, pre bed. Protein is acidic. Eat plenty of veggies, ideally with each meal, to combat acidity. This prevents muscle and bone loss.

Sometime later I wish to write about workout routine to build muscle.

If you find this post useful, please share it with your friends. You can find the share buttons below.

39 thoughts on “What foods to eat to gain weight and Build Muscle Mass

  1. Hi there,

    I almost fell over when I saw that protein in veggies poster… but looked into it more and realised that it isn’t really true… the amount of protein on the graphic further down is more correct.

    Is there 45% protein in broccoli if you discount the water or something like that?? I do love use of infographics though. Cheers

  2. I was going gym first my size was very good and then I stoped gym and started marsial art now want to go gym again but I don`t want to lose my speed and flexibility what should I do pleez help me

  3. When cutting and diet consists of mostly protein. What are good carbs to consume before and after workouts to avoid feeling lightheaded or faint?

    1. Let,

      I wouldn’t eat just protein. This is something that can be effective over a short period of time, but ideally you would still consume carbs.

      Rice, Quinoa, Yams, Potatoes.

      These would all be good options. Try and eat them a couple hours prior to your workout to give you strength and just keep a general idea of your calories to make sure your keeping a weekly calorie deficit to lose fat.

      Carbs aren’t necessarily the enemy when trying to lean out 🙂

      – T

  4. It sounds more of a post from “born-to-lie” person

    Spinach hardly has 1% protein and your poster says a whopping 49%.

    Do not mislead people.

  5. The protien intake calculation is wrong. If you need 1.4g of protien per kg of body mass then for a 192 lb person it should be.
    192 lb / (2.2 kg/lb) * 1.4 = 122g of protien per day.


    P.S. Lost a bit of credibility this doc had.

  6. I want to increase my weight & gain mass . I am veggiterian ….I am regularly going to gym .suggest me how much proportion should I lift the weight &diet…

  7. U r giving wrong chart of protien spanich contain only 5.6% protein not 49%, broccoli contain only2.6% protien not 45% actually that chart for top 10 source of veggie protein is totally wrong

  8. Thanks for the article, though I think you did a few wrong conclusions:

    – Seena is right: the percentages of protein in the vegetables are not really true, as they are percentages on dry mass (without water): for example, a tomato has indeed 18% of protein… but only 1% on its whole mass. So you can not compare with beef, eggs, and chicken, your table is very misleading.
    So one should not follow your table to decide whether he would eat or not tomatoes for gaining weight. Nobody will ever gain muscle weight by eating tomatoes.

    – your recommandation on daily need of protein is not very accurate, since 1- your are confusing kilograms and pounds, 2- your recommandation per Kg is very high.
    1- you multiply LBS with a daily consumption per KG: as a result the daily consumption for a 190 pounder guy is of 270 g of proteins, which is quite ridiculous… it means eating more than one kilogram of beef a day, or 2,5 Kgs of eggs, namely 30 eggs a day ! 🙂
    2- you suggest 1.4g/Kg, which seems to be your personnal recommandation, how do you make it? It can be much lower for some people (0.5g/Kg), and much higher if you are a big runner (2g/Kg), all this depends of your activity.

    I hope this helps. Maybe you should review and clarify your numbers and what would be the practical consequences of it (how to use them).

    Best regards

  9. hey,
    M hitting the gym by the past 6 months but m not able to lose belly fat . can u tell me the workout and diet plan to lose my fat .
    please help me……

  10. Hiii sir,
    I wanna join gym becouse i wanna make my body i m verry thin
    I wanna gai fat
    What i do
    Plz. Sujest ne.

  11. Hiii,

    I am 25 years old and my weight is 40 kg. I want to gain my weight to minimum 50 kg. Please tell me the correct diet chart to gain weight.

  12. Hi, i am karthi, my body weight is 49 kg & height is 170 cm, i am looking so slim, how to i increase the body weight

  13. hello….I’m Payal, my body weight is 42 kg & height
    is 5.8″, i am looking so slim, how to i increase
    the body weight pls suggest me

  14. I am vignesh 17 years old 48 kg weight boy and my height is 175 cm.
    What i do to increase my weight and my body size.
    Is i take any supplement to increase my weight.
    please help me.

  15. sounds good while reading the messages in gaining weight in better way with proteins and food as well . send me some more info through my mail. thanks.

  16. Great Bodybuilding tips and all the exercises you have mentioned are best for building muscle mass ,size and strength but one thing you must care is to take protein diet which will enhance muscle growth

  17. Eat six small meals everyday but definitely, don’t eat before bed. Eat real food and match it with the right and proper workout. Never ever depend on supplements.

  18. Such a great content I really appreciate your content so thank you so much for sharing this informative article.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our subscribers list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly in your inbox.