Oh it is the season to be jolly! …. Christmas? No, not yet… even better, BULKING SEASON! After dieting and getting lean all summer it’s now time to stop starving and start eating! But where should you start?
If you haven’t already read our introductory hardgainers guide and beginner hardgainer diet articles check them out! If you’re already one step ahead, then make sure these top 10 foods for bulking are part of your diet!
1.Whole Milk and Cottage Cheese
Previously you may have been avoiding dairy – especially if you’ve been cutting and trying to get shredded, but whole milk is a great way to stock up on calcium and add extra fat and calories to your diet, with around 150calories per glass! Consuming cottage cheese and whole milk provides a good source of protein to help build muscle, whilst the fat, carbohydrate and lactose helps restore muscle glycogen stores and maximise your muscle building potential. Try consuming whole milk with your post workout protein shake or enjoy a pot of cottage cheese before bed (My personal favourite is cottage cheese with nuts and a scoop of chocolate nut impact whey protein!)
2.Nuts and Nut butters
It’s time to get nuts about nuts! I’m sure you already know nuts are energy dense and full of healthy mono unsaturated fats… it’s for this reason that nuts and nut butters are perfect for bulking! Small servings of nuts can provide a large amount of calories in addition to protein and fat- with up to 300 calories per 50g! What’s more, nuts and nut butters are packed full of essential micronutrients and minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc! All of which are essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy nutritional status and building muscle mass. So why not try snacking on a handful of nuts when the hunger pains kick in- or for the ultimate snack cover a banana in peanut butter. Delicious!
Keeping in the theme of healthy fats, salmon and other sources of fatty fish should definitely be part of your bulking diet. In fact, eating at LEAST one portion of fatty fish a week is recommended by the government for the general UK population. Salmon is full of MUFA- mono unsaturated fatty acids which are super healthy and great for clean bulking! In addition to this, the large dose of omega 3 we get from fatty fish can help improve joint care and cardiovascular health! During intense training try and consume at least 3-4 servings of fatty fish per week!
Do you feel like superman? Not yet but maybe after you’ve stocked up on this super fruit! Avocados contain mono unsaturated fats such as oleic acid which are perfect for adding healthy calories and fat to your diet. Apart from adding a healthy source of calories to your diet, eating avocado during bulking season also means you’ll be consuming a high amount of antioxidants and vitamins including vitamin E – helping to improve cardiovascular health and your overall well being. So why not try mashed avocado on rice crackers, in a salad or even better in homemade chocolate protein pudding and protein truffles!
If you’ve been binning the egg yolks- STOP! Whole eggs are great for getting a good source of protein and fat with around 75 calories per egg! Many people consider eggs to be unhealthy due to their saturated fat content and high cholesterol- but did you know eggs are high in healthy cholesterol? And unless you’re eating 12 eggs a day the saturated fat content shouldn’t be a problem! Get in a good source of fat and protein by making a whole egg omelette or some delicious scrambled egg!
When it comes to getting the perfect physique lean sources of protein are most people’s number one choice- with many individuals lowering their intake of red meat. But consuming red meat is great for bulking for tons of reasons! For example, red meat is a high source of fat and protein, which when consumed regularly can help the growth of muscle mass. What’s more red meat is high in heme iron! There are two types of iron generally consumed in the diet- heme iron and non- heme iron- whereby the absorption of these two types of iron differs significantly in the body. For example, the absorption of non- heme iron is largely effected by other dietary factors and foods- the absorption of heme iron however is unaffected by other foods in the diet. Getting an adequate amount of iron is essential when building muscle and training hard, so why not try a delicious steak for your next meal.
7.Coconut and Olive Oil
When adding fat to your diet coconut and olive oils are great to add to your diet. Making small changes such as using more coconut and olive oil in cooking and meal prep is a great way to add healthy fats and extra calories to your diet- without leaving you so full you want to burst!
When it comes to bulking- most people think protein, protein and fat- but really guys, carbohydrates are an absolute must! So forget cutting carbs to a minimum, now is the time to enjoy your meat and potatoes! Sweet potatoes are jam packed full of carbohydrates with the average potato providing around 40g of carbs and tons of vitamins and minerals! What’s more, if you’re doing a clean bulk and avoiding refined sugar, sweet potato is great for satisfying a sweet tooth and can be incorporated into tons of protein recipes- such as this sweet potato protein brownie recipe! Try adding a portion of sweet potato to your meals and reap the bulking benefits!
Oats are another great source of complex carbohydrates that can really give you a helping hand during bulking season. Oats are an amazing source of fibre and complex carbohydrates that can not only aid digestion but more importantly provide a sustained release of energy- perfect for a pre workout meal. In addition to this oats can add a healthy source of fat and calories to your diet without leaving you feeling too full.
Last but not least- the sweet sin. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is a great way to fix your sugar cravings! What’s more chocolate with over 75% cocoa content is full of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats! For the ultimate bulking treat- try a banana covered in peanut butter and dark chocolate!