Looking to build muscle quickly? If so, getting a proper nutritional program or bodybuilding snacks in place is the key. One big error that some people make as they move through their program is focusing only on the healthy recipes for the three meals of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
To build muscle, you’re going to have to bump up your calorie intake, taking in more calories than you burn off over the course of the day. The best way to get those extra calories in is through proper meal timing combined with healthy snacking. By adding two to three snacks to your daily diet plan, you can be sure that you are on the route to success.
But what constitutes a healthy muscle-building snack? In order for it to provide you with optimal benefits, it’ll need to be calorie dense, rich in nutrition, and relatively fast and easy to make. If you have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing your snacks and meals, it won’t matter what type of diet you’re working toward, your chances of sticking with it will be slim.
So, let’s look at 8 of the best muscle-building snack ideas for you to consider. Serve these up any time you need some quick fuel on the go.
Top 8 muscle building snacks
1. Greek Yogurt Parfait
The first healthy snack? A yogurt parfait. Rather than taking the conventional route, and simply mixing some yogurt with berries, you need to find a way to load this one up with calories.
First, mix half a scoop of your favorite protein powder in with about one cup of plain Greek yogurt. This brings more protein and calories to the dish, making it better balanced.
Next, add in your favorite berries and half a sliced banana. While berries are nutrient dense, they aren’t as high in calories, so the banana will work perfectly here.
On top of that, you’ll also want to add in handful of toasted oats. This brings complex carbohydrates into the picture, while giving it a little crunch. Finally, to finish off the parfait, you need to add some healthy fats. Toss on some unsweetened dried coconut flakes or some nuts – your choice.
What you’re left with is a parfait that easily packs in 350 or more calories, is well-balanced in carbs, proteins, and fats, and will ensure that you keep your diet on track.
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2. Power Bites
Another quick and easy muscle building snack that you can prepare with you and take on-the-go is a power bite. This non-bake recipe also stays well in Tupperware containers in the fridge, so consider preparing a large batch and always having some on you.
To prepare it, simply blend together two scoops of chocolate or vanilla protein powder, a third cup of natural peanut butter, a quarter cup of raw oats, along with 2 tbsp. of honey.
Mix this all together and then form into bite sized balls. Note that you can also add in some dried fruit (cranberries work great!) or additional nuts or dried coconut to this recipe as well.
Come up with your perfect flavor combo and you can use these when you’re in a bind and want something healthier than a pre-made protein bar.
3. Bagel With Turkey
The next excellent snack to fuel your muscle building efforts is a bagel with turkey. Bagels are great for those looking to build more muscle tissue as they are carb- and calorie-dense. They are great for providing muscular fuel for intense workouts or for snacking on after an active recovery workout.
This snack could easily double as a pre-workout meal as it’s also lower in total dietary fat content.
To prepare, simply smear half your bagel with mustard and the other half with some low-fat mayonnaise and then layer on some sliced turkey breast. Top with a tomato and sliced cucumber and then serve.
4. Salmon Salad Pita
Of all the protein sources that you should be getting in while attempting to build muscle, salmon is one of the most important. It’s rich in high quality amino acids and is also going to provide a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which will boost your insulin sensitivity, ensuring you shuttle all the carbohydrates you eat into the muscle tissues.
While grilling up salmon each day may not be realistic, don’t overlook the possibility of turning to canned salmon for quick and easy meals and snacks during the busy week.
Open a can of salmon and remove all bones and skin. Then add to it half a mashed avocado, some finely diced green onion and just a little lemon juice.
Once this mixture is formed, spoon it into a pita and top with some spinach and some cherry tomatoes if desired.
Adding avocado to this salmon salad rather than conventional mayonnaise gives you a much healthier dietary fat profile and will keep your testosterone levels elevated, which is necessary for maximum muscle building.
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5. Loaded Oatmeal Bowl
One of the pros of oats is that they are a perfect source of muscle-building carbs, if you choose to eat them raw. Many people who are aiming to build muscle avoid oats because they are so filling and not very calorie dense, but if you simply pour them into your bowl and eat like a regular cereal, you get the opposite effect.
Uncooked oats are high in complex carbohydrates, low in sugar, and will even provide a small amount of protein as well.
To balance out this snack, simply pour half a cup of oats into your bowl and then mix together half a cup of milk along with a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Pour this into the bowl and then add in a spoonful or two of natural peanut butter. To that, add in some dried cranberries along with chopped walnuts or almonds.
This is a delicious snack that won’t take up much room in your stomach, reducing the chances that you feel bloated and sluggish. And, this is despite the fact it can easily provide over 600 calories.
6. Healthy Trail Mix
Homemade trail mix is the next meal idea that you might want to start considering adding to your day. While you could purchase a store-bought variety, the problem with those is that they’re very high in additives and often come loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats.
Instead, prepare your own.
To do this, mix together two cups of whole wheat cereal squares along with one dark chocolate bar, broken up into bite-sized pieces. Add in a half cup of raisins along with a quarter cup each of walnuts, almonds, and peanuts.
Finally, add in a few tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and you’re all set.
There’s no need to add any sort of dressing or flavoring to this trail mix as due to the variety of ingredients, you’ll be getting a great dose of flavor already.
7. Super-Charged Smoothie
Another great way to get your calorie intake up is to make use of protein smoothies. Smoothies are excellent as they’re quick to prepare and if you use the right ingredients, can easily pack in over 400 or more calories as well.
Best of all, your body doesn’t register liquid calories like it does solid food calories, so you’ll find this hardly puts a dent in your hunger level.
How can you supercharge your smoothie for muscle building? Simply add in some extra calorie-dense ingredients.
You’ll already need to be using protein powder along with some fresh or frozen fruits of your choice. To this however, you might consider adding in some diced avocado or nut butter. This brings healthy fats into the picture.
You can also consider swapping out some or all of the milk for coconut milk instead. This will significantly increase the calorie and healthy fat content as well.
Toss in some ground oats into the smoothie for complex carbohydrates and you’ll be all set.
Drink this between meals and it can easily provide you the extra calories you need to start seeing lean muscle mass gains.
8. Peanut Butter Roll
Finally, the last great muscle building snack is a basic peanut butter roll-up. To prepare this one, you’ll simply want to take a whole wheat soft tortilla and then smear a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter across it. Add in a sliced banana and then roll up and serve.
This will give you a nice 300-400 calorie snack in seconds. Just do keep in mind this one isn’t quite as high in protein as the other snacks listed above, so you may want to serve it with a scoop of protein mixed with milk or water as well to balance out that protein content.
So keep these fast and easy muscle building snacks in mind as you move through your diet plan. It’s very easy to come up with perfect solutions that will not only help you reach your calorie target, but also help fuel you for all your athletic exercise and assist with the recovery process that needs to take place afterward as well.
Eat smart and you will see excellent results.
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