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What Should I Eat to Gain Muscle After 60

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A muscular older adult man flexing his muscles.

You might have hung up your sports shoes after running the marathon of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your muscles sprint-ready. What you eat has never been so significant for those who want to pump up those biceps or just maintain a sturdy physique so you stay active with friends.

Even if you aren’t looking to break personal records at the gym, you need more protein as you age. But for people over 60 looking to gain muscle, you’ll want to eat power foods like eggs, fatty fish, nuts, meat, and dairy products.

Though post-60 meal plans must indeed adapt to new needs, the goal remains the same—to eat well and prosper with good food and exercise.

Protein for Muscle Building

Our digestive system isn’t the only thing that gets a bit more sluggish with time. Our once-efficient muscle-building machinery also starts to lose a step. Because of this, protein becomes even more critical for older adults. The average 50-year-old needs 55–70 grams of protein each day, while those over 70 should aim for 70–85 grams daily.

A diet rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients is the foundation for building and preserving muscle mass. It also enhances your body’s ability to recover from exercise and promotes overall health.

Aim to incorporate nutritious foods that offer sustained energy, sufficient dietary fiber, and are low in added sugars and unhealthy fats. This balance encourages muscle growth without adding unwanted pounds.

List of 10 Muscle-Building Foods


Salmon is a lean, mean muscle machine full of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Its anti-inflammatory properties help speed up muscle recovery, keeping you sprightly after a workout while providing heart-healthy benefits.

Enjoy a grilled salmon fillet for dinner, or add it to a lunchtime salad for both flavor and a fitness kick.

Greek Yogurt

High in protein and low in sugar, Greek yogurt is a powerhouse for muscle repair and growth. It also contains probiotics to support gut health, which may improve nutrient absorption and digestion.

Pair Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and berries for a delicious post-workout snack or a protein-packed breakfast.


Quinoa is a nearly complete protein, meaning it contains some amount of all 9 essential amino acids necessary for muscle maintenance and growth. It’s also high in fiber and packed with antioxidants.

Use quinoa as a base for a protein bowl with your favorite veggies and sauce, or mix it into a stir-fry for an extra protein punch.

Chicken Breast

Grilled chicken fillets on a charred wooden board.

Chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein, helping to build lean muscle tissue. It’s also a blank canvas for flavor and can be prepared in numerous ways to keep meals interesting.

Grill, bake, or pan-sear a seasoned chicken breast and enjoy it with a side of vegetables for a muscle meal you can’t go wrong with.


Beans are a fantastic source of plant-based protein and are high in fiber, which supports digestion and keeps you feeling full. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron, which helps with oxygen transport and energy production in muscles.

Create a hearty bean soup, add them to salads, or make a bean salsa to top grilled meats.


Spinach is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie leafy green, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its high nitrate content may improve muscle efficiency, making any workout easier on your muscles.

Add fresh spinach to smoothies, omelets, or salads for a health boost that Popeye would approve.


Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein and contains all essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of iron and calcium, both of which aid in muscle function and health.

Tofu tends to take on the flavors of what it’s cooked with. Marinate and grill tofu for a simple and protein-packed meal. It also works well in stir-fries and curries.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, a slow-digesting protein that’s great for overnight muscle recovery. It’s also a good source of calcium, which is essential for muscle contractions.

Enjoy cottage cheese as a snack, side, or light meal. It pairs well with fruit, nuts, or can be sprinkled with herbs for a savory twist.

Nuts & Nut Butters

Nuts and nut butters are calorie-dense and packed with healthy fats and protein, supporting muscle growth and providing long-lasting energy. They also contain vitamins and minerals that support overall health.

Snack on a handful of nuts, or spread nut butter on toast or apples for a nutritious and satisfying treat.

Lean Beef

Lean beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein, iron, and zinc—all of which are essential for muscle growth and repair. It’s also a source of creatine, which may improve muscle strength and exercise performance.

Opt for lean cuts of beef like sirloin or tenderloin, and enjoy it grilled, roasted, or added to soups and stews for a hearty and muscle-building meal.

Building Strength & Wellness with Exercise

Eating well is half the battle—the other half is consistent physical activity. Regular exercise, such as weight training and resistance exercises, is essential for maximizing the benefits of these foods. Aim for a mix of strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility exercises to support your overall fitness and mobility.

Remember to start slowly and consult a fitness professional to develop a safe and effective exercise plan that meets your needs.

Stay Active in All Life’s Stages

By focusing on a diet rich in these muscle-building foods and committing to regular and varied physical activity, you can give your body the support it needs for healthy aging. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and every meal is a step forward in maintaining the strength and energy to live life to the fullest.

If you’re interested in exploring a community where an active lifestyle is embraced, from the dinner table to the gym, we’ve got you covered! Bella Mar Royal Palm Beach believes in fostering a well-rounded lifestyle. Explore our group exercise classes and enjoy meals as delicious as they are nutritious. We can’t wait to see you, so contact us today!

Written by Angela Clark

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