2. LONDON BROIL/TOP ROUND STEAK
Chicken breast may be the quintessential bodybuilding staple, but lean cuts of red meat are loaded with complete protein and pack the most punch when you're trying to pack more beef on your frame.
Buy It: Always purchase London broil that's bright-red in color. If it has even the lightest tint of brown to it, it has started to spoil. Try to find a steak or roast that's at least 1 inch thick with as little visible fat as possible.
Prepare It: Preheat a grill to the highest heat setting. Remove all visible fat and cut the steak or roast into 4-6-ounce individual steaks. Season both sides of meat with salt, pepper and/or a spice rub or marinade. Place on grill and cook 3-6 minutes per side or until cooked to your liking.
Nutrients: A 4-ounce (measured raw) lean top round steak has 138 calories, 24 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0 g fiber.
3. SALMON FILLET
Salmon has the prerequisite protein as well as the added benefits of unsaturated (good) fats. Hardcore lifters are often deficient in fats, because they're so often on super-low-fat diets. Including certain fish in your daily intake is one way to get the fats back -- at least the healthy kind.
Buy It: Atlantic salmon is the variety most commonly found in American grocery stores, and is generally the most affordable. When fresh, it's bright orange in color and doesn't feel slimy or exude an odor. Always choose a thicker cut -- because the tail gets more of a workout when the fish is in the water, the meat near the tail is tougher.
Prepare It: Be sure all bones are removed from the fillet (a "fillet" by definition is boneless, but sometimes a few stray bones don't get removed). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the 4-6-ounce fillet on a baking sheet or pan, seasoned as desired. (To practically eliminate cleanup, line the pan with aluminum foil before adding the salmon, so you can throw the foil out after it cools.) Bake 10-14 minutes or until pink in the center, and the fish flakes with a fork.
Nutrients: A 4-ounce (measured raw) serving has 207 calories, 23 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 0 g fiber.