In-between your heavy squats and high-intensity training days, you need to feed to stack on more gains, build strength, and optimize your body composition. Quality counts, when it comes to food, and the types of foods you eat matters. We’ve put together an all-inclusive comprehensive bodybuilding grocery list, to help you build sustainable eating habits with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Creating a sustainable diet plan that will help you rev up your metabolism, burn body fat, and build muscle mass and strength will require commitment, consistency, and being conscientious when choosing foods. With that said, that does not mean you need to eliminate foods, or drastically cut calories to reach your goals.
Eliminating foods and adopting an “all-or-nothing” mentality, will only set you up for failure, make you feel bad about yourself when you do eat that cupcake, and create an unhealthy relationship with foods. There are no bad foods. Simply just foods you need to minimize, and only eat in moderation. You don’t want to be the person, that brings their chicken breast to the birthday party and that doesn’t have any cake, unless you’re prepping for a show that is. If you’re amongst the other 99% of people, who just want to be happy, be healthy, look great naked, and build your confidence, you can have your cake and eat it to, we’re going to show you how.
A healthy lifestyle is only achieved when you can be real with yourself. If you have to have cheese in your diet, then eat the cheese, just make sure you’re cutting down the fat and calories somewhere else throughout the day. Get it. Good. Now let’s talk about what you are going to buy at the store, while you’re reading this article, or as soon as you’re done to get the meals prepped and your fridge loaded with healthy eats and gains.
The first and most important macronutrient when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass, is protein. You want to eat at least 4-6oz of protein per meal, which will typically provide between 25-35g of protein. Choose from any of the protein sources listed below, to start creating your balanced meal. Your protein is known as your base.
- Beef – Filet Mignon, NY Steak, Tri-Tip, chuck steak, or ground beef
- Turkey – Ground turkey, turkey breasts, or turkey patties
- Chicken – chicken breast, chicken thighs, or ground chicken
- Seafood – Shrimp, scallops, oysters, mussels
- Fish – Salmon, steel head trout, tilapia, tuna,
- Liquid Egg Whites
- Bison – Steak or ground bison
- Pork Loin
You’ll need protein rich snacks between your meals, to hit your macros and protein goals for the day.
- Protein Shake – Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate, Casein, Egg White Protein, Swolverine Plant Protein (Pea & Pumpkin Protein) Rice Protein, or Soy Protein
- Protein Chips – Wilde, Quest Chips
- Protein Bars – Simply protein bars, barebells bars, powercrunch
- Protein Strudels – Legendary Protein Pop Tarts
- Protein Cookies – Lenny and Larry’s cookies
- Protein Brownies – Eat Me Guilt Free Brownies
- Ellenos Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Epic Pork Rinds
Protein Sources You Should Minimize
- Processed deli meats
- Fatty Ground Beef
- Breaded Chicken
Next, your sides to your base or ancillary foods, will be your carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are crucial to help build muscle, optimize recovery and provide your body with the energy it needs to maximize performance. Complex carbohydrates come in the form of whole grains and starches, such as rice, wheat, oats, and sweet potatoes. They also come in the form of simple carbohydrates, aka refined carbs, or to simplify even further…sugar.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and release glucose into your bloodstream at a slow and steady pace.
Complex carbs are also a great source of fiber or prebiotics, which can help slow down digestion benefiting weight loss, reducing your risk for heart disease, and improving cholesterol levels. Add in a healthy complex carbohydrate to your protein base.
- Clean Carbs
- Brown Rice
- Banza Chickpea Pasta
- Banza Chickpea Rice
- Wheat Products (Whole wheat pasta, bread, tortillas)
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Almond flour tortillas (Siete)
- Black Beans
- Cream Of Wheat
- Cream Of Rice
- Brussels Sprouts
- Ezekial Whole Wheat Grain Bread/Tortillas
Carbohydrates Sources You Should Minimize
No foods should ever be eliminated, however certain foods should be minimized, such as refined carbohydrates sources and carbohydrates that are loaded with simple sugars, which will spike your insulin levels, dispelling excess sugar into your blood stream, which is then stored as body fat. How about no.
- Baked goods
- Ice cream
When the goal is bodybuilding or body aesthetics, getting lean will require limiting your fat intake. Yes, I know. You probably have a friend who went Keto and lost a ton of weight. Believable. But eating a ton of sour cream, cheese, and bacon, is not sustainable. You don’t want to pee on a stick for the rest of your life to measure your ketones, do you? Never want to eat ice cream again, or have a slice of sour dough bread at dinner? Yeah, didn’t think so. All-or-nothing, food restriction, and food elimination leads to failure. Including healthy fats in your diet will assist with achieving optimal health and brain function, but let’s keep it moderate shall we. Aim for 15-25% of your daily total calories to be from your fat.
- Krill Oil (Omega-3) Fats
- Grass-Fed Butter
- Peanut Butter
- Saturated Fat (From animal sourced proteins)
- Olive Oil/Flaxseed Oil
Fat Sources You Should Minimize
- Trans Fats (Eliminate completely)
- Vegetable oil or shortening
- Fried Foods
- Palm Oil
Spices are great for giving your food some zest and flavor. You can use a ton of different spices, especially since they don’t really have any added calories. Watch out for spices or rubs that include added or hidden sugars, such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or corn syrup. Stick with the staples, like
Sauces follow the same rules as spices. Find healthy sauces that contain healthy plant based vegan ingredients, free of added sugars, not just sugar, but added sugar and that are low in calories.
- Buffalo Sauce (Noble Made)
- BBQ Sauce (Noble Made)
- Coconut Aminos (Noble Made)
- Teriyaki Sauce (Soy Free, Noble Made)
- Habanero Hot Sauce (Siete)
- Carrot Ketchup (Noble Made)
- Mustard BBQ (Noble Made)
Add on foods, include foods outside of spices and sauces, such as pickled vegetables, which are loaded with healthy probiotics that can improve digestion and gut health.
- Pickled Veggies
- Pickled Peppers
- Pickled Cauliflower
Supplements For Bodybuilding
When you’re optimizing your health, fitness, and overall health, adding in quality supplements to help bridge the gaps in micro and macronutrients, will help your mental clarity, energy levels, and training performance.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate is a purified form of whey protein, that filters the excess lactose, carbohydrates, and fat, to create a faster absorbing and effective protein. Swolverine’s whey protein isolate is grass fed and contains 26g of protein per serving, to help build more strength, muscle mass, and improve recovery.
Creatine is a combination of three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. On average, eating a well-rounded diet consisting of lean protein, quality carbohydrates, and healthy fats, will provide 1-2g of creatine per day. Foods rich in creatine are typically found in protein such as red meat, poultry, and fish.
Creatine is stored within the skeletal muscles as phosphocreatine and used for energy during high-intensity training or quick burst movements. Consistently one of the most popular ergogenic aids, studies have indicated that creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine and phosphocreatine levels approximately 15-40% within skeletal muscle tissue which enhances anaerobic training capacity and improves performance outcomes [R].
Greens powders come from super potent and nutrient-rich dehydrated, vegetables and super greens. Reds ingredients are derived from from herbs, spices or dehydrated fruit and plant compounds. A majority of red’s powders contain a blend of ingredients like beets, pomegranate, raspberries, acai, or blueberries, which are often hard to incorporate into your daily diet. Greens powders often contain ingredients you’d find in your fridge, such as kale, broccoli, asparagus, parsley and spinach. However, the best greens and reds powders, contain super food ingredients that are highly potent in vitamins such as spirulina, chia, turmeric, chlorella, and wheat grass.
Adding Greens+Reds to your daily regiment can help bridge nutrient gaps in your daily diet, providing crucial micronutrients, antioxidants, and powerful plant compounds to improve natural energy levels and overall health and wellness. This is especially beneficial if you do not get a healthy serving of fruit and veggies in your daily diet.
Bodybuilding Foods List
You can easily create well balanced meals with 20-30g of protein, with added healthy fats and complex carbohydrates by mix and matching any of the foods below. Ideally, you want to be consuming a 40:40:20 macro ratio, 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat.
If you are not quite sure where to start or what more direction in what to eat, consider getting some weekly meal plans, or get set up with a certified nutrition coach from The Swole Kitchen and take the guesswork out of it.
Wilde Chicken Chips
Legendary Protein Pop Tarts
Eat Me Guilt Free Brownies
Whole Wheat Pasta
Lenny And Larry’s Cookies
Bodybuilding Grocery List: Takeaway
Now that you have a solid list of all the foods, spices, and sauces you need to start building yourself a great meal plan, the next stop is the hitting the grocery store. I recommend going to a store like Costco, to load up on protein sources, such as steak, chicken, and turkey as well as frozen veggies and protein bars. Fresh raw veggies and fruit are always the best option and ifyou have time to cook, grabbing fresh herbs and spices is always fun and can add more flavor. But, if you’re busy and short on time, throwing a steak on the BBQ or on the stove, with a bag of frozen veggies, and some sliced fruit on the side is the way to go.
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