Best Bodybuilding Foods

The greatest performance diets may seem complicated and fancy, but they are all built on a foundation of basic principles and simple foods. Eat the right ones, and your body will respond accordingly. If your current regimen doesn't include the following body-builders, beeline to the grocery store and stock up on them, stat. Bonus: They're also all pretty delicious.

SWEET POTATO 


A buff body isn't built by protein alone. Carbohydrates provide energy you need to work hard and play hard. Sweet potatoes provide that oomph without overdosing your system with simple, fast-acting carbs. They're often used precontest by bodybuilders looking to fill out depleted muscles, but even if you're not getting ready for the stage, they're an excellent part of any dieting or mass-gaining strategy.

Sweet potatoes. come in two varieties: the white kind are like regular baking potatoes; the dark ones have a dark skin and orange flesh and are packed with nutrients. When choosing a sweet potato, make sure it has a smooth, firm skin with no bruises or blemishes. Stick with smaller or medium-sized sweet potatoes, which tend to taste better than jumbo ones.

Prepare It: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scrub the potato under cold water using a veggie brush, making sure to remove all dirt. Pat it dry, then prick it 5-6 times all over with a fork. Place directly on a lower oven rack and bake about one hour (for an 8-12-ounce potato), or until it's soft when pierced with a fork.

Nutrients: An 8-ounce sweet potato has 240 calories, 4 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 7 g fiber.

ASPARAGUS 


Asparagus? Seriously, if you want to grow, your mom was right -- you need veggies. When it comes to greens, you have plenty of great choices. Broccoli and spinach are other highly recommended options, but we picked asparagus for its water-leaching quality. Top bodybuilders turn to asparagus as a meal when it comes down to precontest crunch time and they need to get extra-tight for the stage.
Prepare It: Trim the base of each stalk. If you've chosen thick stalks with tough skin, it's best to peel the base end with a vegetable peeler. Lay a spear flat, then, starting about halfway between the tip and base, peel to the end of the base. Rotate the spear and continue to peel the lower half until all sides are peeled and the base is about the same thickness as the tip. Select a pan wide enough to lay the spears flat, add 1 inch of water and a pinch of salt, and place over high heat until water boils. Add asparagus so that the tips all face the same end. Boil 3-4 minutes for thin spears (4-6 minutes for thicker ones), or until spears are just crisp and tender. Remove and serve hot.

Nutrients: A 4-ounce serving has 27 calories, 3 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, less than 1 g fat, 2 g fiber. 

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