26 Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

16. Scallops

Like shrimp, tilapia and lean poultry, scallops provide protein with very little fat.

If you are looking to add protein to your diet without consuming too many calories, these very lean sources may be good choices.

Three ounces (85 grams) of scallops provide around 20 grams of protein and fewer than 100 calories (44).

17. Lean Jerky

At times, you may want high-quality protein from meat when you’re on the go. If so, lean jerky meats may be an option to consider.

Many different types of meat can be made into jerky, so the nutrition facts vary.

However, most fat is removed from lean jerky during processing, so almost all calories in jerky come directly from protein.

These animal sources of protein are high in quality and stimulate muscle growth .

18. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good source of both carbs and protein.

Each 1-cup (240-gram) serving of canned chickpeas contains around 12 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbs, including 10 grams of fiber (46).

As with many plants, the protein in chickpeas is considered lower quality than animal sources. However, it can still be part of a balanced muscle-building diet .

19. Peanuts

Peanuts contain a mix of protein, fat and carbs. A half-cup (73-gram) serving contains 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and large amounts of unsaturated fat (47).

They also contain higher amounts of the amino acid leucine than many other plant products.

Each half-cup (73-gram) serving of peanuts contains around 425 calories (47).

So if you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to drive your muscle gain, eating peanuts could be a good way to get some extra calories and nutrients.

Additionally, nuts are thought to play an important role in an overall healthy diet .

20. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a seed that can be ground into flour and used in place of traditional flours.

Half a cup (60 grams) of buckwheat flour contains around 8 grams of protein, along with plenty of fiber and other carbs (49).

Buckwheat has become a very popular health food due to its impressive vitamin and mineral content.

It contains high amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus (49).

These vitamins and minerals can help your body stay healthy and able to perform muscle-building exercises (14).

21. Tofu

Tofu is produced from soy milk and often used as a meat substitute.

Each half-cup (124-gram) serving of raw tofu contains 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbohydrates (50).

Tofu is also a good source of calcium, which is important for proper muscle function and bone health (51).

Soy protein, found in foods like tofu and soybeans, is considered one of the highest-quality plant proteins .

For all these reasons, foods containing soy protein are great options for vegans and vegetarians.