Protein powders and supplements are not needed to build muscle. In fact, all you need for muscle growth is a balanced diet and exercise. So, what should you do to make sure your body has the right fuel for the job?
Carbs and Fat
While protein is important for muscle building, it’s not the only nutrient you need! Exercise is needed for muscle growth and carbs and fat provide most of the energy used for your workout. Healthy foods for carbs are whole-grain breads or pastas, beans, potatoes and fresh fruit. Healthy foods for fat are avocados, nuts, fish and vegetable oils.
Eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods.
If you’re an athlete, you may need more protein than someone who doesn’t exercise. However, protein powders aren’t required and extra protein beyond what you need won’t make your muscles bigger! A well-balanced diet with healthy choices provides plenty of protein. This means you should focus on eating foods from all the food groups, which includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein.
Try these healthy, food sources of protein:
- Grilled and baked meats like fish, chicken, turkey or lean beef.
- Nuts like almonds, cashews or walnuts.
- Legumes like black beans, peanuts or green peas.
- Low-fat dairy like 1% milk or low-fat yogurt.
For more information, contact the Teen Health Center about nutrition counseling with a dietitian or check out these resources: