3 Healthy Bulking Foods for Hardgainers

The bodybuilding bulking process doesn't have to be unhealthy. These three foods can add plenty of daily calories to your bulking diet, without costing an arm and a leg.

Let me guess…no matter what you do, you can’t seem to gain weight. You’ve tried different bodybuilding diet plans, and the scale doesn’t move. You keep receiving the same advice: eat more!

But how do you eat more? Do you turn to junk food, and start cramming nacho cheese chips and ice cream down your throat? Or do you just eat more tuna, chicken breasts and rice?

Bulking doesn’t have to be a riddle.

There are basic, healthy foods that you can find at any grocery store that will help you grow. And the best part? You don’t have to feel bloated all day!

3 Bulking Foods

Adding Healthy, Calorie Dense Foods

The key to adding healthy calories to you diet is to find calorie dense foods. And you don’t have to look in the darkest corners of a health food store to find them.

Food Choice #1 - Almonds

Have you ever taken a peak at the nutrition label on a jar of almonds? One ounce of almonds has 162 calories, and one cup of whole almonds contains a whopping 822 calories.

Think about this for a moment. You can eat slightly over a single cup of almonds, not feel full, and add nearly 1,000 calories to your diet each day. That’s an incredible amount of healthy calories for such a small portion of food.

One cup of almonds also contains 30 grams of protein, and is rich in iron and calcium. I’ll bet you weren’t aware of that.

Food Choice #2 - Whole Milk

Whole milk has been a bodybuilding staple for over 50 years. In fact, whole milk is so popular as a weight gainer that entire workout routines have been based around its consumption. These routines are referred to as squats and milk programs.

Odds are your mother never stocked the refrigerator with whole milk. The fat content in whole milk is enough to scare away any weight conscious 30-something. But fear not, whole milk is healthy and good for you. Especially if you have a problem gaining weight.

One cup of whole milk provides 150 additional calories. It also contains 8 grams of protein, and is vitamin rich.

Food Choice #3 - Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is not only calorie dense and good for you, but it’s also a tasty snack food that satisfies your sweet tooth.

One ounce of dark chocolate has 153 calories, and is rich in iron. By adding 4 small, one ounce portions of dark chocolate to your daily diet, you are getting an extra 600 calories per day. This is a much better alternative to eating candy bars or vending machine snacks.

Always keep a bar of dark chocolate around. It will help you battle sugar cravings.

HardgainerThe Meal Plan

So you’ve just returned from the store, spent a meager $10, and are ready to eat. Before you start pounding almonds and dark chocolate, and washing them down with whole milk…let’s develop a meal plan.

For this plan, I am assuming that you workout in the late afternoon, possibly after work or after class. Your first goal will be to plan 3 protein rich, balanced meals. This shouldn’t be too difficult. If you have any questions, call your mother for suggestions!

You will eat these meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure you are eating enough at these feedings, but don’t stuff yourself.

For breakfast, your staple foods should be oatmeal, bagels with cream cheese, butter or peanut butter, eggs, banana, and/or peanut butter toast. At lunch and dinner, eat normal. Make sure you are getting enough veggies in your diet.

Here is a sample meal plan:

Breakfast (7 am)
  • Oatmeal (1 cup) w/peanut butter (1 ounce)
  • Banana (1 large)
  • 3 scrambled eggs (large) w/pepper jack cheese (1 ounce)
  • 745 calories, 37 grams of protein
Morning Snack (9:30 am)
  • Whole Milk (2 cups) w/1 scoop pure whey protein isolate
  • Almonds (1 ounce)
  • 563 calories, 46 grams of protein
Lunch (noon)
  • Quinoa (1 cup) w/salsa (to taste)
  • Chunk Chicken Breast (8 ounces)
  • Broccoli (1 cup cooked)
  • 541 calories, 57 grams of protein
Afternoon Snack (2:30 pm)
  • Whole Milk (2 cups) w/1 scoop pure whey protein isolate
  • Almonds (1 ounce)
  • 563 calories, 46 grams of protein
Dinner (5:30 pm)
  • Dinner in this example is eaten post-workout. I recommend eating instinctively. Try to eat 1000 calories, which includes vegetables, some form of complex carbohydrates, and at least 30 grams of protein.
  • 1000 calories, 40 grams of protein
Evening Snack (8 pm)

Meal Plan Overview

Your largest meal of the day should be post-workout. If you need to add additional calories to your daily diet, it is wise to add them here.

By adding these 3 healthy bulking foods to your diet, and following the basic meal plan as outlined above, you can expect to take in over 4,000 daily calories (with a pre-workout NO drink) and 260 grams of muscle building protein.

Bulking doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to be limited to almonds, dark chocolate and whole milk. You have an entire grocery store of possibilities. Take some time and explore the aisles. Get to know the labels of popular, healthy foods.