Building muscle is so much more than weight training and working hard in the gym; diet is an integral part of this process. The term “diet” doesn’t have to equate to bland, boring and unenticing foods with restrictions on just about everything you love. We have found five muscle superfoods that can complement your workout and are delicious and nutritious.
- Chicken breasts. An excellent source of protein, vitamin B6, iron, niacin, zinc and selenium.
- Hate it or love it, there is a reason why Popeye was so fond of this leafy green vegetable! Spinach can increase muscle growth by up to 20%, and the nutrients, such as calcium, L-glutamine and amino acids help with muscle contraction and relaxation. If you don’t like the taste of spinach, try concealing it in your healthy smoothies.
- Egg whites are a rich source of natural protein but the yolks are just as important as they contain riboflavin, folic acid and vitamins A, E, K and B12 – all of which are important for quick muscle growth. Aim to eat at least two eggs a day for optimal muscle building.
- The whey protein found in milk is broken down into amino acids very quickly by the body, and these are absorbed into the bloodstream. Drink a glass of milk after sport or exercise to reap the benefits.
- Legumes should be a part of any healthy diet, as they are great sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre. On top of the protein power of legumes, the additional fibre is slowly digested – ensuring proper insulin response and a longer work out.
Try this delicious recipe below for a protein-rich, tasty muscle-boosting meal:
CHICKEN, LENTIL AND SPINACH PASTA MEAL (1 serving)
- Half an onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2tsp olive oil
- ½ a cup of chicken strips
- 125g lentils
- 2 ½ cups of chicken stock
- 180ml water
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped spinach leaves
- 300g brown pasta of your choice
- Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and garlic, and cook until softened.
- Add the chicken and cook until browned.
- Stir in the stock, water, lentils and tomato paste.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Add the spinach to the mixture and remove when lentils are soft and the spinach has wilted.
- While it is simmering, cook your pasta until tender.
- Combine the pasta and your chicken topping.
- Serve and enjoy!