How you eat is just as important as how you work out when it comes to building muscle and boosting your fitness level. Eat the wrong foods, and you won’t get the results you’re expecting. On the other hand, you’re not relegated to eating a diet of eggs, chicken breasts and cottage cheese to build muscle. Discover these six fitness foods that’ll shake up your taste buds and add variety to your diet.
Ostrich is the thinking man’s red meat. It has a taste and texture that’s similar to beef but 30% less fat. What it doesn’t lack is muscle-building protein. A single 3-ounce serving of ostrich has 24 grams of protein and only 123 calories. There’s another plus. Ostriches are usually raised on small farms where they’re treated humanely and aren’t injected with antibiotics. How can you get the benefits of this unconventional fitness food? You can find ostrich patties and steaks at some natural food markets. Ostrich is even endorsed by the American Cancer Society as an alternative to beef. If you’re looking for a lean source of protein for an after-workout lunch, ostrich has you covered.
Sardines are a good take-along protein source. Just peel the top off the metal can and munch on them after a workout, but be sure to brush your teeth afterwards. What’s so special about sardines? Each small fish you pop into your mouth has 8 grams of protein and only 70 calories. Sardines are also loaded with healthy omega-3 fats that help to reduce inflammation. That’s a good thing if you’re worried about after-exercise soreness. Enjoy them with whole grain crackers and mustard or toss them on onto a salad or into your next batch of homemade spaghetti sauce. They’re a good break from canned tuna.
Who says you have to get your protein from animal sources? Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, and it’s a favorite meat substitute enjoyed by vegans and vegetarians everywhere. That’s because it has the texture of meat and takes on the flavor of the sauce you serve it with. It’s also an excellent source of non-meat protein. A single serving of this fitness food has a whopping 19 grams of protein and only 193 calories. It’s also a natural source of friendly bacteria called probiotics that prime your immune system to fight off those viruses that are floating around the gym. Pick up a vegetarian cookbook, and you’ll find tons of ways to prepare this tasty meat alternative. It’s guaranteed to add definition to your biceps.
Sure, oatmeal is a good body-building breakfast food, but quinoa is even better. Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle and has enough complex carbs to fuel your next workout. You could use a little more fiber in your diet, couldn’t you? Quinoa has you covered – and if you’re sensitive to gluten, rest assured that quinoa is gluten-free. To get the benefits of this protein-rich, whole-grain food, toss it into a Crockpot before bedtime along with a little milk or water and cook it on low. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be greeted by a Crockpot full of hot quinoa. Add fresh berries, nuts and a dash of cinnamon. Then enjoy its muscle-building goodness.
While you’re building muscle, give your metabolism a jumpstart. The capsaicin in hot chili peppers stimulates thermo genesis so you’ll burn more fat for up to 20 minutes after you eat them. They also suppress your appetite so you won’t be tempted to snack on the wrong foods. Chili peppers have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which is good for preventing muscle soreness. Spice up your veggies by adding a few hot chilies or make a hot chili pepper dipping sauce.
Wash down those hot chili peppers with a cup of green tea. Green tea contains a metabolism-boosting catechins including ECGC that helps you burn fat. It’s also calorie-free. Substitute green tea for soft drinks and fruit juice, and you’ll enjoy a significant calorie savings while protecting your cells against oxidative damage.
Keep eating clean, but add a little variety to your diet by enjoying these fitness foods.
Guest post contributed by Sam Harvey on behalf of Bingostreet one of those online bingo sites but with more personality. Discuss workout tactics over a few bingo online games and meet likeminded people.