7 Muscle-Building Meals for a Keto Bodybuilding Diet

By: Julie Hand
February 25, 2020

7 Muscle-Building Meals for a Keto Bodybuilding Diet

  • You can build muscle while staying within your keto nutrition goals.
  • Stay within your standard macro ratio, but up your caloric intake. Eat enough protein, but not too much — excess protein may be converted to sugar and kick you out of ketosis.
  • Whip up these seven recipes for delicious keto bodybuilding meals every day of the week.

Wondering if it’s possible to build muscle on a keto version of your bodybuilding meal plan? Good question. After all, some people think the way to bigger, bulkier biceps means eating more carbs. That’s tough, if not impossible, on a standard keto diet, where you’re typically aiming for less than 50 grams of carbs per day.

So, how do you do it? Follow these keto bodybuilding diet guidelines below, then check out seven keto bodybuilding meals for maximum muscle gain.

Eating guidelines for the keto bodybuilder

Eat more of what you already consume. Maintain the same proportions — approximately 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs — but increase your overall calorie intake so your muscles have fuel to grow.

Manipulate your food intake by eating more fat to gain more muscle, rather than playing around with carbs. For better performance in the gym, remember to consume the cleanest food sources you can find:

  • Grass-fed meats
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Grass-fed butter and ghee
  • Quality fats like pure MCT oil and coconut oil
  • Fibrous vegetables like lettuce, celery and broccoli

Consume enough protein — but not too much. On a keto bodybuilding meal plan, get sufficient protein to prompt your muscles to grow through a process called protein synthesis.[1] A 2011 review of research found that the ideal amount of protein for bodybuilders was 0.82 grams per pound of body weight.[2] Any more than that didn’t lead to any more muscle mass.

What’s more, too much protein on a keto diet will convert protein to sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis, bumping you out of ketosis.[3]

7 keto bodybuilding meal ideas

Here, you’ll find seven keto main dishes and side dishes designed to support your efforts at the gym. The main recipes are high in fat and moderate in protein, while the side dish recipes are high in fat with sufficient veggies to fill your plate. Mix and match these recipes for dinner throughout the week to feel keto-strong.

Click the name to jump to the recipe:

  1. Steak and Eggs with Roasted Broccoli Florets
  2. Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak with Mashed Turnips
  3. No-Mayo Cilantro Chicken Salad with Keto Bacon and Zucchini Muffins
  4. Keto Baked Salmon with Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
  5. Prosciutto-Wrapped Avocado Egg with Roasted Carrot Soup
  6. French Roast Beef with Sautéed Red Chard
  7. Bacon-Wrapped Lobster Chunks with Green Beans

1. Steak and Eggs

Steak, eggs and avocado 
Image via Tastaholics

Get a double dose of protein and fat by combining keto favorites — steak and eggs. This keto power breakfast is simple but flavorful, and works for any meal of the day. Tip: The best breakfast steak cuts are flank, skirt and sirloin.

Side: Roasted Broccoli Florets

Roasted broccoli florets

Image via Ruled Me

Flavorful and easy to make, this keto broccoli recipe adds vegetable bounty to your plate, without adding much in the way of fat, protein or net carbs. Pure and simple, roasting broccoli is a delicious way to transform this vegetable and bring out new textures and

2. Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak

Sliced seared steak

Image via Ruled Me

Ah yes, a keto bodybuilder’s dream: a ribeye steak cooked in bacon fat. Searing this steak at low heat (less than 250°F) makes this recipe totally Bulletproof, as far as cooking methods go. The steak comes out tender, laden in quality fats and protein that will rev up your bodybuilding efforts for sure.

Side: Mashed Turnips

Bowl of mashed turnips

This keto turnip recipe adds some hearty, cruciferous vegetables to your plate, while still keeping carb intake low (5.5 grams of net carbs). It’s simple and easy to prepare with grass-fed butter and pink Himalayan sea salt.

3. No-Mayo Cilantro Chicken Salad

Cilantro chicken salad

Image via Meatified

As a bodybuilder, your best friends in this keto chicken salad recipe are the chicken and coconut cream, which ramp up your protein and fat intake by the mouthful. Mayo-free due to a secret ingredient, you’ll just have to click on the recipe link above to learn more.

Side: Keto Bacon and Zucchini Muffins

Bacon and zucchini muffins on cutting board
Two muffins clock in at 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat, making this recipe a great option for dinner or on-the-go snacking. This recipe reheats well and tastes great cold, so make a big batch at the beginning of the week and keep these muffins in the fridge.

4. Keto Baked Salmon With Lemon and Butter

Baked salmon with lemon

Image via Diet Doctor

This keto salmon recipe tastes just as good as it sounds — lemony and buttery. It’ll take about 30 minutes to make, though will taste out of this world. For the biggest nutritional punch, opt for wild-caught salmon over farmed.

Side: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shaved brussels sprouts salad

Brussels sprouts are lower in carbs and good sources of folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber — all of which make this keto salad recipe delicious and nutritious. The vinaigrette seals the deal and proves just how easy it is to whip together a simple, yet flavorful dressing at home.

5. Prosciutto-Wrapped Avocado Egg

Wrapped avocado egg

Image via Paleo Hacks

This savory layered keto egg recipe combines crispy uncured prosciutto, creamy avocado and tender poached eggs. This is a great recipe to bring on the go because you can enjoy it any time of the day — whether you like eating before or after hitting the gym.

Side: Roasted Carrot Soup

Bowl of roasted carrot soup

This Roasted Carrot soup recipe is best paired with a lower-carb main course because it contains about 9 grams of net carbs on its own. Remember you can consume up to 5 percent of your food from carbs on keto. If you need to up your overall calorie intake while bodybuilding, aim to get more fat in your diet. This soup recipe will help with that, as it contains 16.5 grams of quality fats from Brain Octane MCT oil, grass-fed ghee and coconut milk.

6. French Roast Beef – Cold-Cut Style

Sliced roast beef

Image via The Healthy Foodie

This keto roast beef recipe will delight you if you need to maximize your protein intake to bulk up. It’s a great recipe to make on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Pair it with Collagen Keto Bread for a delicious roast beef sandwich that won’t wreck your goals.

Side: Sautéed Swiss Chard

Sautéed swiss chard

Image via Genius Kitchen

On a day when you’re in a crunch in the kitchen, you’ll be happy you have this swiss chard recipe. It only takes 15 minutes and tastes as delicious as it looks beautiful on your plate. There’s no denying that you’re working hard on your bodybuilding goals, but you certainly don’t need to deprive yourself of nature’s bounty along the way. This recipe makes it easy to find that sustainable balance.

7. Bacon-Wrapped Lobster Chunks

Bacon-wrapped lobster chunks

Image via The Nourished Caveman

We get it: You’ve been going gangbusters in the gym and need a treat. If you’re craving something gourmet after all that hard work, this keto bacon-wrapped lobster recipe fits the bill. For a truly unique treat, dip the bacon-wrapped lobster chunks in the homemade garlic aioli that supplements this recipe.

Side: Keto Green Beans with Bacon and Herbs

Keto green beans are even easier to prep than green bean casserole, and pack every bite with pieces of crisp bacon. (Paleo and Whole30-friendly)

When you want to be green, but still add a little extra protein and fat to your meal, lean on this keto green bean dish. It’s simple, yet totally satisfying thanks to crispy slices of pasture-raised bacon.

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