17 Best Bulking Snacks For Bodybuilding: The Small Meals For Your Mini Hunger

Date
June
18
2022
Compiled By Michael Stuart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Donald Moore, MD FACT CHECKED

Bodybuilding is a commitment like no other, where you must give up many eating habits like binge eating and opt for healthier eating habits.

Moreover, with a highly intensive workout to beef up your muscles and strength, you would have to fuel your body with certain foods.

These should be those which would provide you immense power to perform the exercises essentially. When aiming to bulk and build muscles, you also have to aim for a 250 to 500 kcal calorie surplus daily.

For this, you would have to consume calorie-dense food, and your diet should include all essential macros. Then, combine these with healthy fats like omega 3s, which help you increase muscle protein synthesis.

While consuming calorie surplus food may be tiring, you could also opt for GI carbohydrates which are an easy and promising way to go for bulking food.

The reason behind recommending GI carbs is quicker recovery which is a boon from these carbohydrates.

Best Bulking Snacks For Bodybuilding

Now setting a target to consume 250 to 500 kcal calorie surplus food is not enough for bodybuilding.

You have to plan out how and what food items should be involved in your diet so here are a few best bulking foods for bodybuilding.

Here are some quick options for healthy snacking.

  1. Chickpeas

    Chickpeas are another great source of protein and carbohydrates which could be eaten soaked or dried or even as a ready-made dish like dal.

    This is the best-suited food item for people bulking based on a plant diet.

    Chickpeas are very tasty for your tongue with great macro content and have a versatile ability to be used in the majority of food items ranging from dal to salads.

    Roasted chickpeas and savory spicy salads can be your go-to recipes.

  2. Sprouted Grain Bread

    Sprouted grain bread is also a great alternative[1] to regular bread which is made out of grains once they are sprouted, lowering the carbohydrates contained in the resulting bread and boosting protein in it.

    A plus point is that these do not have preservatives in them. But this also means that you would have to store sprouted grain bread in the freezer.

  3. Whole Milk And Cottage Cheese

    A little myth of cutting down on dairy products is rather a bad one.

    You might be cutting down on milk and other dairy products to lose weight, but when you are bulking your muscles, whole milk might be a product that is going to exponentially help your body.

    It increases and maintains the vitamin D content in your body.

    Whole milk is an excellent product[2] to increase protein, calcium, and extra fat in your diet which is going to help in your calorie surplus diet.

    A single glass of whole milk contains around 150 calories in it. Similarly, cottage cheese has the same effect on your body and helps in bodybuilding.

    It is recommended to consume whole milk with a protein shake post-workout and a pot of cottage cheese just before bed.

    Cottage cheese could also be munched as a snack by adding protein powder and nuts.

  4. Rice

    Rice is another great option for obtaining GI carbohydrates while also filling you with fiber content.

    The lower fiber content in rice allows you to eat more rice to satisfy your stomach. With eating basic rice you could even add rice to salad to keep your fat and carbs high.

    Rice is a great way to keep your exercise volume high hence helping you exponentially in bodybuilding and bulking your muscle mass.

    You can opt for rice cakes or air-fried rice cutlets as well.

  5. Nuts And Nut Butter

    Nuts are energy-dense food products[3] that are filled with healthy monounsaturated fats, hence making them perfect for bulking.

    Small quantities of nuts could provide a large number of calories in addition to the protein and fats that come with it.

    Nuts and nut butter also have other micronutrients and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc which helps in improving muscle mass and nutritional status.

    Nuts could be consumed when little hunger sessions kick in. It could also be used with a banana topped with peanut butter.

  6. Chicken Thighs

    Chicken thighs are a great alternative to tasty food while helping you in bulking your muscles.

    The smoother texture on a skinless chicken thigh gives you extra calories with extreme taste to keep you sane through the bulking season.

  7. Avocado

    Avocados are one of the best plants that are gifted by nature and come into use in probably every field be it cosmetic or dieting.

    Avocados consist of monounsaturated fatty acids which are one of the healthiest fats to be included in your diet.

    They also include antioxidants and vitamins. Vitamin E out of all the vitamins, for an instance, is vital for the overall well-being of the body which is important while bulking and bodybuilding.

  8. Eggs

    While flooding for muscle building, one tends to throw away the yolks of eggs and consume only the whites.

    This practice itself might be the wrong step towards getting your body what it needs.

    Whole eggs are an excellent source[4] of protein and fat where you tend to get 75 to 90 calories per egg and even healthy cholesterol.

    Consider any quick recipe for egg rolls or maybe a hard-boiled egg.

  9. Sweet Potato

    Another myth in people’s minds is regarding the macros one should consume while bulking.

    People think that protein is the only macro important for a person to bulk up is protein, but that is not true.

    One must focus on getting all types of macros, nutrients, and minerals for bulking. The most important out of all is carbohydrates.

    Sweet potatoes could be the best source of carbohydrates.

    Where an average potato provides 40 grams of carbs and loads of vitamins[5] and minerals, sweet potatoes can additionally be an excellent source of fulfilling your sweet cravings.

  10. Oats

    Oats are one of the best food[6] items there are in the market. They are the best source of complex carbohydrates and fiber which also aids in digestion and sustained release of energy.

    Oats, therefore, are the best pre-workout meal and maybe a good snack too.

    Along with the traditional way of making oatmeal you can also switch to snacking mode.

    They are a great healthy bulking snack giving a break to the monotonous oatmeal taste.

  11. Pasta

    You surely don’t want to skip this one!

    Pasta is surprisingly a great fast food you could have while bulking that provides you GI carbohydrates of around 70 grams and 350 kcal or calorie surplus.

    White pasta is a great post-workout food to fuel you for your next workout session.

    For non-vegetarians adding some bolognese with pasta could work wonders for both your taste and health.

    Keeping the workout factor aside, who doesn’t enjoy the feast of pasta?

    This Italian dish is considered a healthy[7] snack when cooked the right way.

    Remember to choose whole-grain pasta and eat only in moderation. Eating too much will not provide any benefits.

    It might mess up your health.

  12. Coconut Milk

    Coconut milk magically boosts your muscle mass because of its versatile ability to be added to pretty much anything ranging from yogurt to protein shakes.

    Coconut boosts your calorie intake giving you enough power for bulking exercises without eating in excess.

    Coconut milk has several medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs which could be defined as saturated fats that are digested differently in our digestive system than the other fats which makes them a major energy provider.

  13. Dark Chocolate

    Dark chocolates have several benefits and are a great[8] way to satisfy your sweet tooth and sugar cravings.

    Dark chocolate with 75 percent cocoa content is filled with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.

    A great combination for bulking could be a banana covered with peanut butter and 75 percent dark chocolate.

  14. Yogurt

    Yogurt is one of the best side foods for people bulking where it optimizes nutrient absorption in the intestines while balancing the gastrointestinal tract.

    Here, yogurt boosts calcium that keeps your bones strong henceforth helping you in weight lifting.

    Greek yogurt or flavored yogurts might prove[9] to be the tasty and healthy snack you are looking for.

  15. Salmon

    Salmon, a fatty fish should be a part of your bulking diet.

    It is recommended by professionals to consume one portion of fatty fish a week and salmon fish is a great source to fulfill that need of your body.

    Besides fat, salmon also provides you with omega-3 fatty acids which steadily improve your joint and cardiovascular health.

    With this, a person indulged in highly intensive bulking exercise is recommended[10] to consume around 2 to 3 portions of fatty fish per week.

  16. Lean Beef

    Red meat is highly rich in fat and protein which helps in increasing your muscle mass with heme-iron that is the easiest absorbing iron in our body and is essential for weight lifting, muscle building, and hard training.

    Try munching on healthy beef sticks or jerky in moderation.

  17. Edamame

    Edamame is beans that could also be considered immature soybeans which is a prominent ingredient in Asian cooking.

    Edamame added in a few dishes could make a portion of great healthy food to consume since it is rich in protein and works wonders for snacking.

    Roasted edamame is the most popular form of edamame snack recipe.

Quick Tip

When it comes to fried food, you could replace generally used oil with olive oil or coconut oil which.

They may become a great source of healthy fats and extra calories needed for bulking.

Conclusion

Bulking could be a very tiring job but if combined with a great diet, bodybuilding or bulking could be fruitful practice for one’s life.

While staying healthy and reaching your dream figure without compromising much, one must focus on a calorie surplus diet that gives you enough power to indulge in bulking exercise.

To do that there are a zillion food options to choose from for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

You do not have to punish your tongue with bitter tasteless food and intake healthy and tasty food items like chickpeas, chicken thighs, coconut milk, and even dark chocolate.

+10 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Joanne Slavin. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1417–1435. Published online 2013 Apr 22. doi: 10.3390/nu5041417.
  2. Brian D Roy. Milk: the new sports drink? A Review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008; 5: 15. Published online 2008 Oct 2. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-5-15.
  3. Weight and muscle gain. Reviewed on: 30-06-2015. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/weight-and-muscle-gain.
  4. Stephan van Vliet, Evan L Shy, Sidney Abou Sawan, et al. Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Dec;106(6):1401-1412. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.159855. Epub 2017 Oct 4. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28978542/.
  5. Satheesh Neela, Solomon W. Fanta. Review on nutritional composition of orange‐fleshed sweet potato and its role in management of vitamin A deficiency. Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Jun; 7(6): 1920–1945. Published online 2019 May 17. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1063.
  6. Prasad Rasane, Alok Jha, Latha Sabikhi, Arvind Kumar, V. S. Unnikrishnan. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Feb; 52(2): 662–675. Published online 2013 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1.
  7. Yanni Papanikolaou. Pasta Consumption Is Linked to Greater Nutrient Intakes and Improved Diet Quality in American Children and Adults, and Beneficial Weight-Related Outcomes Only in Adult Females. Front Nutr. 2020; 7: 112. Published online 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00112.
  8. David L. Katz, Kim Doughty, Ather Ali. Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Nov 15; 15(10): 2779–2811. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3697.
  9. Aaron Bridge, Joseph Brown, Hayden Snider, et al. Greek Yogurt and 12 Weeks of Exercise Training on Strength, Muscle Thickness and Body Composition in Lean, Untrained, University-Aged Males. Front Nutr. 2019; 6: 55. Published online 2019 Apr 30. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00055.
  10. Kevin Paulussen, Amadeo Salvador, Colleen McKenna, et al. Effects of Salmon Ingestion on Post-Exercise Muscle Protein Synthesis: Exploration of Whole Protein Foods Versus Isolated Nutrients. Curr Dev Nutr. 2020 Jun; 4(Suppl 2): 650. Published online 2020 May 29. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzaa049_043.

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