Bodybuilding Food List

If you waltz into the grocery store without a time-tested bodybuilding food list in hand, you can forget about packing on new muscle or shedding those love handles.

How so?

Nutrition makes or breaks your muscle building efforts.

And most guys show up woefully under-prepared at the supermarket.

That $100 note in your pocket? The one supposed to foot your grocery bill this week?

Unless you plan all your meals in advance, you'll blow it on physique-destroying foods or on expensive items that eat up your entire budget in three days.

With the backdrop out of the way, let's address your most pressing question:

"How Should I Eat To Gain Muscle?"

How Should I Eat To Gain Muscle

Before writing your bodybuilding food list, remember this one crucial piece of advice:

You won't stick to a meal plan you don't like or can't afford.

So pick foods that keep your brain happy and wallet full.

When you boil it all down, you must do only two things to pack on mass:

1. Create a calorie surplus

Forget about meal frequency, nutrient timing, expensive mass gainers, yada yada yada...

None of that stuff matters when you're eating 1800 calories per day. It's not enough food to build new muscle.

Want to get bigger? You must eat like a man!

Now, don't take this the wrong way...

You don't need a 1000 kcal/day surplus to grow. 

If anything, you'll grow too fast on such a meal plan... and most of that growth will occur around your waist!

Your body can build only a limited amount of muscle each week or month. When it reaches that limit, those extra calories you keep pounding down will get stored as body fat.

Smart lifters aim for a small surplus of 200-300 kcal per day, which will ensure the beef you pack on comes with minimal fat accumulation. 

Which brings us to...

2. Keep it as natural as possible

Too many dudes think entering a "mass building phase" gives them free rein to eat their way into type 2 diabetes.

Pizza, cookies, donuts, and ice cream are treats you can indulge in once in a while – not something you want on your plate every day!

Unless you aspire to a sumo wrestler physique, eat the same chow you would in a fat loss phase... just in higher quantities.

Base your diet around quality proteins, healthy fats, and minimal refined carbs.

That means stocking up on lean meats, fish, eggs, and plant-based foods.

What Foods Are Bad For Muscle Growth?

What Foods Are Bad For Muscle Growth

Foods that suck for building muscle are the opposite of what we just covered:

Low in protein...

High in processed carbs or trans-fats...

And laced with extra sugar or additives.

You can't go wrong heeding advice from the late Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness:

"If man made it, don't eat it."

As a rule of thumb... if food comes in any kind of package or container with an ingredient list stapled on it, steer clear.

Obvious examples include:

  • Candy bars
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Cookies or other pastries
  • Frozen pizza

While you can eat any food in moderation – yes, even burgers and chocolate cake – and still keep your six-pack abs, none of those should make it on to your plate every day... 

Or even every week.

Consuming too much cheap junk food is the biggest reason you're not ripped. 

Top 10 Bodybuilding Foods to Add to Your Shopping Cart

Top 10 Bodybuilding Foods

Unless you have come up with a proven game plan before walking through the sliding doors at Walmart, physique-ruining items will end up in your shopping cart.

This bodybuilding food list is that game plan.

It helps you make right choices as you wander between the aisles, so you build a killer physique... instead of killing your physique.

Before we begin, I want to clear something up...

Any food listed has to be both nutritious and affordable.

As healthy and tasty as Wagyu beef is, you don't want to blow your entire $100/week allowance on it – only to be forced to downgrade to Ramen noodles and tuna the other six days.

Furthermore, nobody in their right mind downs a bunch of edamame, chickpeas, or pumpkin seeds every day.

You need real growth-producing grub, not bird food, to fuel your workouts.


You have to enjoy the foods you eat to stick to your diet.

Always ask yourself:

"Can I imagine eating this way for the rest of my life?"


Then your diet is not sustainable!

Okay, enough with the disclaimers...

Add these ten items to your healthy bodybuilding meal plan starting today.

#10. Tomato & Bell Pepper

Obsessed with macros and total calories, too many guys forget about vitamins and minerals as they pound down their 200 grams of protein for the day.

You'll find nary a vegetable on their plate...

Then they wonder why they feel tired all the time and don't have the energy to push the pedal through the floor in their workouts!

Tomatoes and bell peppers pack a bunch of important micronutrients, which makes them great choices to eat daily.

#9. Salmon

A fantastic source of healthy fats.

If you can swing it, go with wild-caught salmon. The cost is higher but so is the quality.

#8. Strawberries & Blueberries

Regarded as natural candy, you can feast on strawberries and blueberries like Haribo gummy bears – without the guilt.

For a flavorful bite containing protein, carbs and fat, mix berries together with yoghurt (see next point). 

#7. Greek or Icelandic Yoghurt (Skyr)

If you can handle dairy, Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and fat.

Combined with fruits or berries, it makes for a delicious snack.

#6. Banana

Raw, tasteless, imported Chiquitas sold at Western supermarkets?

Yeah, I'm not talking about those.

I mean the yellow-brown, ripe (but not mushy), delicious bananas plucked from the tree a couple of days ago.

They make for a great snack when thrown into a bowl of yoghurt, or a quick stand-alone bite on the go.

#5. Rice

To load up on carbs after a brutal gym session.

I prefer jasmine because it's easy to digest. But any type of rice will do.

#4. Steak

The only reason I didn't place steak any higher is cost.

If price weren't a factor, a juicy ribeye would stand right up there on the podium.

#3. Chicken Breast

A true classic, is there any food more associated with bodybuilding than skinless chicken breast?

A lean protein food that tastes great with the right seasoning, it's one of the best options for developing a ripped physique.

#2. Ground Beef

My all-time, budget-friendly post-workout meal?

Ground beef, jasmine rice, and salsa.

I could eat that every day for less than $2 per meal.

#1. Eggs

The most bang-for-your-buck bodybuilding food, eggs have got it all:

Proteins, fats, essential vitamins and nutrients, and a cheap price tag.

In a typical week, I eat 50-80 eggs, which amounts to <$1 per day.

The $100/Week Bodybuilding Grocery List for Cutting

Bodybuilding Grocery List for Cutting

Having picked our most nutritious, wallet-friendly foods, let's expand it into a simple meal plan you can follow.

This is the same plan I put my skinny-fat coaching clients on to get ripped.

By turning the items below into staples in your diet, you can cook superb meals for less than $400 per month... while getting bigger and leaner week by week.


  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Shrimp
  • Greek yoghurt or Skyr
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Salmon, tuna, and other fish


  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Peach
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Kale
  • Bell pepper
  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry
  • Raspberry


  • Eggs
  • Salmon, tuna, and other fish
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Avocado
  • Olives


I don't know about you...

But you expect me to eat nothing but chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli, Monday through Sunday?

Not gonna happen.

Bodybuilding foods carry a (justified) reputation as bland/boring.

But healthy food doesn't have to taste like a soggy sock. Spruce it up with these condiments:

  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Salsa
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • Plain tomato sauce
  • Butter
  • Olive oil

The $100/Week Bodybuilding Grocery List for Bulking

Bodybuilding Grocery List for Bulking

The bodybuilding food list above is everything you need to get lean enough to see a full six-pack.

But you'll have a hard time consuming enough calories from nothing but meats, greens, and healthy fats during a lean bulk.

Especially if your lightning-fast metabolism and high levels of physical activity require you to gun for 4000+ kcal per day. 

So you should tone down the fruits and vegetables, and replace some of them with starches.

Adding rice or couscous to your meals makes it easier to create a surplus of calories, which you need to gain serious muscle.

Potatoes and yams also work.

But since 100 grams of potatoes contain around 100 calories, you'd have to eat 700 grams (a stomach-exploding amount!) to add an extra 700 calories to your daily total...

Or you could achieve the same with 200 grams of rice.

That's why I recommend rice over potatoes for bulking.

Force feeding yourself with eggs and rice still feels somewhat enjoyable. Something you can't say when replacing the latter with taters.

Other than the addition of starches, don't deviate from the bodybuilding food list we crafted earlier for cutting.

The same foods that help you drop fat also help you gain muscle.

You'll just have to eat (a lot) more of them.

Wrapping Up

People think eating healthy costs a small fortune.

So they eat cheap, processed junk.

The truth?

If you plan your meals in advance, you'll sculpt a killer physique and spend less on groceries than you do right now.

So print out this bodybuilding food list the next time you go food shopping.

It builds rock-hard muscle and saves you money every month.

What's better than that?

Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, has coached 500+ competitive athletes. His client list includes NCAA D1 champions, World Champions and NHL players.A former skinny-fat kid struggling to gain strength and muscle, Yunus managed to build a respectable 3x body weight deadlift. He has also helped dozens of scrawny men add muscle, hit lifting PRs they never thought were possible, and saved them from the skinny-fat curse.


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