10 Best Bulking Breakfast Ideas For Gaining Muscle Size and Strength

It is for a reason breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. As the name suggests, breakfast breaks your overnight fasting period. Besides delivering your muscles with much-needed nutrients, breakfast replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and alertness. 

Although diets like intermittent fasting, which usually includes skipping breakfast have gained a cult following among fitness enthusiasts and people trying to lose weight, it isn’t a widely followed diet in the pro bodybuilding circuit. 

Bodybuilders, especially the ones trying to bulk up and put on muscle size, eat at regular intervals and never skip a meal. A pro bodybuilder prepping for a contest eats their last meal close to bedtime and right after waking up. 

Since pro bodybuilders sleep at least seven to eight hours every night to give their bodies enough time to rest and recuperate from their workouts, it is usually the biggest fasting window during their day.

Furthermore, bodybuilders consume slow-digesting protein sources like casein to ensure their muscles get protein throughout the night and do not enter a state of catabolism. 

Bodybuilders on a deadline cannot wait to get out of bed and into the kitchen as soon as their alarm clock goes off in the morning. However, when you are eating six to eight meals a day, eating can feel like a chore, which can make you skip meals.

Many people rely on cereals and other high-sugar easy-to-cook meals to start their day. Not only are these food sources bad for your health, but they can also make you lethargic during the day. 

In this article, you’ll discover 10 delicious bulking breakfast ideas that will make you look forward to the break of dawn every day, but before that, let’s get into a few intricacies:

What is Bulking?

Chris Bumstead Bulking Diet – Image via @Chrisbumstead/Youtube

There are three main phases in bodybuilding — maintenance, shredding, and bulking; each has its place in a bodybuilder’s routine. Let’s go over the three in brief:

  • Bulking: It refers to the phase when a bodybuilder is trying to put on muscle mass and strength. The bulking phase is also known as the off-season. The primary goal is to put on muscle mass and size, and improving conditioning is put on the back burner. 
  • Shredding: For a competitive bodybuilder, shredding usually begins as soon as they start prepping for a contest, which can be anywhere between four to six months from a show, depending on their current conditioning. In this phase, improving conditioning and overall aesthetics are the main goal. 
  • Maintenance: An athlete enters a maintenance phase when they have achieved their target body weight or fat percentage. 

Bulking requires you to put on body weight. As per research, a pound of body weight consists of 3,500 calories, meaning you’ll have to add 500 calories to your diet to add one pound of body weight a week. [1]

But before adding 500 calories to your diet, you need to know about your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). It will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your body weight, along with the macro breakdown.

Clean VS Dirty Bulking

Jay Cutler Bulking
Jay Cutler Bulking

There are two approaches you can follow when it comes to bulking — clean and dirty. While clean bulking involves sticking to nutrient-dense whole foods, dirty bulk allows you to eat anything you can get your hands on as long as it helps you meet your daily calorie goals.

Although diets like IIFYM (if it fits your macros) are gaining traction, it is recommended that you pick the old-school whole food diet, especially if you’ll be switching to the shredding phase after achieving your bulking goal. 

Related: Bulking vs. Cutting: The Best Methods To Accelerate Gains!

How To Succeed at Bulking Breakfast

Most people can never stick to a healthy nutrient-dense whole-food breakfast because most recipes on the internet are complicated and are best suited for folks with experience in the kitchen. 

However, in this article, we’ll take you over bulking breakfast ideas that are easy to cook, convenient, delicious, and do not require prowess in the kitchen. 

Plus, the recipes you’ll find below are not labor and time-intensive, meaning you can prepare them every day before heading out for school or work. 

10 Best Bulking Breakfast Ideas

The bulking meals in this article are designed keeping in mind a 28 to 30-year-old, 150 to 180-pound male who trains four to five times a week. You could tweak the ingredient list of a recipe based on your age, TDEE, and daily calorie goal. 

Now that you know the bulking basics, here are the best bulking breakfast ideas you can add to your routine right away:

1. Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancake
Banana Pancake

Who doesn’t like pancakes for breakfast? However, you’ll be using whole foods for this recipe and won’t be adding sugar-laden syrups to the pancakes. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup berries

Directions:

  • Mash a banana in a bowl. Add eggs and almond flour.
  • Mix until it forms a thick batter. 
  • Heat coconut oil on medium-high in a frying pan.
  • Scoop pancake mix so that it makes four pancakes. 
  • Fry for 2 – 3 minutes on each side until golden.
  • Transfer to your serving plate.
  • Top with berries and Greek yogurt, or serve these on the side.

Nutrition Value: 680 kcal / 50g carbohydrate / 25g protein / 45g fat

2. Avocado Egg and Toast with Cottage Cheese Side

Toasts With Avocado And Eggs

This is arguably one of the easiest bulking breakfast recipes on the list and should not take more than 10 minutes to prepare. It is the right fit for people who love eating eggs and toast first thing in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese 
  • Everything bagel seasoning (to taste)
  • ½ cup full fat cottage cheese 
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion 
  • 1 cup blueberries 

Directions:

  • Fry the eggs and toast the bread to your liking.
  • Spread avocado on bread and add bagel seasoning.
  • Add 1 egg to each slice; top with parmesan and green onion.
  • Add cottage cheese and blueberries to the side.

Nutrition Value: 702 kcal / 78g carbohydrate / 40g protein / 30g fat

3. Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Toast

Bread Toast With Mashed Avocado Roasted Chickpeas

The smashed chickpea and avocado toast is the first vegan-friendly bulking breakfast recipe on the list. You could bump up the serving size if you want to eat a heartier breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup arugula

Directions:

  • Mash chickpeas, oil, salt, and pepper with a fork in a bowl.
  • Toast the bread to your liking.
  • Divide chickpea mash between toast slices, spreading them evenly.
  • Slice avocado and spread on toast with chickpea mash.
  • Top with arugula or fresh vegetable of choice.

Nutrition Value: 510 kcal / 65g carbohydrate / 20g protein / 20g fat

4. Healthy Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Avocado Breakfast Burritos

Baked Sweet Potato Beans And Avocado

While the burrito recipe might look overwhelming, you’ll be able to master the dish and prepare your breakfast meal within 20 to 25 minutes once you get a hang of it.

Ingredients:

  • 6 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas 
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • few dashes of red pepper flakes, if desired
  • 6 large eggs (or 8 large egg whites)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican or Colby jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup red enchilada sauce

Directions:

  • Cook sweet potatoes in a microwave or roast them in an oven.
  • In a separate large bowl, add black beans, cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Stir to combine, then set aside.
  • In a different bowl, beat eggs. 
  • Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-low heat.
  • Add in eggs and cook. Fold every few minutes to get fluffy eggs. Once cooked, remove from heat.
  • Heat the tortillas for 10 to 20 seconds in the microwave, so they are easy to roll. 
  • Lay out warm tortillas and evenly distribute and spread mashed sweet potato, scrambled eggs, diced avocado, black beans, and shredded cheese on each.
  • Spread a tablespoon of enchilada sauce on each tortilla.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Tuck ends in, then roll up burritos.
  • Microwave the burritos for a minute or two. 
  • Serve with sour cream, greek yogurt, salsa, or hot sauce.

Nutrition Value: 398 kcal / 54.3g carbohydrate / 18.1g protein / 13.8g fat

5. Spinach Scramble Pita

Spinach Scramble Pita
Spinach Scramble Pita

This dish delivers a healthy dose of leafy green vegetables in the first meal of the day. Studies suggest eating vegetables can help fight inflammation, improve eyesight and skin health, lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease. [2]

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 whole-wheat pita

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and whole eggs.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. 
  • Sauté diced pepper and mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add in the eggs and then top with spinach leaves.
  • Scramble for 3-4 minutes.
  • Place inside the whole wheat pita and top with cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition Value: 566 kcal / 48g carbohydrate / 37g protein / 26g fat

6. Coffee Protein Shake

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

For many people, coffee is a staple in their morning routine. If you count yourself amongst this group, you’re going to love the coffee protein shake. It will deliver a caffeine punch while helping you meet your daily caloric goal.

Ingredients:

  • Cold-brewed coffee
  • Milk (unsweetened almond)
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vanilla protein powder

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender. 
  • Mix everything at high speed until you get a smooth texture.
  • If the smoothie is too thick, feel free to add more liquid (milk or water). Blend again until everything is well combined.
  • Taste the smoothie and add additional sweetener (if required).
  • Transfer the smoothie into a smoothie glass.

Nutrition Value: 429 kcal / 54g carbohydrate / 29g protein / 13g fat

7. Smoked Salmon Bagel

Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich
Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich

The smoked salmon bagel is a delicious bulking breakfast recipe that also packs the highest amount of carbohydrates and the lowest fat content per meal on the list.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pumpernickel or plain bagel (6 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons chive cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced English cucumber
  • 3 ounces thin-sliced smoked salmon
  • 3 thin rings of red onion
  • ½ teaspoon drained capers

Directions:

  • Split bagel in half horizontally.
  • Spread cut sides with cream cheese. 
  • Over cheese on one bagel half, layer cucumber, smoked salmon, red onion, and capers.
  • Set remaining bagel half, cream cheese side down, over filling.

Nutrition Value: 680 kcal / 100g carbohydrate / 34g protein / 7.8g fat

8. Anabolic French Toast 

If you’re into bodybuilding, chances are that anything with “anabolic” in its name arouses your interest. The anabolic French toast is delicious, satiating, and easy to cook.

Anabolic French Toast
Anabolic French Toast

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Milk of choice (see notes for options)
  • Sugar-free syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon 
  • Salt
  • Bread of choice
  • Butter or oil (for pan)

Directions:

  • Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, sugar-free syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon in a baking dish or bowl.
  • Coat each bread slice with egg/milk mixture (top and bottom). Make sure each slice of bread is well coated.
  • On medium/high heat, add oil or butter to the skillet, frying pan, or griddle. Place bread slices in a single layer in the pan and cook until golden brown on each side (approximately 2-3 minutes).

Nutrition Value: 356 kcal / 29g carbohydrate / 16g protein / 19g fat

Cookie Protein Bars
Cookie Protein Bars

Are you someone who likes eating breakfast while on the go? If so, the cookie dough protein bar recipe will soon become your go-to breakfast option.

Ingredients:

  • Creamy almond butter
  • Coconut oil melted
  • Maple syrup
  • Protein powder vanilla flavored
  • Coconut flour
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Maca powder
  • Cacao nibs or chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Start with preparing and measuring all ingredients using measuring cups. Line a 13×5” loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor.
  • Mix at high speed until everything is blended. The mixture should resemble a cookie dough texture. If it’s too crumbly (dry), add a teaspoon of water until you get a nice sticky texture.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.
  • Add in chocolate chips and give one last mix.
  • Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Press the mixture with a spatula until flat. 
  • Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm.
  • Gently lift the mixture out of the pan. Slice into six bars. 

Note: Since this recipe requires some time to prepare, you can make the protein bars in bulk and store them in the fridge.

Nutrition Value: 285 kcal / 14g carbohydrate / 14g protein / 21g fat

Related: Best tasting protein bars

10. Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Berry Smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

If you’re always running late for school or work, the chocolate, peanut butter, and berry smoothie will help you meet your daily bulking calorie goal without compromising on the quality of food sources. It is easy to prepare and consume and will keep your feeling satiated for a long time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain (full-fat)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup peanut butter powder
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon raw cocoa powder
  • 1 banana

Directions:

  • Remove stems from strawberries. Peel banana.
  • Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Note: You could add a scoop of chocolate-flavored protein powder to the mix if you want to boost your protein intake.

Nutrition Value: 660 kcal / 70g carbohydrate / 30g protein / 35g fat

Wrapping Up

Bulking is easier said than done. If you are serious about gaining muscle mass and strength, you should allocate at least 8-12 weeks to the bulking phase.

A clean bulk requires you to follow a strict diet regimen that includes nutrient-dense whole foods. The bulking breakfast ideas above will help you get a head start in your transformation journey.

References

  1. WISHNOFSKY M. Caloric equivalents of gained or lost weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 1958 Sep-Oct;6(5):542-6. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/6.5.542. PMID: 13594881.
  2. Abdel-Aal el-SM, Akhtar H, Zaheer K, Ali R. Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 9;5(4):1169-85. doi: 10.3390/nu5041169. PMID: 23571649; PMCID: PMC3705341.
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