Top 5 Meal Planning Tips for Muscle Gain
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What to eat and when to eat when you are trying to gain muscle 

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Feeling strong and powerful in your own body is a feeling unmatched in my opinion! I love the feeling of achieving big lifts and being able to move my body in new ways that I had once thought impossible. Part of why these accomplishments feel so good is that they can take time to achieve, so the pay off is extra sweet. (For me, it was the elusive pull up with my extra long arms!) 

When you are looking to put on muscle mass, there are several things to keep in mind. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily as easy as most of us would like.  

1. Eat enough food 

When you do eat, try to eat to fullness! Not to stuffed or to make yourself feel sick, but you should feel full at the end of each meal and snacks too if you can.  

Tip – Add a scoop or small portion more to each part of your meal.  

This may mean an extra couple bites at each meal, an extra scoop of mashed potatoes, or packing a sandwich and a half instead of just a sandwich.  

2. Eat often enough 

For many people, it is hard to simply eat more in each meal. Instead, we work on the frequency of eating to help increase the total amount of food consumed.  

Tip – If you normally eat three times a day, try eating 4 or 5 times a day instead.  

 It may be really helpful to set a schedule at first because your hunger cues will not trigger you to eat often enough until this becomes a consistent pattern.  

3. Balance the intake – more than just protein  

When it comes to gaining muscle, most people remember the protein. However, don’t forget about the other nutrients! We need to have carbohydrates and fats coming in too in order to build the muscle mass that we want!  

Tip – Look for a source of carbohydrate, protein, and fats in all meals.  

So instead of just eating extra chicken or taking a protein shake, add more of the chicken, pasta, and sauce in your meals or make a smoothie with your protein, fruit, and peanut butter or ground flax or chia seeds. 

4. Get colorful in creative ways (cooked, smoothie, juices) 

Often when you are first trying to eat more, you may find fruits and vegetables to be super filling and can be a limiting factor in how much a person can eat because of their higher fibre content. However, there are some strategies we can try to help still get in those very important vitamins and minerals for muscle growth.  

Tips – eat your fruits and veggies in a lower volume way  

Try cooking vegetables instead of eating them raw as these are often tolerated better when we are working to eat more.  

Blend vegetables and fruits into soups, smoothies, and sauces so that they take up less space.  

Include fruit and vegetable juices into your meals and snacks. 

5. Rest and Recover  

Your muscles and strength will not grow if you do not recover adequately. This means taking rest days off of working out and ensuring you get enough sleep and downtime to allow for the repair from the work you put in.  

Tip – Schedule in your rest days ahead of time And check in with how your body is feeling.  

There will be times when taking an extra day away from the gym is more effective in achieving your goals than working out when your body is exhausted or rundown.  

Before you look at adding supplements for muscle gain, make sure you have done your due diligence using your nutrition strategies first. This will help ensure that you have all steps in place to give you the best chance of achieving your goal.  

If you have any questions about how to implement these strategies in a way that works for you, your lifestyle and your taste preferences or would like more concrete meal plans for muscle gain, reach out to us at Health Stand Nutrition.  

Interested in seeing a difference from your workouts and diet? Want more structured meal plans for muscle gain? We’re here to help!

If you are looking for tips on muscle gain, exercise diet and just feeling good in general and creating sustainable habits that fit into everyday life, we can help. We have several sports nutrition dietitians that are experienced with diet for muscle gain.

Don’t forget to check your health insurance! Many insurance plans cover Dietitian services. 

Check out these related blogs on our website:  

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Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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