Building Lean Muscle, Part 10 of 10: Quick and Easy Go-To Meals

Editor's Note: We've reached the conclusion of our insanely popular series on eating to build muscle, by Georgia Tech strength coach and sports nutritionist extraordinaire, Mike Bewley. Today's post features Mike's favorite options for easy, healthy, protein-packed meals, and the go-to recipes to store in your muscle-building arsenal. If you're just tuning in, go back to Part 1 and start reading from there. Mike's succinct articles make for easy reading, and if you want to learn the best way to gain muscle safely through good nutrition habits, he wrote the quintessential text in this 10-part series.

Quick and Easy Muscle-Building Meals

If you're reading this, congratulations! You've made it to the final installment of my series on building lean muscle. If you've read my other articles, you know the basics: how to asses your diet, how to determine the correct caloric intake for your goals, how to grocery shop to build muscle, how to choose good sources of macronutrients, and more. The last step in making your muscle-building diet successful? You need to come up with some go-to meals that will instantly add more calories to your day and keep your taste buds satisfied.

One mistake that some athletes wanting to find the fastest way to build muscle make is simply relying on the same meals over and over again. They eat so many grilled chicken and brown rice meals that pretty soon, even the thought of a grilled chicken breast is enough to make them lose their appetite.

It’s hard enough getting down all the calories you need, so you definitely don’t want your food choices—or lack thereof—working against you.

Let’s go over some quick and easy meals that you should add to your diet so that you can make eating for safe weight gain a real habit.

1. Salmon Burger

Salmon burgers work perfectly for those who are looking for the easy way to gain muscle because they satisfy any burger craving in a hurry and will provide you with not only lean protein, but healthy omega fats as well.

To prepare your salmon burgers, combine together canned salmon with some dried oats along with a few egg whites. Then cook regularly as you would a typical burger, adding whatever sauce you prefer. Serve this with a whole wheat bun and you’ll be all set. Or, if you want to up your carb intake even further on your diet to gain muscle, consider serving it on a bagel instead.


2. Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap

Next, a PB and banana wrap is the perfect snack to have midday to keep your calorie intake up and your body well-fed. It's a great go-to option because the ingredients are simple and the wrap is easy to make and pack away for eating later in the day. Smear a few tablespoons of natural peanut butter over a 100% whole-wheat wrap and then top with a sliced banana. Roll up and serve. This is so easy to transport with you wherever you happen to be going, so makes for a great school snack as well, for those of you balancing academics and athletics. 


3. Homemade Power-Packed Protein Balls

If you want to get busy in the kitchen, you can create your own high-calorie protein balls that will serve your body well with a balanced mix of nutrients. These are the perfect addition to any diet to put on muscle and are fast and easy to make.

Simply combine one cup of dry oats, three scoops of whey protein powder, half a cup of natural peanut butter, and a quarter cup of honey to get everything sticking together. Roll into bite sized balls and then store in a Tupperware container. With this snack on your side, you will never be without energy throughout the day. They're so easy to make and store that you are out of excuses when it comes to healthy snacks.


4. Oatmeal: Breakfast of Champions

Finally, you must remember to start your day off right in your muscle-building diet, so prepare this breakfast of champions for yourself every morning.

Put half a cup of dry oats into a bowl and then top it with a few tablespoons each of raisins, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. Then add in two tablespoons of peanut butter and a small handful of granola for some added crunch. Mix together and the pour over some skim milk before serving. This breakfast is packed with healthy calories and lots of nutrients, and it really is a great meal to add to your muscle-building arsenal.


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Mike Bewley, MA, CSCS, C-SPN, USAW-I is a guest contributor to the Volt blog. He is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Clemson University, a specalist in sports nutrition, and the founder of online nutrition platform NutraCarina.