Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

The Best Foods for a Bodybuilding Diet

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
The Best Foods for a Bodybuilding Diet
Chicken breast is not the only lean protein option for bodybuilders.

A bodybuilding diet consists of far more than just chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. The best foods for a bodybuilding diet help you build muscle, obtain essential nutrients and sustain energy for workouts. Include some of these foods daily in your meal plan to help you achieve the physique you desire.

Video of the Day

Water-Packed Tuna

With 22 g of protein per 3-oz. serving and just 1 g of fat, water-packed tuna fits perfectly into any bodybuilder’s diet plan. Tuna is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, important to stimulating hormones that assist in muscle growth. Tuna is budget-friendly and convenient — buy no-drain pouches for on-the-go meal options. Choose light over albacore which tends to have a higher concentration of mercury and toxins.

Ground Turkey

Use turkey as an alternative to chicken breast. Extra lean ground turkey offers 26 g of protein in 4 oz. with just 1.5 g of fat. Use ground turkey to add protein at breakfast as a substitute for fatty sausage. Make healthy chili with turkey instead of beef or have ground turkey sautéed with garlic and oregano over brown rice as a quick, protein-rich dinner.


Salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and 22 g of protein per 3 oz. Salmon is also low in saturated fat. When you consume a higher amount of protein in a bodybuilding diet, you must be careful not to overeat saturated fat because it contributes to heart disease and weight gain. Have salmon instead of beef, pork or lamb which contain more saturated fat per serving.

Whey Protein

Whey protein powder is a quality source of amino acids that support muscle growth. It is quickly absorbed by the body making it readily available to muscles after a workout. Mix whey protein into water, milk or juice for a quick, portable post-workout snack.


Quinoa is a whole grain that cooks up like rice. In addition to being a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and energy-boosting carbohydrates, quinoa also provides 8 g of protein per cooked cup. Unlike other grains, the protein in quinoa contains all the amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, Romaine lettuce, watercress, kale and swiss chard provide fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and phytonutrients. Leafy greens are also low in carbohydrates, which are a special asset during the cutting phase of dieting. Use leafy greens to form the base of a salad, as a side dish with salmon and quinoa or as a carb-free way to wrap proteins for sandwiches or tacos.


Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries provide antioxidants, fiber and healthy carbohydrates to support your training goals. These naturally sweet gems stand-in for sugary sweets at snack time and at dessert with minimal calories. Add berries to oatmeal, protein smoothies, high-fiber cereal and yogurt.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media