1. EGG WHITES
Nutrients: 99 calories, 21 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber.
Show us a bodybuilder without egg whites in his diet, and we’ll show you someone who’s missing out on the best protein money can buy. Paired with oatmeal, an egg-white omelet can turn your breakfast into a power meal to fuel the rest of your day.
2. LONDON BROIL/TOP ROUND STEAK
Nutrients: A 4-ounce (measured raw) lean top round steak has 138 calories, 24 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0 g fiber.
Chicken breast may be the quintessential bodybuilding staple, but lean cuts of red meat are loaded with complete protein and pack the most punch when you’re trying to pack more beef on your frame.
3. SALMON FILLET
Nutrients: A 4-ounce (measured raw) serving has 207 calories, 23 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 0 g fiber.
Salmon has the prerequisite protein as well as the added benefits of unsaturated (good) fats. Hardcore lifters are often deficient in fats, because they’re so often on super-low-fat diets. Including certain fish in your daily intake is one way to get the fats back — at least the healthy kind.
4. CHICKEN BREAST
Nutrients: A 6-ounce (weighed raw) breast has 205 calories, 38 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0 g fiber.
High in protein and ultra-low in fat, the bird’s unoffending taste makes it palatable for most everyone.
5. SWEET POTATO
Nutrients: An 8-ounce sweet potato has 240 calories, 4 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 7 g fiber.
A buff body isn’t built by protein alone. Carbohydrates provide energy you need to work hard and play hard. Sweet potatoes provide that oomph without overdosing your system with simple, fast-acting carbs. They’re often used pre-contest by bodybuilders looking to fill out depleted muscles, but even if you’re not getting ready for the stage, they’re an excellent part of any dieting or mass-gaining strategy.
6. PORK TENDERLOIN
Nutrients: A 4-ounce serving has 136 calories, 24 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0 g fiber.
Pork is often shunned by diet purists, and what a shame. Not only is it more flavorful than chicken, but some cuts are almost as low in fat while still boasting the requisite protein power. Pork tenderloin is the filet mignon of pork — it’s the most tender, as well as the leanest portion, of the meat.
Nutrients: A 4-ounce serving has 27 calories, 3 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, less than 1 g fat, 2 g fiber.
Asparagus? Seriously, if you want to grow, your mom was right — you need veggies. When it comes to greens, you have plenty of great choices. Broccoli and spinach are other highly recommended options, but we picked asparagus for its water-leaching quality. Top bodybuilders turn to asparagus as a meal when it comes down to precontest crunch time and they need to get extra-tight for the stage.