12 Best Bulking Snacks For Bodybuilding In A Natural Way

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

If you’re looking to build muscle mass and bulk up, then you must consume enough calories.

Muscles need fuel to grow, and that fuel comes from the calories you eat.

Consuming calorie-dense food can help with this, as can eating more healthy fats.

Healthy fats are crucial for the maintenance of good health and are also believed to increase muscle protein synthesis – the process in which your body builds muscle.

Choose foods that contain healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and natural oils as part of your bulking diet.

When choosing the best bulking snack for bodybuilding it is important that you understand which macros are beneficial and each contains different calories.

For example, 1g protein contains 4 kcal, carbohydrates contain 4 kcals and fats contain 9 kcals in a gram.

For athletes as well as people who want to bulk their body, it is required that besides gyming they are intaking enough calories as nutrition plays a very key role in this.

Below we have mentioned a few foods which are rich in enough nutrition to help you in achieving your goal.

  1. Cottage Cheese

    Most people who want to bulk their body consume it at night before going to bed as it helps in muscle gain and is rich in protein.

    You can have it in your diet in a variety of ways like adding in salads, inside with scrambled eggs, making toast or sandwiches, baking them half and making rolls, etc.

    You can also show creativity according to your taste with it.

  2. Eggs

    There are around 70-90 calories in an egg, people consume eggs for weight loss after removing egg yolk but they can also be taken for bodybuilding.

    That’s because they are rich sources of protein and for this, you can even eat the yolk part.

    Studies[1] have shown that whole eggs could give you better muscle-building results.

    Besides this, the cholesterol in eggs is also healthy unless you are having more than 15-20 eggs a day there should not be any problem.

    You can enjoy eggs in different forms like making scrambled eggs, omelets, egg curry, boiling them, and then frying them with veggies, etc.

  3. Protein Powder

    For athletes and gym-going people looking to build their bodies protein powder comes as a convenient source of protein for them.

    It is recommended[2] to them to have a protein shake after their workout session but it can also be taken in different other forms throughout the day.

    In the morning you can make protein pancakes by adding protein powder to the pancake flour or adding the powder to smoothies with fruits.

    One scoop of protein powder is around 32 g and contains around 113 calories which also varies with different protein powders.

  4. Banana

    Bananas could be a good choice[3] as snacks and fruit for gaining body weight.

    Due to the high calories in it, mostly gym people like to consume them in the morning.

    They are not only full of nutrients but also carbohydrates and calories.

    A medium-sized banana contains around 105 calories, 27g carbs, and 1g protein.

    They are mostly taken as on-the-go snacks and could be taken in different forms like oatmeal, in smoothies, or in desserts like cutting them into pieces and having them with melted dark chocolate and berries.

  5. Yogurt

    If you can get greek yogurt than the regular variety it is good as it is much richer in protein[4] and contains probiotics which boost the gut bacteria.

    It is also rich in Vitamin D, amino acids, and Calcium.

    Try to avoid flavored yogurts sold in the market as they contain added sugar and preservatives.

    You can also enjoy yogurt on the sides of your meal, adding it to smoothies, making smoothies by adding protein powder in it, etc.

  6. Whole Grain Bread

    Whole grain bread contains carbohydrates and fibers and can be consumed with any dish and at any time of the day.

    Always look for ingredients before purchase as per serving there should be 3g of fiber.

    You can enjoy your bread in the morning with eggs, and peanut butter, toast them and have it on the side of milk, and many more.

    The body reserves the energy gained from carbohydrates for a long period and could be a good source of quick energy.

    Having whole-grain bread in the morning as breakfast could increase[5] the satiety feeling.

    Try to combine protein by adding peanut butter or some fruits to maintain the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your meal.

  7. Potatoes

    Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and potassium, which can be stored for quick energy[6] and hydrate the body during a workout.

    Potatoes come in different forms in the market as snacks like chips, fries, etc., but try to have a natural source of potatoes as these are unhealthy and contain trans fat.

    You can make some potato curry or boil them and make mashed potatoes with some toppings.

    One potato contains around 17g of carbohydrates.

  8. Dried Fruits

    They are rich in natural carbohydrates, antioxidants, nutrients, and calories.

    They have natural sugar which helps in gaining weight.

    Due to their small size and different taste of deliciousness, they are convenient for snacking.

    In some sweet dishes, you can also add them in garnishing.

    Dried fruits you can consume for gaining weight are peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.

    One small handful of dry fruits can give you around more than 200 calories.

  9. Dark Chocolate

    These are combinations of sugar, fat, and cocoa and are rich in vitamins, and antioxidants and can help you with your sugar cravings.

    Sugar is mostly added to balance the cocoa bitterness, that’s why these come with different percentages of cocoa content to determine the darkness of chocolate in the market.

    These are also observed to be good[7] for health and could decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

    One ounce of chocolate can give you 150 calories.

    To increase more calories in your meal you can make a mix of banana, peanut butter, and melted dark chocolate.

  10. Smoothies

    Smoothies can be a great source of nutrients as you can make them however you like to have them with.

    As already mentioned above you can make smoothies using protein powder.

    You can also make smoothies using bananas, nuts, milk, and chocolates.

    These not only give you a package[8] full of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, etc but also make a proper meal in itself and are convenient to have.

  11. Protein Bars

    Protein Bars are a great snack sold in the market as their sole purpose is to give you energy after workout sessions.

    They come in different flavors and also have chocolate in them to give sweetness.

    You can check your protein bar ingredients section to know how many calories it has, typically a standard size protein bar contains around 410 calories.

    To make a meal or to feel full you can also have some berries with your protein bar.

  12. Milk

    Each cup of milk contains around 8g of protein and can be used in many snacking dishes like smoothies, shakes, pancakes, etc.

    Most people prefer to have milk at night before sleep, this not only improves the metabolism but also helps with the digestion of food in the body.

    The nutrient composition[9] of milk including Vitamin D makes it good for muscles and bones.

    Having milk after a workout helps in muscle growth by increasing the efficiency of the body to use amino acids for protein synthesis.

How Many Calories Are Required In A Day?

In the bulking phase[10], bodybuilders try to increase their muscle mass hence ample amount of consumption of calories is required.

If in a week after changing your diet your body is not gaining any weight then you are required to increase the number of calories you are taking by having more food.

If you track your calorie intake then you can increase it by 15% and then observe your change in weight and change accordingly.

It requires a month at least to see visible results do not rush it by overeating. Typically a body gains about 0.5-1 kg in a week.

While focusing on weight gain, the energy for your body should mainly come from carbohydrates (40-60%) and the rest half of your diet should include protein (15-35%) and fats (20-30%).

Things To Avoid

If you are exercising or going to the gym for bodybuilding then you might need to avoid the following foods-

  • Try to avoid alcohol as it can affect muscle growth, and can increase fat if consumed in excess.
  • Avoid having deep-fried food as it might be oily and can contain unhealthy fat which might give your body unwanted bulkiness.
  • Avoid having added sugar products and preserved food, for a good healthy body try to have less sugar and fresh food.
  • Cream, butter, heavy fat meats, diet soda, etc.

Conclusion

If weight loss is difficult then weight gain is also difficult for some people, one should be patient while trying to build their body as it does not happen overnight.

Bodybuilding is not always about taking proteins, but carbohydrates are also essential with fats, the ratio of intaking them should be maintained.

The aim should be to increase around 500-1000 calories more than your previous diet and not much more.

Sources

  1. Stephan van Vliet, Evan L Shy, Sidney Abou Sawan et al. Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men Am J Clin Nutr
    . 2017 Dec;106(6):1401-1412. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.159855. Epub 2017 Oct 4. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28978542/
  2. Anna Kårlund, Carlos Gómez-Gallego, Anu M. Turpeinen, et al. Protein Supplements and Their Relation with Nutrition, Microbiota Composition and Health: Is More Protein Always Better for Sportspeople? Nutrients. 2019 Apr; 11(4): 829. Published online 2019 Apr 12. doi: 10.3390/nu11040829
  3. Jorge L. Ble-Castillo, María A. Aparicio-Trápala, Mateo U. Francisco-Luria et al. Effects of Native Banana Starch Supplementation on Body Weight and Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Type 2 Diabetics Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 May; 7(5): 1953–1962. Published online 2010 Apr 28. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7051953
  4. Carmen Sayon-Orea, Miguel A Martínez-González, Miguel Ruiz-Canela el at. Associations between Yogurt Consumption and Weight Gain and Risk of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review Adv Nutr. 2017 Jan; 8(1): 146S–154S. Published online 2017 Jan 11. doi: 10.3945/an.115.011536
  5. Mette Kristensen, Morten G Jensen, Giancarlo Riboldi et al. Wholegrain vs. refined wheat bread and pasta. Effect on postprandial glycemia, appetite, and subsequent ad libitum energy intake in young healthy adults Appetite. 2010 Feb;54(1):163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Oct 27. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19837118/
  6. Janet C. King, and Joanne L. Slavin White Potatoes, Human Health, and Dietary Guidance Adv Nutr. 2013 May; 4(3): 393S–401S. Published online 2013 May 6. doi: 10.3945/an.112.003525
  7. Monica Galleano, Ph. D., Patricia I. Oteiza, Ph. D., and Cesar G. Fraga, Ph.D. Cocoa, chocolate and cardiovascular disease J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2009 Dec; 54(6): 483–490. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e3181b76787
  8. Peter J. Rogers and Roya Shahrokni A Comparison of the Satiety Effects of a Fruit Smoothie, Its Fresh Fruit Equivalent and Other Drinks Nutrients. 2018 Apr; 10(4): 431. Published online 2018 Mar 30. doi: 10.3390/nu10040431
  9. Eric R Helms, Alan A Aragon, and Peter J Fitschen Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014; 11: 20. Published online 2014 May 12. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
  10. Juma Iraki, Peter Fitschen, Sergio Espinar, et al. Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review Sports (Basel). 2019 Jul; 7(7): 154. Published online 2019 Jun 26. doi: 10.3390/sports7070154