- Natural, non-GMO ingredients; allergen-free and meat-free meals
- Adjustable macro ratio; a la carte proteins, veggies, and carbs
- Affordable prices; no subscription required; nationwide shipping
- Paleo-inspired bodybuilding meals ready to eat in 3 minutes
- Breakfasts, entrees, cooked proteins, and cold-pressed juices
- Free shipping on all orders; order more and pay less per meal
- Freshly made bodybuilding meals made of premium organic foods
- Easy macro tracking; a la carte protein, veg, carbs, meals, and snacks
- Extremely flexible; delivers nationwide; shipping is always free
- Natural, non-GMO ingredients; 270-740 calories per meal
- Paleo, grain-free, low-carb, soy-free, gluten-free, and more
- Commitment-free ordering; ships all over the United States
- 50+ signature and custom meals, breakfasts, and protein snacks
- Natural ingredients; cooked proteins, carbs, and veg by the pound
- Subscription-free ordering with no minimum value; good prices
- Fresh, organic meals; rich menu; various special diet options
- Customize your meals with extra side dishes and proteins
- Decide on meal selection, quantity, and delivery frequency
- Sustainable, natural ingredients; no additives or processed foods
- Paleo-inspired breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides, and bulk items
- Subscription-free ordering; regular discounts; ships nationwide
- 8 tasty breakfast and lunch/dinner items on the standard menu
- Keto meals containing 75% fat, 20% proteins, and just 5% carbs
- Superior flavor; optimal convenience; commitment-free ordering
- All-natural, organic ingredients; specialized high-protein plans
- 50+ menu items; easily adjust your macro and calorie intake
- Plenty of customization options; free nationwide shipping
What Do Bodybuilders Eat
Many people imagine bodybuilders eating 7 burgers in a row to get the proteins they need to gain all that muscle mass. The truth is that while a bodybuilding diet does involve eating extra calories, it focuses on foods that you would eat to stay slim and healthy.
Knowing what is good for muscle growth and what to avoid is the key to successful bodybuilding meal prep. Let us begin by taking a look at the best food choices. Your menu should primarily include:
- Fresh fish like salmon and cod;
- Chicken breasts;
- Lean beef;
- Healthy fats in the form of flaxseed/avocado/olive/fish oil;
- Dairy with a moderate fat content like skim milk, yogurt or cottage cheese;
- Protein-packed nuts like almonds;
- Healthy, high-protein grains like quinoa;
- Starchy vegetables;
- Various greens, including leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini.
As you can see, a bodybuilding diet does not eliminate any macronutrients. You get to eat plenty of proteins but also good carbs and healthy fats. This is because proteins are essential to muscle building, but they do not contain all the substances you need to bulk up. During your workout, your body burns fat and requires energy that it stores in the form of glycogen, a form of glucose, which is what carbs are broken into during digestion.
Therefore, to give your body what it needs to increase muscle mass, in addition to protein, you have to eat good carbs. They provide the necessary glycogen for energy and increase insulin, which plays an essential role in the transport of amino acids that boost muscle growth.
Now that the role of carbs is clear, you may be wondering why you should include fats in your diet if you are trying to get lean. This is a valid question, especially since fats have such a bad reputation. What you should know is that there are both good and bad fats. Bad fats inhibit your progress while good fats enjoyed in moderation perform many important functions.
First of all, good fats represent an excellent source of energy. Second, they help in nutrient absorption, vitamin transport, and waste elimination. Third, they help regulate your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clotting. In other words, they are irreplaceable in many important body processes and they support bodybuilding efforts by providing more than just energy. Some good fats like fish oil can even help prevent muscle protein breakdown. Others like avocado can prevent fat storage in the midsection, helping you get rock-hard abs. It is only important to stick to these healthy fats if you want to get ripped while staying lean.
On the other hand, some foods are not your friends. When crafting your bodybuilding meal prep plan, you should avoid:
- All kinds of added sugars, including sports drinks, soda, and sweets;
- Highly processed foods;
- Everything deep-fried;
- Soy protein;
- Too much fruit.
Of course, it is obvious why sugar, alcohol, and highly processed foods are not good for bodybuilding. They make you fat and can inhibit muscle growth. Deep-fried foods are also bad because they contain too much unhealthy fat and cause inflammation.
When it comes to soy protein, many may recommend it for bodybuilding, so it may seem odd that we list it as something to avoid. What you should know is that it negatively affects testosterone production and you need testosterone to bulk up. Therefore, we advise against including soy protein in your diet.
Fruit should be avoided because it is generally high in fructose, which takes long to metabolize and easily turns to fat if your diet already contains carbs. You can enjoy a banana, a slice of watermelon or some sugar-free pineapple juice every now and then, but if you want to maximize your gain, you should consider fruit a healthy cheat option.
Finally, we would just like to mention that it is crucial to choose your pre-workout foods wisely. Too much fiber or fat can make you feel sluggish due to slow digestion, which makes your workout less effective. You should also make sure not to drink carbonated drinks immediately before exercise because this may cause stomach cramps and nausea.
Bodybuilding Meal Prep Strategies
When talking about bodybuilding meal prep, even the most successful bodybuilders do not exactly agree on the macronutrient ratio. What most bodybuilders and experts agree on is that:
- You should have at least 5 but no more than 8 meals and snacks a day;
- You should focus on lean proteins;
- Proteins should make up at least 25% of your diet;
- When bulking, your meals should contain more calories than you need to maintain your weight;
- Your cooking methods of choice should include grilling, broiling, and steaming, not frying or deep frying;
- You should stick to clean, high-quality foods;
- You should never skip meals;
- You should distribute your meals evenly and set reminders to cook and eat on time;
- You should avoid dining out and reaching for fast food.
While there is no debate on the aforementioned rules of proper bodybuilding meal prep, when it comes to carbs and fat, matters get a bit more complicated. We will now take a look at different strategies and see how they differ and which one may be the best choice.
Low-Carb Bodybuilding Meal Prep Strategies
At the moment, low-carb bodybuilding diets are becoming popular due to the dominant dieting trends like keto. While a low-carb diet can work for a bodybuilder in the short run, especially when trying to lose fat fast, scientists and experts do not consider it an ideal choice for bulking up.
Like we said before, carbs provide the much-needed glycogen, without which you cannot build and preserve muscles. This means that you can expect muscle loss if you stay on a low-carb diet for too long. Plus, when you remove something from your diet, you need to replace it with something else. The ketogenic diet replaces carbs with plenty of fat, which is not ideal.
If you keep both your carb intake and your fat intake low, your body does not have the energy it needs to bulk up. Therefore, sticking to a low-carb diet throughout the bulking phase is not a perfect idea and it is not supported by science. If you want to lean up fast through low-carb dieting, you need to eat a lot of fiber and more healthy fats. However, most bodybuilders only consider this when they have already gained muscle mass and want to eliminate any extra fat.
Very Low-Fat Bodybuilding Meal Prep Strategies
With very low-fat strategies, the goal is to reduce the amount of fat in your meals to 10% or less and increase your carb intake while keeping your protein intake moderate. The meals are structured so they predominantly include whole grains and veg, as well as fruit, beans, and non-fat dairy. They often limit the amount of animal proteins included in the meals, which means that you do not get to eat too much fish, poultry or beef.
Experience has shown that limiting your fat intake can help you reach your bodybuilding goals more easily, which is why the idea behind low-fat strategies is a sound one. However, the question is what is low and what should be considered as too low.
The problem with very low-fat strategies is that they reduce your fat intake beyond the point where your diet could be considered healthy. They focus on meals that may seem healthy at first glance but do not provide your body with enough essential vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, iron, and vitamin E.
This is because you need fat in order to absorb some vitamins, including A, D, E, and K. Furthermore, very low-fat strategies increase your fiber intake, which interferes with mineral absorption. Another problem is that they do not focus enough on proteins. These are all reasons why basing your bodybuilding meal prep on the very low-fat approach is not the best choice.
The Safest Bodybuilding Meal Prep Strategy
According to scientific studies published in journals like Sports Med and the recommendations of the National Strength And Conditioning Association, your diet should include:
- 55% to 60% carbs;
- 25% to 35% proteins;
- 15% to 20% healthy fats.
The recommended amount of carbs ingested is deemed to be enough to support a highly intense workout. A protein intake of about 30% is known to reduce lean mass loss. Finally, a diet comprising 15% to 20% healthy fats supports adequate testosterone circulation and proper body functioning without impeding your process of bulking and leaning up.
As far as your daily calorie intake is concerned, it all depends on your individual needs. There is no universal number. However, there is a way to calculate how many calories your daily meals should contain.
First, you need to determine how much you need to eat to maintain your current weight. Weigh yourself 3-7 times a week. If you are gaining or losing weight, adjust your calorie intake accordingly and stop when you notice that your weight has stopped changing. This means that you have found your maintenance calorie intake. You should increase it by 15% to build muscle. For most bodybuilders, this means eating about 500 extra calories a day.
It is time to create your own bodybuilding meal prep strategy. Use the recommended foods and macronutrient intakes and your personal bulking calorie count to structure your meals. A good starting point is prepping 3 meals and 3 high-protein snacks per day.
You should distribute your carbs, proteins, fats, and calories in accordance with your workout routine. It is a good idea to enjoy your pre-workout meal about 1-2 hours before going to the gym. Pre-workout meals should include fast-digesting proteins like chicken and egg whites and carbs that can be complex, provided that you do not go overboard with fibers. Your post-workout meal is meant to refuel your body and it should contain fast-digesting proteins. You can space out your remaining meals any way you like, as long as you hit your recommended calorie and macronutrient intake.
Since you need to eat frequently and enjoy your pre-workout and post-workout meals on time, the best choice is to prep all your meals in the evening or early morning, depending on what works better for you. This way, you minimize the risk of skipping a meal or substituting it with fast food because you have no time to prepare it.
A highly popular topic in the bodybuilding community is cheating. More specifically, beginners often wonder whether it is ever ok to eat something outside their meal plan. The answer is yes, as long as you are smart about the way you cheat.
What is most important about cheating is that you try to avoid empty calories and processed foods. Simply put, you should preferably choose clean options even when cheating. For example, you can eat some homemade oven-baked fries with olive oil instead of a sugary doughnut.
Second, you should avoid having cheat days. A whole day of not eating properly can set you back big time. Instead, when you need something extra, opt for a single cheat meal. This ensures that even if you eat your favorite bad-for-you fast food, there are no major negative consequences. Plus, you are likely to enjoy it more, as it feels like a special treat you should not feel too guilty about.
How Can A Bodybuilding Meal Delivery Plan Help You Bulk Up
As you can see, bodybuilding meal prep takes a lot of work. You need to be super-careful about your calorie and macro intake and you need to eat often. This means that you need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and check nutrition facts for all the foods you eat.
While homemade food is always the right choice, cooking your meals on your own can be tricky. It is not always easy to calculate the amount of calories and macros your meals contain since there is a great difference between a small and large splash of olive oil. You need to pick your ingredients wisely and measure them carefully, which can take much more time than the actual cooking process. Since you should eat about 6 times a day, that is quite a lot of time to invest.
This is the main reason why more and more amateur and pro bodybuilders are opting for bodybuilding meal delivery. In the past years, there has been a significant rise in the number of bodybuilding meal prep delivery services on the market. This is great because these services are trying to outdo one another in every possible way, so you can now easily find premade bodybuilding meals that are more than worth the cash.
If you opt for a bodybuilding meal delivery, you do not only get to save time on cooking and planning, but you also maximize your chances of structuring your meal plan properly and sticking to it. For each meal on offer, bodybuilding meal delivery services provide precise calorie and macronutrient information, making it easy to pick the meals that suit your needs. Plus, all the meals are designed by experts with bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts in mind, which means that the ingredients and macronutrient ratios are just right.
Consequently, you can skip shopping, calculating, measuring, and cooking, choose what you want in minutes, and have premade bodybuilding meals delivered to your door. What would take many hours can take less than half an hour with a reliable bodybuilding meal delivery.
With your meals structured by experts, your daily macros and calories precisely calculated, and your food pre-made for you, you can focus on your workout instead of spending loads of time on your bodybuilding meal prep. Plus, with all the food you need in your fridge, ready to eat, you are sure to have your meals on time, avoid skipping and cheating, and bulk up more efficiently. Therefore, it comes as no wonder that bodybuilding meal delivery is considered to be one of the secrets to bodybuilding success, whether you are a novice or a pro.
Finding The Right Bodybuilding Meal Prep Service For You
If you have decided to give bodybuilding meal delivery a shot, the next step is picking the service that best suits your needs and goals. There are 7 crucial factors that should shape your decision. We will now go over each of them and highlight what you should focus on when making your choice.
Your bodybuilding meal delivery of choice should pick its ingredients the same way you would if you were cooking on your own. It should avoid processed foods and stick to natural options that fit well into a bodybuilding diet. If the service does not specify the quality of its ingredients, it is safe to assume that it does not use all-natural, premium foods free from artificial additives. Therefore, be sure to pick a service that is transparent about its ingredient choices and keeps its food quality high.
Not all bodybuilding meal prep services provide the same range of meal options. Some of them exclusively feature lunch or dinner items while others offer breakfasts and snacks as well. Furthermore, many of them are not vegetarian-friendly and do not offer meals with a reduced carb or fat content. These are all crucial factors to consider since they determine how well these premade bodybuilding meals fit your plan.
When choosing the best bodybuilding meal delivery services, we give preference to companies that aim to satisfy the needs of the majority of bodybuilders, thus providing options for different bodybuilding strategies and letting you get all the food you need throughout the day.
This one is pretty straightforward. You do not want to eat the same meals over and over again, not just because it is boring but also because you need different nutrients to support your bodybuilding efforts. When you are ordering for the first time, a 10-item menu can seem sufficiently varied, but this is not enough diversity in the long run. The best choices are bodybuilding meal delivery services that either offer dozens upon dozens of meals in their standard selections or regularly feature new meals for maximum variety.
When it comes to the nutritional value of premade bodybuilding meals, what is crucial is that the calorie count is not too high, as you should eat 5-8 times a day, and that the macro ratio is right. Furthermore, nutrition fact labels should be readily available and detailed, so you know exactly what you are buying.
This may come as a surprise, but in the portion size department, smaller is often better. This is because when you eat frequently, your portions should not and cannot be huge if you want to stick to your recommended daily calorie count. What is interesting is that some of the best bodybuilding meal prep deliveries offer flexible servings, so you can decide on the portion size yourself. This is a major advantage that many bodybuilders greatly appreciate.
Whether you opt for a subscription-based bodybuilding meal delivery or order your pre-made bodybuilding meals subscription-free, it is good to know that you can adjust your deliveries to your needs. You should opt for a service that lets you order as often as you wish, does not impose any major limitations when it comes to order value or subscription duration, and lets you get just as much food as you need. This is exactly the kind of freedom the best bodybuilding meal delivery services on our list provide.
The best bodybuilding meal delivery services are not necessarily cheap, but they are never overpriced. To be more specific, you can spend less than $10 on your meal – but not less than $5. From our experience, some services may charge as much as $30 per meal just because they can, but the price is not always a reliable indicator of quality.
In fact, some of our top picks are among the most affordable solutions on the market. This is not because the quality of their meals is not high, but because they know that in order to stay competitive, they need to offer the best value for your money.
The Best Bodybuilding Meal Delivery Companies
It is time to learn more about what makes the companies on our top list the best bodybuilding meal delivery options on the market. In the following mini-reviews, you can find out what to expect with each of our top picks. Read on and discover which of the highest-rated bodybuilding meal delivery services is just right for you.
MealPro is a popular bodybuilding meal delivery that delivers healthy ready-to-heat meals containing up to 100 grams of proteins and between 500 and 700 calories per serving. Its meals include gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, low-sodium, keto, and Paleo options and they can be further customized to fit your macro intake.
You can order 18 or 20 meals per delivery and choose from 2 dozen items, including both meals and cooked food by the pound. MealPro is one of the more affordable bodybuilding meal delivery services and it lets you shop with or without a subscription.
2. Factor 75
With Factor 75, you can enjoy a clean and healthy diet that supports your bulking goals. Every week, you can choose from 18 new breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and order 4-18 servings of your favorites. All meals are organic, gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free and they normally contain 35+ grams of protein.
In addition to meals, you can order cooked proteins sold in bulk as well as energizing cold-pressed juices. Shipping is always free and ordering larger quantities of food can save you up to $4 per meal.
3. Trifecta Nutrition
With Trifecta Nutrition, your bodybuilding meals can be low-carb, meat-centric, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo or whatever you want them to be. You can opt for one of the 6 pre-designed plans or create a custom plan and get chef-crafted dishes and snacks but also assemble your meals using freshly cooked proteins, carbs, and vegetables, thus easily tracking your macros.
The company’s meals are always organic, usually under 500 calories, and 100% good for you. In addition to meals, the service offers an app that lets you track your workout and progress. The prices are reasonable and shipping is always free.
4. Paleo On The Go
Paleo On The Go has one of the most impressive bodybuilding-friendly menus featuring not only entrées and breakfasts but also extras like soups and sides. With over 50 items on its menu, you can enjoy great variety and choose from soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, AIP, Whole30, keto, and certified Paleo meals, normally containing over 30 grams of protein and up to 600 calories per serving.
Order as often as you want, whatever you need, with no subscription required. You can purchase meals individually or save cash with meal bundles.
5. ICON Meals
ICON Meals offers fresh, high-protein, premade bodybuilding meals ranging from 250 to 550 calories per single-serving dish. Its ingredients are natural, locally sourced, and include no preservatives. Its meals usually contain more than 30 grams of protein, they are free from unhealthy fats, and they are controlled for carbs, sodium, and sugar.
The service offers both meaty and meat-free breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. You can choose from dozens of signature dishes or design your meals yourself, deciding on everything from portion size to protein, carb, and veg selection. Order subscription-free and get just 1 meal or as many dishes as you like at surprisingly good prices.
6. Pete’s Paleo
Pete’s Paleo brings you premade bodybuilding meals that are protein-rich, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and made with organic ingredients. You can choose from more than 20 different meals rotated weekly and get 5 to 21 meals per delivery. The average calorie count per serving is 300 to 500 calories.
To make sure your orders suit your needs, the service lets you pick anything from the menu, add more sides and proteins to your meals, and decide how much food you want to get and how often you want to have your meals delivered.
7. Paleo Power Meals
Paleo Power Meals was launched by a crossfitter who knows how to eat in order to bulk up and stay lean. The service offers more than 50 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and sides, as well as cooked proteins, veg, and carbs sold by the pound. You can get 60+ grams of proteins from just one serving and the calorie count ranges from only 150 to 600 calories.
You do not need a subscription to order and if you get more food, you can save up to 15% on your delivery. The prices start under $6 per serving.
8. Keto Frozen
If you want to get lean quickly, Keto Frozen can be of great help. Its meals normally have 30+ grams of protein, but they are low in carbs, so they can help you get rid of extra fat while still getting plenty of energy.
Ordering does not require a subscription and you can get as many power breakfasts and power bowls as you need to fuel your workout. Each meal comprises 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs, with no empty calories or fillers.
9. Fresh n’ Lean
With Fresh n’ Lean, sticking to your bodybuilding plan is easier than ever. Not only does this service offer unique high-protein meal plans, but it also automatically calculates your daily and weekly calorie and macro intakes based on your meal choices. That way, it lets you easily pick the right meals and always be sure you are giving your body what it needs to grow muscle.
You can get breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, add extra meals, snacks, and bulk items to your plan, and state ingredient preferences. Fresh n’ Lean meals go up to 600 calories and mostly contain 30-40 grams of proteins per serving. Shipping is always free.