Having an excellent meal plan in place is always essential. But let’s face it, most people can stick to meal plans incredibly well, and then their downfall is usually when it comes to snacking!
I know that it is something that I always used to struggle with as I wasn’t sure what kind of foods I should be snacking on in between meals or when boredom kicks in or when you get hungry late at night and fancy something to eat. So these are foods that are perfect to eat as a small snack, that will contribute towards muscular development!
Note: This is a guide to building muscle, so if you are looking for low calorie snacking options for if you are looking to lose fat, then read my other blog on snacking during cutting.
So then... here are my top suggestions!
1. Nuts- Peanuts, Pistachios, Cashew etc. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, which are perfect ingredients for muscle building. Studies have also shown that peanuts in particular have been proven to be able to boost testosterone levels in the body. They are also a good source of fibre, helping to keep you full and will provide the body with slow release energy from the fats. Overall then, an excellent food to fuel those muscle gains!
2. Beef Jerky- This snack is very high in protein, usually around 30g per 100g! As well as that, it tastes great and due to its chewy, tough nature, it can take while to munch through a whole pack, really satisfying those food cravings. So if you’re anything like me and just love to eat, then beef jerky is a really satisfying way of doing so, whilst getting in that much needed protein.
3. Eggs- Whether hard boiled for taking out, or even quickly knocking up a quick omelette or scrambled at home, eggs are well known for being an excellent source of protein. They also contain many vitamins as well as cholesterol (which has been proven to boost testosterone production). Studies have also shown eggs to have hunger suppressing effects on us and so they are a great snack to fill up that appetite and build some muscle!
4. Chicken Tortilla Wrap- grab yourself a whole wheat tortilla wrap, chuck in some chicken, some salad, some light mayo and you have yourself a protein packed healthy snack! The salad in there will help give your body a nutrient boost too.
The whole wheat wrap will provide you with some slow digesting carbs to help fuel your workout!
5. Protein Pancakes- When you’re at home, this is a great easy quick snack, packed with muscle building goodness! There are various different recipes that you can use but here is my personal favourite: Combine 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 cup of egg whites, and 1-2 scoops of your favourite whey protein powder. Once well mixed, pour onto a pre-heated pan coated with non-stick spray and pour batter evenly in the centre. Cook on both sides for a couple minutes and you are good to go! This recipe will be enough for 5-6 pancakes so adjust accordingly with home many you wish to have.
Tip: there are also many sugar and calorie free syrups on the market, so this can be a great addition to make those protein pancakes sweet, without adding too many calories!
6. Ryvita with Cottage Cheese- Ryvita or any other whole wheat crackers, contain fibre and slow digesting carbohydrates. While the cottage cheese is high in protein whilst also providing your body with fats. In particular long chain casein protein, which is slower digesting, so this snack will help to release protein slowly throughout the forthcoming hours.
Due to the slow releasing protein here, I like to have this snack late at night, as it will provide your body with a slow release of proteins all throughout the night.
7. Tuna Salad- Tinned tuna is such a simple and easy source of protein, whenever and wherever you are! Try a tin of tuna, mixed in with some light mayonnaise and salad of your choice for a perfect little snack/ small meal. As well as being high in protein tuna contains healthy omega oils which have been shown to help a healthy heart. If you wanted to add some carbohydrates to this meal then you could easily put the above in to a wrap or some whole wheat bread to make a sandwich, to satisfy those carb cravings we get!
8. Whey Protein Shake- Feeling hungry? Wanting to make gains? Well then look no further than a good old protein shake! As well as being pretty filling for how low in calories it is, you of course get that high protein content that you are know you will be getting from a protein shake. I always advise myprotein.com and their impact whey. Can't be beaten in my opinion for price, flavour and for quality.
9. Greek Yoghurt- This can be a great snack anytime in the day, and you can add berries to bring out the flavour and which will also add some antioxidants. Check the nutritional information on the back when buying just to make sure that your Greek Yoghurt is high in protein, as some aren't as high as they should be!.
10. Cheese- Last but not least and definitely one of the tastiest on the list, our beloved cheese! It's high in protein, fats and also calcium and so they make for great muscle building qualities, especially if you are a hard gainer with a very fast metabolism! This is because cheese as we all know is also very high in calories and so consideration to your caloric demands need to be taken into account, if your body fat is on the slightly higher side.
TIP: Mozzarella cheese in particular is known to contain casein (Slow release protein) so having some early on in the day can provide you with a steady flow of protein throughout the day. Similar to cottage cheese which is on the list.
So there you have it! Those are 10 excellent muscle building snacks for you to add to your nutritional plan, and if you replace things like crisps, sweets and chocolate with them, you will see massive improvements in your physique! Fit them in around a sound nutritional and training plan, and you will definitely achieve your fitness goals!!
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