A proper diet is one of the most important components to making progress in the gym. With so many options out there to fill your kitchen with, Six Star® wants to help make your decision a little bit easier. We put together a list of the best food choices for building muscle, so you can make the right choices at the grocery store to help you reach your goals faster!
BEST PROTEIN SOURCE: LEAN BEEF (HONORABLE MENTION: SALMON)
Although you may sometimes hear people tell you that beef is a less-than-healthy food, this red meat is not only high in protein, it also contains many vitamins and minerals. One of the keys to consuming healthy beef is choosing low-fat options. With lean beef, you get the nutritional benefits while avoiding all the extra calories in fattier cuts to help you build solid lean muscle. Beef is extremely nutrient-dense, especially when compared to white meat. It supplies over 10% of the daily value for 9 essential nutrients, with particularly high concentrations of protein, zinc, phosphorus, iron and B-complex vitamins – all essential for building strong muscles, teeth and bones while helping supply energy and oxygen to cells.
Try and purchase the leanest cuts you can find (90% or higher) and make sure to trim the fat off before eating. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to cook beef is to use extra lean ground beef cooked in a pan with some veggies for an easy, protein-packed meal!
BEST CARBOHYDRATE SOURCE: QUINOA (HONORABLE MENTION: SWEET POTATO)
Pronounced KEEN-wah, this extremely popular super food is packed with protein, fiber and minerals and does not contain any gluten. Quinoa is actually a seed, but is similar in taste and appearance to a grain. This superfood packs a whopping 8 grams of protein in just 1 cooked cup and has almost double the amount of fiber than other grains. This generous amount of protein helps to boost your daily protein count while also supplying you with valuable slow-digesting carbohydrates needed to recover from hard training.
Quinoa is easy to find as it has grown substantially in popularity in the past few years. Cooking quinoa is quite easy and very similar to cooking white rice. Be sure to use a ratio of 1:2 of quinoa to water; for example, 1 cup of dry quinoa will need 2 cups of water to cook properly. You can even cook quinoa in a rice cooker or crockpot to make things much more convenient!
BEST VEGETABLE: KALE (HONORABLE MENTION: SPINACH)
Popeye might have been all about the spinach, but Six Star® is on team kale. This amazing green, fibrous food is our vegetable of choice because of its extremely high nutrient density and fiber content. Kale is packed with vitamin C for immune system support, antioxidants to help with recovery, vitamin K, and minerals like iron and calcium to maintain strong bones, and many more key nutrients needed in the muscle building process. Given the incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet to make sure you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals needed to fuel muscle growth and recovery.
Kale is readily available at most grocery stores. There are many delicious ways to cook kale, such as steaming or sautéing. A tasty and easy way to get more kale into your diet is to make a smoothie–simply toss the washed kale in a blender with a scoop of vanilla Six Star® Whey Protein Plus for a nutrient–and–protein packed vanilla-kale smoothie.
BEST HEALTHY FAT SOURCE: EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL (HONORABLE MENTION: OLIVE OIL)
Fats have long been demonized by mainstream media and said to be the reason for obesity and a host of diseases. But in truth, healthy fats are extremely important for many aspects of the muscle building process including optimal hormonal function. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fat sources you can put in your body for a variety of reasons. Coconut oil is high in fat that is made up of medium chain triglycerides, a type of fat that is easily used in the body and provides a quick source of energy. Coconut oil also strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. These amazing properties help you avoid things like the common cold that can prevent you from training hard!
Coconut oil is readily available and easy to incorporate into your diet. The best way to add coconut oil into your nutrition plan is to use it for cooking. It has a high smoke point which makes it perfect for pan cooking at high temperatures. Just make sure to find a brand of expeller pressed coconut oil, which has a neutral taste, so that everything you make doesn’t taste like coconut, unless of course you want it to!
BONUS: BEST CONVENIENT PROTEIN SOURCE
Whey Protein wins this category hands down. Incorporating the use of whey protein shakes into your diet is one of the best and easiest things you can do to boost your muscle growth. By getting a high-quality protein source into your system as soon as you finish training, you are giving your muscles the building blocks they need to repair themselves to grow bigger and stronger. The convenience and science behind quality whey proteins like Six Star® Whey Protein Plus are simply undeniable. Whey protein is an excellent addition to a quality nutrition plan and will help you reach your muscle building goals much faster!
100% Whey Protein Plus
Delivering quality BCAAs, glutamine and creatine, Six Star® Whey Protein Plus provides the delicious premium protein formulas you need to fit any active lifestyle.