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10 Foods For Bulking


Gaining weight is just as hard as losing weight. You need the same type of motivation, dedication, and self-discipline to gain weight, just like you need to lose weight.

The most important process you could follow to gain weight is to bulk up. Generally, people may think that bulking up is an easy and enjoyable process.

However, bulking up without consuming the essential nutrient values could be harmful to your body.

The reason behind this is simply because if you try to bulk up with junk and processed foods then you may miss some important nutrients required by your body and hence suffer from certain health issues.

In such situations, you may not even have enough strength to lift weights properly. Thus, you may need to assist your strength training with such food sources that may help you in bulking up.

Best Foods For Bulking

When it comes to the bulking process, average-weighted men may aim[1] at consuming approximately 250 to 500 extra kcal per day for maintaining a sustained calorie surplus. Women should do the same but with around 200-400 extra calories.

In general, consuming more than you burn would mean bulking.

While choosing your diet for the bulking process, you should understand that different macros will have different amounts of calories in them.

Fats contain[2] approximately 9 kilocalories per gram, whereas carbs and protein contain approximately 4 kilocalories per gram.

So you may aim at consuming a diet that is rich in healthy fats.

Apart from this, some of the healthy fats like Omega 3 may even help to enhance[3] the muscle protein synthesis in your body which could build muscle.

You may also consume carbohydrates which might be crucial to pulling you up for the top training sessions that help[4] in building muscle and stimulate muscle protein synthesis after exercise.

Now let’s have a glance at the most beneficial foods that could assist[5] your bulking process.

  1. Salmon

    As mentioned above, the consumption of healthy fats during the bulking process is quite crucial.

    Salmon is an ideal food item that could be a good source of healthy fats.

    Being full of monounsaturated fatty acids, salmon might be great for your lean bulking process.

    Apart from this, it could even help you save 30% of your calories from protein.

    The major reason behind this is that salmon may provide enough amino acids to your body that could assist it in the construction of new muscle fibers.

    As per this data[6],100 g of salmon fish delivers around 19.2gms of protein.

    At the same time, it ensures that you do not consume too much protein that makes you feel full for a longer time and could replace other important food items in your diet.

    Besides being a good source of amino acids, Salmon is a great calorie protein source that could combat inflammation and even prevent joint pain once your training and exercise schedules amplify.

  2. Beef

    Though beef may be considered to be fat and could even lead to cardiovascular diseases, you need to learn the trick with this ingredient.

    The trick here should be to consume it in moderation and eat only the good quality cuts.

    Moreover, you should get beef from the Grass Fed animals because it could contain omega-3 fatty acids in greater amounts. Omega 3 fatty acids could help[7] prevent muscle loss and the impact of aging.

    At the same time, you should avoid the consumption of highly processed versions of beef like jerky or deli meats.

    Some red meats could have high amounts of saturated fat, which could further augment the blood cholesterol in your body.

    Due to this, it becomes crucial to  adhere to the required limit and moderate the consumption of beef to assist your bulking process.

  3. Whole Eggs

    Whole eggs can help you to gain approximately 75 to 90 calories with a single egg along with fat and protein.

    Eggs are one of the most crucial sources of protein because they contain[8] all of the essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.

    Moreover, this ingredient is highly bioavailable and it can be easily digested, absorbed, and used by your body.

    On the other hand, some people may consider whole eggs to be unhealthy because they have high saturated fat content and high cholesterol.

    But in reality, eggs may be a good source of healthy cholesterol unless and until you are eating them in excess, like 12 eggs in a single day, which could cause the saturated fat content problem.

    So, all you have to do is to consume whole eggs within a limit and you could get a good source of protein. You may make a whole egg omelet or even prepare a delectable scrambled egg.

  4. Quinoa

    Quinoa is a grain originally from South America that could provide you with a good amount of protein.

    This grain may even provide you with approximately 33% of your daily zinc requirement. It contains[9] around 40 g of carbs in just 185 g.

    You could eat quinoa, either cold or warm, and add it to your breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

    However, it’s crucial to get enough starchy carbohydrates in the morning before your training session.

    So, if you add Quinoa to your breakfast approximately 3 to 4 hours before your training session, it could provide you with the required calories that may help in building the muscle.

  5. Avocado

    Being a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, avocados could be an ideal ingredient to add healthy calories and fat to your diet.

    Around 150 g or 1 cup of avocado has around[10] 12.8 g of carbohydrates. So, they could be an ideal food choice for bulking.

    Not only this, but this ingredient could also amplify the number of vitamins like vitamin E and antioxidants consumed by your body during the bulking season.

    Vitamin E is a crucial vitamin to perform some of the important functions of the body that could help in its overall well-being.

    This ingredient might even be great to add extra fiber to your diet without filling you up too much. So, all you have to do is to try mashed avocados on crackers or even make an avocado cheesecake or homemade avocado brownies.

  6. Olive oil And Coconut Oil.

    When you aim at adding fat to your diet, then olive oils and coconut oils could be of great significance to you.

    So, all you have to do is to make some minor changes in your cooking schedule and use more olive and coconut oils for healthy cooking.

    You could even add these oils to your salads to amplify their consumption.

    Since you need to consume approximately 20 to 35% of the calories from fat while gaining mass, the presence of olive oil or coconut oil in your diet could take care of this limit.

    Just a single spoon of olive oil could provide you with[11] approximately 120 healthy calories.

  7. Nuts.

    Being a portable ingredient, Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

    You could get approximately[12] 300 calories from every 50 grams of nuts.

    Apart from this, you might even get certain essential oils and micronutrients from this ingredient, which could be crucial for your bulking process.

    So all you need to do is to carry certain nuts with you and eat them whenever required.

  8. Seeds

    Different seeds like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are quite high in calories.

    You could include them in your muscle gain diet chart for quicker results and receive certain other minerals and nutrients as well.

    Moreover, seeds are also a portable snack and you could keep them on hand to evade any emergencies when you do not have anything to eat.

    You could receive approximately 152 calories per 28 grams of flax seeds, 137 calories per 28 grams of Chia seeds, 160 calories per 28 grams of sesame seeds, and 155 calories per 28 grams of hemp seeds.

    You may even prepare a chia seeds pudding which could be a good source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and might help improve your health.

  9. Beans

    With a plethora of nutrients like folate, iron, zinc, and potassium, beans are good ingredients for your health.

    Apart from this, this ingredient is even rich in plant-based proteins. They also include magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.

    One cup of[13] black beans has approximately 40 g of carbs with around 15.2 g of proteins.

    One cup of pinto beans (171 g) retains[14] 15.4 g of protein and 44.8 g of carbs.

    However, if you are new to beans then you may make sure to drink plenty of water to adjust to the amplified consumption levels of fiber in your stomach.

    Beans could be a great addition to your diet as they may help[15] in improving health.

    You could get approximately 200 to 300 calories per one cup of beans depending upon the type of bean. You may eat them either as a Curry or mash and blend them up.

  10. Cheese

    If you are looking to gain weight, then you may focus on the consumption of the full-fat versions of cheese which could be an excellent source of calories, calcium, fat, and protein.

    Low-fat cheese could also be a good addition to your bulking diet as its 1 cup, around 226 g of unpacked cheese comprises[16] of 28 g of protein.

    While purchasing cheese for your bulking process, you may check out the ingredient list and focus on more natural cheese, like hard cheese such as ricotta and cheddar.

Let us Wrap It Up

One of the most common myths about the bulking process is that you may be free to eat whatever you want and in any quantity.

However, in reality, what you need is to truncate your training volume and calories with the right bulking foods.

While bulking, you may make sure to eat the right food items which could help to minimize the fat gain, maximize muscle growth, and help in the functioning of metabolism.


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. Juma Iraki , Peter Fitschen , Sergio Espinar , et al. Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review. Review. Sports (Basel). 2019 Jun 26;7(7):154. doi: 10.3390/sports7070154. AVailable from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31247944/
  2. Eric R Helms , Alan A Aragon , Peter J Fitschen. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Review J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 May 12;11:20.doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-20. eCollection 2014. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24864135/
  3. Gordon I Smith, Philip Atherton, Dominic N Reeds, et al. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb; 93(2): 402–412. Published online 2010 Dec 15. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.005611
  4. Vandré Casagrande Figueiredo and David Cameron-Smithcorresponding author. Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 42. Published online 2013 Sep 25. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-42
  5. Eric R Helms , Alan A Aragon , Peter J Fitschen. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Review J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 May 12;11:20.doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-20. eCollection 2014. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24864135/
  6. Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173686/nutrients
  7. Alessio Molfino , Gianfranco Gioia , Filippo Rossi Fanelli, et al. The role for dietary omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in older adults. Review. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 3;6(10):4058-73.doi: 10.3390/nu6104058. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25285409/
  8. Egg, whole, raw, fresh. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171287/nutrients
  9. Quinoa, cooked. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168917/nutrients
  10. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171705/nutrients
  11. Olive oil. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103861/nutrients
  12. Nuts, NFS. Avaiable from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100506/nutrients
  13. Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173735/nutrients
  14. Beans, pinto, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175200/nutrients
  15. Imran Hayat 1 , Asif Ahmad, Tariq Masud, Anwaar Ahmed. Nutritional and health perspectives of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): an overview. Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(5):580-92.doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.596639.
  16. Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 1% milkfat. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173417/nutrients

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