Getting in the right foods for your muscle-building needs can get a bit tricky at times not to mention monotonous. Variety is king when it comes to continuing your quest to build maximum, lean muscle without adding body fat.
For example, sometimes switching up an ingredient or two can work wonders for helping you build the ideal physique. No need to overhaul your whole plan, simply substituting certain foods for healthier options can open up a whole new path toward more muscle. Read on if you want to get bigger, stronger and leaner.
1. White-meat, skinless poultry for dark-meat poultry
Which is best: white or dark meat? With white poultry meat containing less fat and more protein than its darker counterpart, the choice is clear.
2. Bison over beef
Bison is quickly becoming the bodybuilder’s best friend as it is lower in fat, higher in protein than beef and increasingly more available.
For a cool source of Bison protein to eat on the go, try Tanka Bars, Available on Onnit.com. Named after the Lakota word for “Outstanding” the 70-calorie Tanka Bar delivers a slow, powerful protein punch by mixing two primary ingredients: low-fat, high-energy American buffalo meat and tasty cranberries.
3. Ground turkey for ground beef
Be sure to select lean ground turkey as it will be lower in fat and is a great source of easily digestible muscle-building protein.
4. Whole eggs for egg whites
WHAT, you say?! Yes, the fats in whole eggs secretly provide triggers to help keep vital hormones such as testosterone operating at premium levels. Also, you will get an extra helping of protein within the yolk! Read More: Raw egg protein shakes, will it kill you?
5. Skim milk for 2% milk
Having virtually no fat, skim is a great way to go especially when on a fat-cutting diet.
6. Low-fat cottage cheese over regular cottage cheese
Much like milk, the low-fat and fat-free varieties are the logical options.
7. Greek yogurt for regular yogurt
Having twice as much protein as regular yogurt, the Greek version also boasts more natural ingredients without the added gelatin.
8. Lean turkey bacon over pork bacon
Lower in calories, fat and cholesterol, turkey bacon is a great source for morning protein when eggs just lose their appeal.
9. Fresh tilapia and salmon over canned tuna
The choice is clear when choosing a fresh catch over the canned variety. Singling out salmon particularly; this protein powerhouse also contains vital healthy fats.
10. Beef jerky for potato chips
Beef of the jerky kind is not only an excellent source of whole protein but also extremely portable and convenient. If you need a snack, opt for one packed with protein.
11. Whey protein for weight gainer powder
Whey not only provides the best possible combination of branch chain amino acids, it also is void of the high amounts of sugars and carbs that most weight gainers contain.
12. Low-fat cheeses over regular cheese
Lower in fat, cholesterol and calories, low-fat cheese is a clear winner.
13. Chicken breast for deli meat
Fresh cooked chicken breast is a far superior source over highly processed and additive-filled deli meat. Not to mention chicken has the all too important higher protein content.
14. Sirloin steak over ribeye
Sirloin boasts a leaner cut and lower cholesterol and fat than its fatty cousin the ribeye. Plus, the sirloin has a more protein per square inch.
15. Casein protein for late-night binges
Casein is an excellent choice for a late-night fix. As a slow-digesting protein, it’s ideal to fuel the body during the eight or so hour fast during sleep.
16. Turkey sausage for pork sausage
Being the leaner of the two, the turkey variety has less cholesterol, fat and calories.
17. Natural peanut butter for regular or low-fat peanut butter
Yes, it is true. Even the low fat kind still has a lot of unnatural stuff in it such as preservatives and trans fats. Stick with the natural kind for a healthy dose of goodfats and an extra helping of protein.
18. Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise can get a bit high in fat and calories due to the fact that not many of us truly measure what we eat. Using Greek yogurt can put you at ease and give you a little extra protein in the meantime.
19. Coconut Oil for anywhere oil or butter are normally used. Ideal substitution.
Replace as a butter or margarine spread on toast and muffins. Coconut oil as a dietary source of MCTs. Try dripping melted coconut oil over popcorn instead of butter. View Onnit Coconut Oil.
20. Avocado for butter
Simply mashing up your avocado into a puree can easily replace butter on any sandwich while reaping the rewards of healthy fats and antioxidants.
21. Unsweetened applesauce over oil
If you find yourself with a recipe that calls for some not-so-desirable cooking oil, simply slash the fat and calories by subbing in unsweetened applesauce. Lighter, healthier and tastier.
22. Olive oil for butter
Another great way to slash saturated fat and boost healthy fats. Not to mention cutting down on cholesterol.
23. Sunflower seeds for croutons
Cutting out the breaded crouton and adding in some healthy fats from sunflower seeds can go a long way toward better recovery and performance in the gym.
24. Sliced almonds for croutons
Another great substitute for croutons providing healthy doses of fat and minerals to help recovery.
25. Low-fat cottage cheese over sour cream
If yogurt isn’t your first choice try low-fat cottage cheese. More protein, less fat.
26. Oil-based dressings over cream-based dressings on salads
The oil-based variety is normally derived from olive oil sources and the cream-based are from saturated fat sources.
27. Natural almond butter for regular peanut butter
Another no-brainer. Natural beats out processed every day of the week.
28. Cinnamon for coffee creamer
Adding in some cinnamon over creamer drastically reduces the calorie content and boosts the fat-burning properties.
29. Quinoa over white rice
Quinoa serves up a more complex chain of starches and provides an extra helping of protein as a bonus. White rice has virtually no fiber and little, if any, protein.
30. Long grain brown rice over white rice
The long grains provide a more fibrous and complex carb than white rice which will help you feel fuller, longer.
31. Steel cut oats for instant oatmeal
Steel cut oats are a phenomenal source of whole grain oats and will provide a steady state of energy as opposed to the quick digesting, insulin inducing packaged, flavored oatmeal packs.
32. Sweet potato for white potato
Although not a completely bad choice, the traditional white potato pales in comparison to the sweet potato regarding fiber, vitamins, minerals and glycemic effect.
33. Spinach lettuce for iceberg lettuce
The almost non-nutritious iceberg lettuce does very little to boost any real muscle-building benefits, however, spinach contains much-needed iron and other vital mineral and vitamins plus fiber.
34. Mashed cauliflower over mashed potatoes
Much lower in calories and simple starches, mashed cauliflower is an excellent substitute for potatoes without the guilt.
35. 100% whole wheat pasta over regular pasta
The whole wheat variety is not only the healthier choice but will also create more satiety in the long run and normalize blood sugar levels.
36. Whole grain cereals for sugar-laden cereals
If cereal is your thing, try to stick with the whole grain kind. Normally higher in vitamins and minerals, whole grain cereals are also significantly lower in sugar.
37. 100% whole wheat bread for white bread
Nearly stripped of all nutritious benefits, white bread does not stack up to the nutrient-rich, fibrous wheat bread. Just be sure it states 100% whole wheat.
38. Ezekiel bread over 100% whole wheat bread
If you want to go a step further, Ezekiel bread (which is flourless) is a prime choice for a low glycemic alternative.
39. Apples for sugary snacks
Apples are the superior choice for not only slow-digesting energy, but also contain specific phytochemicals to help burn body fat.
40. Beans for corn
Beans are an excellent source of not only fibrous carbs but also contain an impressive amount of protein. Alternately, corn has little to offer the muscle-building minded.
41. Applesauce for sugar
Applesauce is lower in sugar and is an excellent ingredient in place of many recipes that call for regular sugar. be sure to purchase the unsweetened kind.
42. Stevia for sugar
Lower in calories and 300 times sweeter than sugar, stevia is all natural. Since it is sweeter than sugar a lot less is needed for cooking or baking.
43. Lettuce leaves for tortilla wraps
If losing the carbs in your diet is your objective, then lettuce wraps are an excellent substitute for anything you wrap be it fish, chicken or steak.
44. Sweet potato fries for regular french fries
Choosing sweet potatoes over the traditional white adds an extra dose of fiber and powerful B vitamins. Plus, it cuts out roughly 20 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving.
45. Unsweetened tea over sugary drinks
Cutting out sugary drinks will dramatically have an effect on not only your calorie consumption but also on your blood sugar levels. You can always use sugar substitute to sweeten tea or other calorie-free drinks.
46. Frozen or fresh fruit for canned fruit
Opting for the fresh or frozen kind will eliminate the syrupy juices found in canned varieties and you will also avoid a lot of the additives and preservatives while you’re at it.
47. Frozen yogurt over ice cream
Yogurt not only has live and active cultures but is also lower in fat than ice cream. But use sparingly. Yogurt of the frozen kind can add up in calories before you know it.
48. Dark chocolate over milk chocolate
Dark chocolate has long been superior over the ever-popular milk chocolate for many reasons. It boasts a lower sugar content and is high in free-radical fighting flavonoids.
49. Garlic powder for salt
If salt is an issue (especially from eating mounds of animal protein) then garlic can provide a flavorful punch in place of sodium.
50. Low-sodium soy sauce over regular soy sauce
Cutting sodium virtually in half, the low sodium kind still tastes the same.
51. Fruit puree over syrup
Not only will you cut out tons of empty calories, but you will also be getting in tons of healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
52. Lemon juice over butter
When cooking meats, fish or chicken, try adding squeezing a little lemon over the dish instead of unhealthy butter. Not only will you save on calories, you will kick up the flavor a notch.
53. Sauerkraut over potato salad or cole slaw.
Sauerkraut contains live lactobacilli and beneficial microbes that aid in digestion.