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Best Bulking Foods For Skinny Guys (With Dish Examples)

While most of the world is going crazy about low-fat, low-carb and low-calorie foods, there are people who want to go the other way; Skinny guys! Rather than worrying about losing weight, skinny people are worried about putting on weight. So, what are the best bulking foods for skinny guys?

Just like diets that boast shortcuts to losing weight, there are bulking diet for skinny guys too. The best way to bulk up is to go for high calorie macros of carbs, proteins, fats, and nutrient rich foods. Let’s get into the details of the best bulking foods for skinny guys!

Best Bulking Foods For Skinny Guys

What Are The Best Bulking Foods For Skinny Guys?

The best food for bulking is anything that provides a healthy amount of protein and sufficient calories. The goal is to attain kcal surplus to help with building muscle mass.

1. High Protein Foods

• Lean Meat

Among the prime foods for bulking are essential protein sources like lean meat. It takes many forms of which chicken breast stands out for its high protein content. It’s worth noting that chicken thighs provide slightly more calories, with approximately 170 calories per 100 grams, compared to the leaner chicken breast.

Turkey is another good option among lean bulk foods. Lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin or tenderloin, are excellent sources of high-quality protein and essential nutrients. Bison or buffalo meat shares a similar protein content with lean beef.

• Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout not only provide protein but also healthy fats like omega-3s.

• Eggs

Eggs are rich in essential amino acids and nutrients like choline and vitamin B12. One large egg contains about 70 calories, with six grams of protein and five grams of fat.

• Cottage Cheese (Low-Fat)

Cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse. It serves as a snack as well as a healthy ingredient for cooking and baking.

• Protein Supplements

Finally, supplements like whey protein powder can be used to make high-calorie shakes and meet your protein requirements more easily.

Training With Crossover Handle

2. High-Carb Foods

A bulking food diet isn’t complete without carbs. After all, carbs fuel your body to function properly, especially when you’re hitting the gym!

• Whole Grain Bread

Whole grain bread is rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins (such as B vitamins), and minerals (like magnesium and selenium). These provide sustained energy and support digestive health.

• Pasta

Pasta, especially whole wheat pasta, is a carb-rich food with complex carbohydrates and fiber. The latter helps digestion and regulates blood sugar levels.

• Whole Grains (Brown/Wild Rice, Oats, Quinoa)

Whole grains are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins (such as folate and thiamine), and minerals (including iron and magnesium). All of it is important for providing long-lasting energy, supporting digestive health, and is critical to oxygen transport and muscle function.

• Potatoes 

These starchy vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates. They also contain vitamin C (for tissue repair and immune function), potassium (essential for muscle contractions and nerve function), and some fiber.

• Fruits

Fruits are rich in natural sugars (glucose and fructose), vitamins (like vitamin C and vitamin A), minerals (including potassium), and dietary fiber. The natural sugars provide a quick energy boost, and the fiber helps regulate blood sugar, among other benefits.

• Dry Fruits

Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, dates, etc.) are concentrated carb sources, especially simple sugars. They can also contain dietary fiber, vitamins (like vitamin K and B vitamins), and minerals (like iron and potassium).

Performing Example of Meal

3. Healthy Fats 

One of the best high calorie foods for bulking are healthy fats. You don’t have to go fat-free to bulk or get in shape. Here are some sources of healthy fats you can incorporate in your diet.

• Salmon

Salmon is rich in healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. These essential fats have well-documented cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits. Omega-3s also support muscle recovery, aid insulin sensitivity, and optimize nutrient uptake by muscle cells.

• Nuts And Seeds

Nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts) and seeds (e.g., flaxseeds, chia seeds) are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They also have fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

• Nut Butter (Without Added Sugar)

Nut butter also contains fats that provide sustained energy for workouts and muscle recovery. At the same time, the protein contributes to muscle repair and growth. You can spread peanut, almond, or cashew butter on toast, add it to smoothies, or use it as a dip.

• Olive Oil

A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil also contains oleic acid. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can assist in muscle recovery and overall health.


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4. Best Foods That Provides Both Fat And Protein 

The best healthy bulking foods that provide both fat and protein are red meat (grass fed if possible), salmon (omega-3s), eggs (protein source), cheeses (protein and healthy fats), nuts and seeds (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), and nut butters (protein and healthy fats without added sugars).

These are the top-tier healthy foods for bulking as they support muscle growth, hormone production, and your overall health.

Push Ups on The Uneven Bars

5. Best Foods That Provide Both Carbs And Protein

Carbohydrates and proteins are essential nutrients, with carbohydrates breaking down into sugar and proteins into amino acids. This combination can reduce the blood sugar spikes, when combined with fiber-rich foods. Protein will help keep you full for longer..

Examples of foods that provide carbs and protein:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Chickpeas and Quinoa
  • Beans and Lentils

Carbohydrates and proteins are essential nutrients, with carbohydrates breaking down into sugar and proteins into amino acids. This combination can reduce the blood sugar spikes, when combined with fiber-rich foods. Protein will help keep you full for longer..

Examples of foods that provide carbs and protein:

Examples Of High-Calorie Combinations For Bulking

When it comes to calorie dense foods for bulking, they play a pivotal role in providing the necessary nutrients for muscle growth and recovery.

1. Oats With Peanut Butter, Added Protein Powder And Fruit

A balanced meal includes oats, offering sustained energy with a low glycemic index. You can add peanut butter, which is rich in healthy fats and supports hormone production.

Protein powder, whether whey or plant-based, enhances protein intake for muscle repair and helps you reach Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). So you can also mix it with your oats. Also, you can incorporate fruits, like berries with anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and potassium-rich bananas. These are ideal as muscle building foods for skinny guys.

2. Pasta With Salmon And Vegetables

Everyone loves pasta. It’s delicious and loaded with carbs, making it one of the perfect foods to eat while bulking. We recommend whole grain pasta with salmon and vegetables. Salmon is an excellent source of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Cook whole grain pasta according to package instructions. While it’s cooking, grill or bake a salmon filet until it flakes easily. Steam or sauté your choice of veggies like broccoli, spinach, or bell peppers. Toss cooked pasta with flaked salmon and steamed veggies. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste!

Taking a Big Steak

3. High-Calorie Snack: Greek Yogurt + Home-Made Trail-Mix With Nuts And Dried Fruits

This one’s easy to prepare and helps you feel.

Greek yogurt is a protein-rich dairy product that provides essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. It also contains probiotics, which can aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. However, greek yogurt provides better results when combined with other nutrition sources, such as fruits and even whey protein to ramp up protein content.

A homemade trail mix consisting of nuts (such as almonds, cashews, or walnuts) and dried fruits (like raisins or apricots) is calorie-dense due to the healthy fats in nuts and the natural sugars in dried fruits.

Nuts are also packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc, which support muscle function and recovery. Simply combine them all and savor them! This is easily one of the best meals for bulking.

4. Multi-Ingredient Protein Puddings, Shakes And Smoothies

To make a super shake, follow these steps and choose one or two items from each category.

  • Pick a Liquid: Select 4-8 oz of water, almond milk (unsweetened), cow’s milk, soy milk (unsweetened), hemp milk (unsweetened), or iced green tea for each serving.
  • Pick a Protein Powder: Opt for 25-50g of whey protein, casein protein, rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, or another protein blend. Use 1-2 scoops for each serving, ensuring it’s both good-tasting and digestible.
  • Pick a Veggie: Include 1-2 handfuls of dark leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale), pumpkin or sweet potato, beets or beet greens, cucumbers, celery, or a powdered greens supplement. Adjust the quantity as needed.
  • Pick a Fruit: Add 1-2 handfuls of apples, bananas, cherries, pineapple, mango, or a powdered fruit supplement. Fresh fruit is preferred.
  • Pick a Healthy Fat: Choose 1-2 thumb-sized portions of walnuts, flax, hemp, chia seeds, cashews, almonds, or peanut/nut butters for each serving.

Finally, pick a topper. Enhance your shake with coconut, cacao nibs/dark chocolate, yogurt, oats/granola, cinnamon, or ice (if using fresh fruit). Customize the toppings to suit your taste and nutritional preferences.

Mass Gainer We Recommend – Transparent Labs ProteinSeries MASS GAINER

Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
  • Diet Type (Best For): Build muscle, Mass gainer
  • Suitable For Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Grass-Fed Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Serving Size: 194 grams (2 scoops)
  • Price Per Serving: ~$5.33
  • Proteins: 53 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 110 grams (depends on flavor)
  • Fat: 14 grams (depends on flavor)
  • Calories Per Serving: 750
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended By Athletes: Hafþór Júlíus BjörnssonTerron BeckhamPaul Sklar

If you are searching for bulking products, we recommend the Transparent Labs ProteinSeries MASS GAINER. It offers a massive calorie boost for gaining mass and building muscle.

One serving of this product consists of two large scoops, totaling almost 198 grams and 740 calories. It’s essential to note that this product is relatively low in added sugars and fats.

The primary source of carbohydrates is organic tapioca maltodextrin. Other ingredients include:

  • Grass-fed whey concentrate
  • Coconut milk powder
  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)
  • VitaFiber® (a prebiotic soluble fiber blend)
  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Monk fruit
Transparent Labs Mass Gainer inst
Photo by @transparentlabs

What distinguishes this product is the use of grass-fed whey concentrate and prebiotic fibers like VitaFiber®. Plus, the cholesterol content is also a plus for those seeking muscle growth.

The price may be higher compared to other mass gainers on the market. That said, 100% grass-fed whey concentrate and a higher protein content could justify the cost.

Transparent Labs Mass Gainer is available in Chocolate Glaze Donut and Sweet Vanilla flavors. The chocolate variety offers a mild and easy-to-consume flavor. It is one of the best tasting proteins we’ve used, but it takes a while to mix.

Overall, this mass gainer is commendable for natural ingredients, high protein content, and low added sugar and fat. If the price is not a concern, and you prefer a mass gainer with a cleaner ingredient profile, this is the best product on the market today.


  • High calorie per serving for bulking
  • Whey protein sourced from hormone-free, grass-fed cow’s milk 
  • Free of any artificial preservatives, sweeteners, and colors
  • Non GMO and gluten-free
  • Natural, clean and effective carbohydrate sources

Could be better:

  • Can be difficult to mix without a blender
  • One of the costlier mass gainers

Protein We Recommend – Legion Athletics Whey Protein Powder

Legion Whey Protein
  • Diet Type (Best For): Build muscle
  • Suitable For Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Whey Protein Isolate
  • Serving Size: 29 grams
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.54
  • Proteins: 22 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 – 4 grams (depends on flavor)
  • Fat: 0-1 gram (depends on flavor)
  • Calories Per Serving: 100
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended By Athletes: Menno Henselmans, Jordan Syatt

Our recommended whey isolate protein powder comes from Legion Athletics. These protein powders are derived from whey, a byproduct of cheese. But they undergo a filtration process to remove most of the fat and lactose. It results in a standalone protein product suitable for people with dairy sensitivities like lactose intolerance.

One of the standout features of Whey+ is its quality and ethical sourcing. The product is Truly Grass-Fed and Animal Welfare-Approved. It means the cows producing the dairy are raised in good conditions.

Notable ingredients in this protein powder include whey protein isolate, natural flavors, Stevia leaf extract, and sea salt. You also get a dose of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) at 5.6 grams per serving.

Legion Whey Protein inst
Photo by @legion

Whey+ offers a diverse range of flavors, but we recommend Strawberry Banana and French Vanilla. Strawberry Banana flavor offers fruity sweetness and creaminess. It’s a refreshing and unique choice in a market often dominated by standard flavors like chocolate and vanilla.

It also adds some variety to your daily protein intake. It mixes well with water or milk and has a smooth texture.

The French Vanilla flavor also provides a classic and versatile option. It also pairs well with fruits, nuts, or even coffee for a delicious morning smoothie or post-workout shake.

Legion Whey+ protein comes in two-pound bags, providing approximately 30 servings for $60. The nutritional content varies by flavor, but you can expect up to 24 grams of protein, 1 to 2 grams of fat, and 2 to 6 grams of carbohydrates per serving. T

he per-serving cost is $1.99 but you can save $0.20 if you opt for a subscription.

To sum up, if you value all-natural supplements (with non-GMO ingredients) and are passionate about animal welfare, go for Legion Whey+. It is also one of the best choices for a low-fat, low-carb protein powder.


  • Whey protein sourced from grass fed milk from small dairy farms in Ireland
  • 3rd party lab tested by Labdoor and certified to contain no banned substances
  • Stevia and erythritol used as natural sweeteners 
  • Blends well with smoothies

Could be better:

  • The flimsy resealable bag could use an upgrade to a proper tub
  • May be too sweet for some


How Can A Skinny Guy Bulk Up Fast?

Just like there’s no shortcut to glory, there’s no shortcut fast way to bulk up for skinny guys. By focusing on high calorie bulking meals, incorporating proper weight training on a regular basis, and getting enough sleep, skinny guys can hasten the process to gain mass.

Can Skinny Guys Lean Bulk?

Yes, but it is not easy. You require consistent training, good recovery, and a bulking diet that offers controlled small kcal surplus.

Why Is Clean Bulking So Hard?

Building muscle is challenging due to consistent training, and focusing on food quantity rather than sophisticated choices. Muscle growth is optimized with a calorie surplus but hindered with a deficit. Striking the right balance is crucial to prevent excessive fat gain. This requires knowing your calorie maintenance, training regularly with adequate volume, and frequently monitoring your weight to adjust as necessary.

Should I Cut Or Bulk First?

It depends on your body fat and also what you want to achieve. If your goal is to build muscle, the best way to go is to bulk first as it allows you to put on muscle mass and then cut down.


For people who are overweight and are trying to lose weight, they might think the skinny guy to be lucky as all they need to do is eat. However, they don’t realize that the skinny guy is also going through a tough phase of bulking.

In order to help our guys with noodle arms and chicken legs, we focused on the best bulking foods for skinny guys. If regular food isn’t doing the job, we recommend two supplements that help you along the way to get big.

Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Mass Gainer is a top tier supplement that gives you a combination of protein, carbs and fats with high calorie servings to speed up that bulking process.

And, if you’re looking to build up your muscles and just need to increase the protein intake then look no further than Legion Athletics Whey Protein Powder. This is the best supplement if you’re looking to put on muscle mass without anything artificial.

So, how difficult is it for you to bulk up as a skinny guy? Share your journey with us in the comments section below and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! Happy bulking!

Also read:


  1. “Picking Healthy Proteins” Heart, (Nov 1, 2021)
  2. Andrew King “The Ergogenic Effects of Acute Carbohydrate Feeding on Resistance Exercise Performance” NCBI, (2022 Jul 9)
  3. Chris McGlory “The Influence of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Skeletal Muscle Protein Turnover in Health, Disuse, and Disease” NCBI, (2019 Sep 6)
  4. Labdoor,
  5. MURILO DÁTTILO “Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Acute Skeletal
  6. Muscle Recovery after Exercise” Paulogentil, 

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

By trusting the recommendations of our certified experts in coaching, nutrition, dietology, and sports training programming, as well as scientific consultants, and physiotherapists, we provide you with thorough, well-considered, and scientifically proven content. All the information given in the articles concerning workout programming, separate exercises, and athletic performance, in general, is based on verified data. We ensure that you can rely on our professionals’ pieces of advice and recommendations that can be treated as personalized ones which will benefit you and fully meet your needs.

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Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance Architect,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

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