A calorie surplus can help you bulk up, but it can be hard to find foods that help you boost your calorie intake while still maintaining a nutritious diet.
If you’re looking to bulk, here are 10 high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods for a clean bulk without relying on junk.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, or herring are great additions for a clean bulk as they contain a rich source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats that boost calorie intake in a nutritious way.
A 3-ounce serving of wild Atlantic salmon contains 120 calories and 17 grams of protein
Avocados are one of the most nutritionally dense foods available. While they don’t contain a good source of protein, they do contain a hearty dose of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They are also incredibly versatile making them easy to incorporate into many different meals and snacks.
1 large avocado contains roughly 320 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fiber.
3. Peanut butter
Another convenient and nutritious additive to your bulk is peanut butter. This spread contains a rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats along with a good dose of protein per serving.
Easily add it to smoothies or spread it on your favorite whole-grain bread for a calorie boost that will make you feel good.
A 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 190 calories and 8 grams of protein.
We can’t forget about this Mediterranean gem. Hummus is a great source of healthy fats and fiber which adds additional calories while also boosting your nutrient intake.
Add hummus to sauces and salad dressings, or simply enjoy as a dip with your favorite snack to bulk clean and enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean.
A 2-tablespoon serving of hummus contains 70 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.
Everyone loves cheese! While it’s important to consume in moderation due to the high saturated fat content, cheese is quite nutritious as a snack or an add-on to a meal.
Cheese contains a good dose of protein and calcium per serving while also packing on additional calories without having to consume large portions.
A 1-ounce serving of cheddar cheese contains 120 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 180mg of calcium.
6. Greek yogurt
If you are searching for a way to boost both calories and protein without consuming large portions of meat, Greek yogurt is your new BFF.
Loaded with protein, calcium, and probiotics, Greek yogurt is an easy and nutritious addition to a clean bulk. You can also choose full-fat options to further boost your calorie intake if needed.
A 7-ounce container of low-fat Greek yogurt contains 146 calories, 20 grams of protein, and 230 mg of calcium.
7. Whole eggs
Whole eggs provide a good source of both fat and protein in one small portion. Add eggs to your breakfast or keep some on hand hard-boiled for a quick snack during your bulk.
2 medium eggs contain 125 calories and 11 grams of protein.
8. Chia seeds
These tiny powerhouse seeds are rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fats, and fiber. Bonus, they are easy to add to many different foods. Try topping your peanut butter toast with a teaspoon of chia seeds to add more calories and nutrients without huge portions.
A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 138 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber.
9. Olive oil
If you feel like you just can’t stomach any additional food during your bulk, try adding olive oil while cooking. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and provides a good dose of antioxidants by simply drizzling it onto your meals. Try adding it to salad dressings or marinades.
A 1-tablespoon serving of extra-virgin olive oil contains 120 calories and 0 grams of protein.
10. Weight Gainer Protein Shake
If you are still struggling to boost your calorie and protein intake during your bulk, consider a high-quality mass gainer supplement such as our weight gainer protein supplement.
Containing only pure and minimal ingredients, this mass gainer can pack a serious punch for those who have big calorie and protein goals to meet during their bulk. Bonus, it’s clean and convenient.
A 4-scoop serving of Naked Mass contains 1250 calories and 50 grams of protein.
How Many Calories Do I Need to Bulk?
The amount of calories needed during a bulk depends on each individual. It is recommended to increase your calorie intake 10-20% during this time along with 0.7-1 gram of protein per body weight .
To know how many more calories you need, you must first establish your calorie intake for maintaining your current weight. You can find this information by using a simple online calculator such as this one.
For example, if someone weighs 150 pounds and their maintenance calorie intake is 2,000 per day they should aim to consume 200-400 additional calories per day and between 105-150 grams of protein.
Clean Bulk vs Dirty Bulk: What's the Difference?
A clean bulk is when you enter a calorie surplus to gain weight with an emphasis on muscle growth versus fat gain. A clean bulk entails a strategic diet that is low in processed foods and rich in nutrients. While a dirty bulk is when no foods are considered off-limits.
Someone who is doing a dirty bulk will consume an excess of calories without any specific regard to food sources or protein needs which can lead to excess fat gains versus muscle gains.
How Much Protein Do I Need to Pack on Extra Muscle?
When you enter a bulk period, it’s essential to increase both calories and protein. This helps to ensure muscle growth occurs during this time when combined with resistance training.
The current protein recommendations during a bulk are between .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight .
Can I Eat Junk Food When Bulking?
While clean bulking entails an emphasis on clean foods versus processed foods, that doesn’t mean they are completely off-limits.
Junk foods should be limited as much as possible however, there is still room for them to be occasionally included.
How to Optimize Gut Health When Bulking?
Choosing a clean bulk method helps to ensure you are choosing nutrient-rich foods while you gain muscle.
Additionally, a lot of whole foods that are rich sources of calories also contain a good dose of other essential nutrients for gut health, including fiber found in avocados, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes, as well as probiotics in yogurt.
Choosing more of these foods can help ensure you are prioritizing your gut health, along with your overall health, while bulking.
If you are trying to complete a clean bulk, be sure to emphasize nutrient-rich foods, such as fatty fish, avocados, peanut butter, hummus, cheese, greek yogurt, whole eggs, chia seeds, and olive oil while limiting processed foods.
Not only do these foods contain a rich source of calories and protein, but they also contain a hearty dose of essential nutrients to support your overall health.
If you’re still struggling with meeting your calorie and protein needs while doing a clean bulk, consider a high-quality mass gainer supplement such as Naked Mass.