Adding muscle mass is difficult for any hard gainer. Gaining weight takes a consistent effort of eating more calories, and not just any calories will do. If you want to put on quality weight, you need to eat quality food – about 18 to 20 times your body weight in calories to be exact.
Here are five fresh snack ideas to help you add muscle – fast!
Avocado has some amazing benefits. Considered a super food, avocados are loaded in dietary fiber, potassium, sodium, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E, K, B-vitamins, and antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin, phytosterols). Not to mention, they are also high in high-monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – which means they are calorie dense. Just two tablespoons of avocados provide 160 calories and 15 grams of good-for-you fat.
They also make a great side to eggs. Whole eggs deliver a whole lot of vitamins, including energizing b-vitamins, along with six grams of fast-digesting protein per egg. They also provide a source of fat that includes cholesterol, which is important in the development of testosterone. Try your eggs scrambled, over easy, or try baking your egg in half an avocado.
Cottage cheese is a great source of slow-digesting casein protein. Casein protein offers up a full complement of amino acids, and can be considered high-quality protein. If you’re a hard gainer, skip over the 0% fat and choose the 2% instead for a few extra calories. A one-cup serving of cottage cheese provides 195 calories, 6 grams of fat, and a whopping 27 grams of pure protein. If you’re not sure what to eat you cottage cheese with, try it with fruit! Mango delivers 75% of your daily value of Vitamin C and 25% of your daily value for Vitamin A. Each one-cup serving delivers 100 calories, and 25 grams of carbs, including sugar. Why is this important? Sugar stimulates the anabolic shuttling nutrient insulin, which picks up sugar, aminos, and other nutrients to be delivered to the muscle where they can be used or stored to help build muscle, fuel workouts and aid in recovery.
Nuts are a great way to easily add calories fast – just grab a handful and you are good to go. Not to mention, they are also portable, convenient and easy to eat. Cashews are high in calories, providing 157 calories and 12 grams of fat – including 2.2 grams of saturated fat. They also deliver 20% of your daily value for magnesium, an important mineral needed for muscle contraction. Nuts are great on their own, but taste even better when combined with a sweet treat like a date. A single medjool date delivers 66 calories and 18 grams of carbs.
Protein is an absolute must when it comes to muscle building, and whey provides a convenient source that can bulk up your diet quickly and easily. Make your own mass-gaining shake using whey protein, nut butters, fruit and even coconut. Blend 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder with 2 tablespoons of natural almond butter and 1 cup of almond coconut milk for a fast-digesting shake that provides 488 calories and a whopping 60 grams of protein!
Fitness diets usually don’t have bread in them, but sprouted grain doesn’t just have better ingredients – it’s also calorie dense. Made from sprouted grains like barley, milet, wheat, and other nutrients like legumes, chia and flax, this bread provides a ton of nutrients and even some protein. Two slices deliver 160 calories, 30 grams of energizing carbs, and 8 grams of protein. Pretty much anything tastes great with bread, but if you are trying to get a quick nutrient-dense snack in, try it with natural peanut butter and even a few slices of banana. Calories from nut butters can start to add up fast – two tablespoons provides 188 calories – so be careful! For added protein, try mixing a half scoop of your whey protein into your peanut butter to create your own nutty protein spread.