10 Foods That Help Build Muscle for Weight Loss

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned vet in the gym, it doesn’t matter if you’re not putting the right nutrients in your body. Starting your meal plans with the right protein are vital in your weight loss journey. In my experience, start with these 10 protein packed foods to build strong muscle.


No brainer, right? It doesn’t matter what grocery store chain you go to, chicken is always available for your diet. No need to worry about if you should only consume light or dark meat, go for it! Whatever works for your diet & lifestyle.

Pronounced KEEN-wah this nutrient based source of veggie protein comes in different varieties. We keep it in our pantry for its versatile nature with pairing other vegetables. How does it help with building muscle you ask? It happens to be rich in iron (helps supply oxygen to our muscles), rich in magnesium (helps relax blood vessels), high in riboflavin (B2) improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells.

It can be hard to find foods that are high in calories and nutritious at the same time. High in carbs and protein beans per serving are very low in fat. Combine this with a lean protein and rice, you’ll be on your way to providing enough firepower to start shedding that unwanted weight.
If you are on a plant based diet looking for protein options or variety can be hard fought at times. While I do enjoy lean animal based protein, I live in a house with vegetarians and working tofu in my meals works greatly. With more than 7 grams of protein per serving it can serve as an excellent substitute for meat. Also, it’s fairly cheap.
Fish in general is high in protein and very lean. Be careful of what type of fish you eat as farm-raised options are everywhere (learn more). As tuna can be a bit on the pricey side look for albacore tuna in the can. One 5oz can contains 30 grams of protein. Wow!
Brown rice
Instead of going to white rice choose brown for the better protein option. One cup has five grams of protein. It also is high in amino acids, providing a strong vegetarian option for building muscle. The main difference between brown and white rice is its fiber content. Fiber supports weight loss because it helps you feel full, so you’re not as likely to grab something extra to eat throughout the day.

Greek Yogurt (plain)
When you compare Greek yogurt to regular yogurt, a 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains about 15 grams of protein (regular yogurt 9). For you guys following low-carb diets it’s about 8 grams lower per serving. If you happen to be keeping up with your macros watch the fat content. Some brand can pack as much as 16 grams of saturated fat per 7 ounce serving (yikes). Regardless, it can be a quick snack to get your protein fix.
Chia Seeds
While this tiny seed may not provide a large source of protein, its nutritional value packs a powerful punch. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3’s and omega 6 fatty acids, potassium, and antioxidants. When I get up in the morning I throw it my oatmeal to start my day. If you are into breakfast smoothies, try a few tablespoons (2 grams of protein) for an extra boost!
Besides being relatively cheap, lentil pack 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs. Lentils take about 20 minutes to cooks so, start your weekly planning Sunday and you’ll have an incredibly flexible option for fixing your meals throughout the week. Like brown rice, lentils are high in fiber, so you shouldn’t feel the urge to grab that snickers bar from the vending machine.
Beef (lean)
For some reason, beef always seems to be one of the top choices for building muscle. With the blend of protein, amino acids, & creatine the reason is obvious. While the reports for red meats are mixed, in moderation it remains a strong choice.

Just remember that to lose weight you will have to be in a caloric deficit. One of my favorite apps to keep up with my nutrition is MyFitnessPal.

Good luck on your journey to a fitter you,

Terencio White



10 thoughts on “10 Foods That Help Build Muscle for Weight Loss”

  • Great article, Rod! White rice has been a staple food at home. After reading your article, I may consider brown rice as another option. Just wondering if pork can be another option other than chicken?

    • While there are certainly fattier options (bacon&/ribs), pork tenderloin is an excellent option to substitute for chicken. According to bodybuilding.com one 3 ounce serving contains 3 g of fat and 22 g of protein.

    • Thanks John, My family is huge on breakfast And through out the week breakfast moves quickly. We look for the healthiest options that can be prepared without much hassle.

  • Hey Terencio,

    I work out myself and a eat some of the thngs on your list. Do you think whey protein powder is better or worse than these food groups when it comes to gaining healthy muscle?


    • Good question Dwight. Whey Protein has its place with building muscle and weight loss. How you choose to implement your protein throughout your daily routine is up to the individual. In the case of this article I’m looking more towards getting lean. Whey Protein is great when it comes to protein needs for healthy muscle and also weight loss. In certain studies if can be shown that it is no better than soy protein. To answer your question, a balanced diet is the best alternative to receive the nutrients that you need for your body to fully recover.

  • I’m happy to say I have all of these in my kitchen! I didn’t even realize some of the health benefits, I just kind of had them because they sounded healthy and were low calorie. I haven’t been eating all of them as often as I think I should, so you’ve given me some incentive here.

    I really want to add more chia seeds to my daily diet, and I think throwing them in a shake is a great idea.

    Of course, calories are super important, but most of these foods are pretty low calorie. Now I just have to cut out the foods that are not healthy like this. 🙂

    • I always like to emphasize that sometimes a piece of cake is just a part of life, just be more conscious of the ingredients that go into the cake.  Balance is the most important when it comes to lifestyle, if losing weight is important these foods can definitely get you on the right track.  Pull out that bag of quinoa that been in the cabinet for 4 months and make an incredible meal!  Good luck on your journey!

  • Good post.
    I have always wanted to find out about meal planning and looking at your post is really going to help me.
    Would it be ok to have chicken everyday or would that be to much?,i am not a fish lover it kinda makes me shudder which is a shame really as it is so good for you:(
    Will be deffo looking at your fitness plan and sticking this advice on my fridge:)
    Thanks again for the info.

    • Everybody loves chicken right?  Meal planning with chicken along with other staples such as rice and vegetables is a great way to start your week, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle.  Nothing wrong with eating Chicken everyday as long as you’re balancing other foods to get the nutrition your body needs.  The calories are easy to manage along with being one  of the better sources of protein.  

      Good luck to your weekly planning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.