What you eat has a profound impact on your weight and muscle mass. If you’re not eating the right stuff, or if you’re eating too much of the wrong stuff, or your diet is all wonky and filled with junk foods, you’re not going to have the weight loss and muscle-building results you want.
To lose fat and build muscle, you need to eat a variety of proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and even herbs and spices. All that good protein will help you build muscle and lose weight. Fruits, vegetables, and carbs will give you a steady supply of energy throughout the day and help you with your workouts.
Healthy fats will actually help you lose weight (seems kind of counterintuitive, right?). A lot of people struggle with crafting and maintaining a diet that helps them lose weight and build muscle. That’s why so many people are obese in the United States.
The good news is that you can easily and affordably build a diet that will help you lose weight and build muscle. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, money, or time.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is seen in the healthy fats section of many books on bodybuilding. Olive oil has been used in the Mediterranean for millennia, and it is regularly consumed by the world’s healthiest and longest-lived cultures.
You’ve got to get some fat into your diet somehow, and olive oil is an excellent solution. The key to fats is to only consume the good fats. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil protects your heart and won’t contribute to weight gain. Plus, it tastes delicious.
You can cook with it or use it as a salad dressing. You can even add it to raw soups and other dishes. You can dip bread in it. It’s a smart idea to keep a big fresh bottle of extra virgin olive oil on the counter.
The closer to its natural state, the better. Get raw, organic, unfiltered, and extra virgin olive oil in a dark bottle and store it in a dark, cool place.
2. Eggs in any form
For anyone who finds themselves looking to build muscle mass, eggs are a great source of protein – which is one of the main building components that your body will need if you are focusing on building muscle.
Many vegetarians still allow for eggs in their diet, and the good thing about eggs is that they’re both cheap and healthy; you can find eggs pretty much anywhere in the world, and eggs are a very versatile ingredient:
Think of fried eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets and all of the things you can bake with just a little flour, milk, salt and an egg – sometimes with some added yeast.
Some add raw eggs to their shakes, and we’d highly recommend against this – the risk for contamination is just too high. You should make eggs part of your daily diet if your dietary needs allow for it.
Milk is very well known as being a great source of protein – and you can get most of your daily needed minerals and vitamins from milk, too.
Milk contains the calcium that is essential for bone growth, and there’s an exceptionally good reason why mammals begin their life on milk: It contains everything you need to stay alive. So, you should add milk to your diet in some form or another if you aren’t doing so already – and don’t happen to have some kind of intolerance.
(If you do, you can easily replace milk with a replacement such as soy milk). Milk is also the base for many nutritive shakes if you don’t want to use fruit juice or water, and you can make many smoothies with milk that taste as good as they are healthy. Again, if you are lactose intolerant, there are plenty of other healthy options available.
4. Protein shakes
Protein shakes and meal replacement should be an essential part of your diet both if you’re trying to lose weight and if you’re trying to build muscle; there are many different shakes with different ingredients and levels of the good stuff (like, for example, minerals and protein) depending on what you’re taking it for – people who are taking it and have kidney or liver issues might prefer to go with a meal supplement approved by their doctor because protein shakes could be deadly to them instead.
Protein shakes are sometimes bought in a ready-made form, but most often in powdered form and can be turned into a drink by mixing it with water or milk (or more rarely fruit juice).
Protein shakes should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet – and if you aren’t sure, ask your diet professional or doctor to recommend you the right shake and dosage for your individual needs.
There are healthy fats and then there are bad fats: Bad fats are obvious, and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about without us really having to say it.
Bad fats can be found in anything that you’ve deep-fried in oil for too long, and often in take-out and other processed foods. When you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle on your way to an overall healthier lifestyle, you’re looking to include more of the good fats in your overall diet and less of the bad ones.
Olive oil counts as one of the good fats – and you’ll be glad to know, so do avocadoes. The uses for avocadoes are almost endless, from sticking them on a pizza to putting slices of it on your pasta. And you know you’re getting in some of the healthier types of oils and fats that keep your body moving naturally – as it should.
We’re going to assume that you are not a practicing vegetarian or avoiding meat for other dietary or religious reasons – if you are, it’s okay to skip to the next one, though remember that you will have to find some replacement for lost nutrients if you do replace meat entirely in your diet.
For those who do eat meat, beef is an extremely good source of protein – and lean beef is especially healthy if you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle; what’s found in meat are essential components to both. Source your meat responsible, and ensure that your meat never ends up overly processed – yes, this counts when cooking too:
Never overwork minced meat when you’re turning it into a burger, the same reaction that occurs when you massage muscle will occur here, and it’s not the desired effect when you’re cooking. Beef is usually cheap, easy to access and, of course, it’s healthy.
Many people consider cheese to be too rich to include in their diet if they’re watching their weight – or many people cut out cheese-containing meals in their diet entirely because they figure it could contain far too much fat content to be healthy.
Other people are cutting cheese out of their diet because of dietary necessity – the most obvious example is being lactose intolerant, though a less obvious example is being intolerant to mold and having to avoid cheeses such as blue cheese. The good news is that there are many cheeses available if you are lactose intolerant – including goat’s cheese.
The rest of the good news is that cheese can be used sparingly and still add a hell of a lot of flavors to your food: And it contains plenty of muscle-building protein that you need to include in your diet. Also, cheese is very varied – so find the cheese that suits your individual dietary needs.
8. Brown rice
You might have seen images of sumo wrestlers, body-builders and other sportspeople loading up on a lot of rice – both brown and white – when they’re preparing to train, or preparing to go in for a big game:
This is for very good reason, and it’s a secret that could be very useful to your healthy lifestyle and weight loss or muscle build if you decide to make it part of your own diet. Brown rice is exceptionally healthy and filled with carbs – which convert themselves into the good kinds of sugars that your body needs.
After all, you need the energy to be able to burn energy – and for many people a healthy, easy and convenient way to get this energy is with plenty of rice, which generally complement most meals fairly well. If you want to put a different spin on it, you can add other spices and even vegetables to your rice – or crack an egg into warm, fried rice for extra nutrients.
Nuts are an extremely broad term of plants, and by saying nuts we mean all of them – this includes pecan nuts, peanuts, walnuts (yes, those are the ones that kind of resemble brains once you’ve cracked through the outer shell of the nut…).
They’re a great addition to your diet, assuming that you don’t have some kind of nut intolerance. First, most nuts are great as a snack – and you can eat most in roasted form, salted or covered in chocolate or candy exteriors. Nuts are also part of most forms of trail mix, a great snack throughout the day.
Then, you get things like peanut and almond butter (which can be added to shakes), and also nut flours, which are great for baking, especially gluten-free. If you can get nuts in bulk and for cheaply enough, you can put them through a food processor and make your own nut butter at home.
Potatoes are one of the foods that can be credited with saving mankind from famine throughout several points in mankind’s history – and it also happens to luckily be one of the most versatile foods you can find.
You can turn potatoes into steamed potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes; they can become the base for a shepherd’s pie or they can become the base ingredient for a stew or even a soup. You can do anything with potatoes, you can add potatoes to nearly anything – and they are a well-known cure for settling the stomach in an emergency.
Never trust green potatoes – these can make you extremely sick and lead to stomach pain or some worse issues – and never buy potatoes which smell dusty or are overly soft to the touch – in both cases, they’re old. Store potatoes ideally in cold, dark conditions where there’s no moisture. And remember to be conscious of butter, fats, oils, and dressings!