Did you ever get frustrated going into a nutrition store in search of the right blend of supplements that will lean you out and build muscle as well? I’ve got good news for you!  There are many foods that you’re already familiar with that can do all these things and more. Here are my top six protein-packed affordable and delicious foods and why you need them in your nutritional plan.

Don’t believe all the bad press about eating meat. Lean beef is a rich source of protein needed if you are building muscle. Beef is rich in iron and zinc, two essential muscle building minerals. Plus, it is a great source of creatine which is an important precursor to ATP a chemical in the body that is responsible for every muscle contraction.

There’s nothing “fishy” about fresh cold- water salmon. It’s simply up to the gills in quality protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to keeping your cholesterol levels in check, these good fats help slow protein breakdown after a grueling workout. This is important, because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old protein stores.

Yogurt is not just for breakfast. It is a perfect pre-or-post workout snack because it contains an excellent combination of protein (to build muscle) and carbohydrates (the energy you need to pump up). Yogurt also contains linoleic acid, a special good fat that supposedly makes your body store less bad fat!

Hard boiled, scrambled or in a quiche, eggs are simply delicious and oh so good for you.! Eggs are the most perfect protein available. A few eggs a day will keep you fit and healthy because they are packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B12, B6, D and E and iron, phosphorus and zinc. And don’t be afraid to eat the yolk because these are especially rich in B12, a vitamin which breaks down fats and helps fuel muscle contractions.

Oil up and flex those muscles. Olive oil could be called the elixir of the gods. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil acts as a sort of free radical fighting against muscle breakdown and wasting which comes with overtraining, illness and other forms of stress. Olive oil is also rich in Vitamin E, a fabulous anti-aging agent all its own. Olive oil and other monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

A couple of handfuls of almonds a day won’t make you nutty or fat. They make a perfect, handy snack at any time. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a perfect anti-oxidant that will help workout recovery. This vitamin, when consumed in foods like almonds, eggs, and leafy vegetables has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in men. Don’t forget it!

Photo by Kafeel Ahmed from Pexels