Many fit guys look at food and see one thing: protein count. And in a way, that makes sense—your muscles need protein to build and deliver those gains you’ve been sweating so hard for.
But truly fit fellas know not to underestimate the micronutrients packed in produce and grains. Vitamins and minerals not only help your internal systems function properly, but also help keep inflammation down and your health status up—powering you through workouts and life. Even those foods with a paltry protein count—veggies, clean carbs, healthy fats—should still be part of your fat-burning, muscle-building diet.
So we asked nutritionists to weigh in on 100—yes, 100—of the healthiest foods a guy can eat, and then ranked them according to their protein content. We’ve highlighted the ones that will help you build muscle mass fast, and which you should still nosh on to score a full-body boost.
Our methodology: We asked a team of expert nutritionists to compare foods based on each food’s typical serving size, rather than a standardized quantity. We did this because it’s a better reflection of how guys actually eat in the real world. For example: You might sit down and eat a single chicken breast in one sitting, but you’re (probably) only going to eat a handful of almonds at the same meal. (That’s why you’ll see a bigger portion listed for certain foods—5 oz of salmon vs 8oz for pork chops, for example.)
From there, we ranked the foods according to the absolute amount of protein in each serving, so you’re getting a guide to the most protein you could expect to eat in a normal meal.
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