When you first start bulking, you may be trying to put together a meal plan or get an idea of the kind of foods you will be eating. During this phase, it is important to choose meals that not only have the right nutrition and are high in calories but also are meals you like!
This is because if you don’t like the meals, it will be very hard for you to commit to them for any serious amount of time. For that reason, today we will be discussing whether popular foods like pasta are good for bulking.
We’ve chosen pasta because it can be prepared in a long list of ways which means there is more than likely one form of pasta that you enjoy and can incorporate into your diet, but does that mean you should?
Is Pasta Good for Bulking
Pasta is a great bulking food and is one of the best carbohydrates for a bulking phase. Pasta comes in a variety of shapes, textures, and nutrient splits and this versatility makes it a great option for pairing with high-calorie meats and sauces for an all round bulking meal.
What Is Pasta?
Pasta is an Italian ingredient that can be dated back as far as the 4th century and since then has been a staple in many households across the world. This food is high in starch which results in it being packed with carbohydrates. This is great as it supplies us with energy and promotes muscle repair.
Pasta is mainly made up of flour, eggs, salt, and water which is then formed into sheets or other shapes. It is then cooked in boiling water where it softens and is ready for eating. It will normally be ready in around 10 minutes.
This food is also very popular as it can be incorporated into many different meals. Not only are there many different shapes of pasta, but there’s also a wide variety of different sauces, meats, and vegetables that it can be cooked with.
This means it can have a more frequent occurrence in your diet as you will not get bored of it as quickly. This is something that is great and maybe even essential when bulking in order to maintain or increase your appetite.
How Many Calories are in Pasta?
Pasta is a great ingredient to use in your meals as it is packed with calories, here are its exact calories per 100g of cooked pasta.
As you can see 100g of pasta contains roughly 131 calories, which isn’t a huge amount but it’s definitely enough to make it a great component of a bulking meal.
Depending on how hungry you are, a normal amount of pasta to have while bulking would maybe be 200-300g which can result in up to 390 calories.
The reason why pasta is so great for bulking is the calories within the added ingredients during preparation. For example, cheese sauce has around 110 calories per 1/4 cup which means by mixing this with your pasta will result in a much higher calorie meal.
Why Is Pasta Good for Bulking?
From a nutrition perspective, pasta is great for bulking.
It has a high carb content which is great for hard gainers, alongside that it even has some extra protein content. Per 100g of cooked pasta, there are around 25g of carbs and 5g of protein. This is not to mention the calories that were spoken about earlier that can bring you to around 350 per portion.
This proves pasta’s great nutrition and shows why it can work brilliantly on a weight gaining diet.
Another great thing about pasta is that it is very cheap and easy to make.
In most supermarkets, 1lb of supermarket brand dry pasta will cost around $1 which works out at around 30 cents per serving. This is extremely cheap for a main component of a meal but shows how affordable and accessible this can be for students or anyone bulking on a budget.
Source – Statista
Another great thing about pasta is the ability to eat it on the go.
Once measured out, pasta only takes around 10 minutes to cook which is the perfect amount of time to prepare the rest of your ingredients. Then once your pasta is fully prepared, it can be boxed up for different days of the week, different meals, or any kind of preparation to fit your meal plan.
This can be eaten on the bus, at work, or in school and is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule that is not often at home during the week.
I wouldn’t say it could be classed as a bulking snack but it’s definitely a convenient food choice when bulking on the go!
Best Way to Eat Pasta when Bulking
As mentioned earlier, the list of dishes that revolve around pasta is endless. Here are some examples to give you some inspiration.
A very common pasta across the world is tomato pasta. This is a great meal as the tomato sauce is vegetable-based and is a great source of vitamin C, A, and K. Alongside this, you can add things such as sausage meat or ground beef into your pasta which turns the dish into a protein-rich meal.
If you are looking to get a few more calories out of a pasta dish, then look no further than cheese and tuna pasta. Commonly known as mac n cheese, this dish is jam-packed with calories due to the cheese sauce. 1/4 cup of cheese sauce contains around 110 calories so when added to pasta can make a huge difference.
This is not to mention that tuna is not only very nutritious due to its fats and proteins, but is also highly calorific when left in a bit of the oil from the tin. This again really helps to boost the overall calories of the dish, making it perfect for any hard gainers.
This isn’t necessarily a “clean bulking” meal though!
Related – Dirty bulking foods
Pasta Alternatives for Bulking
Whether it’s down to allergic or personal reasons, for some people pasta isn’t an option when it comes to incorporating new foods into a diet. Therefore we are going to discuss some possible substitutes to hopefully give you the same results.
The first alternative we will mention today is brown rice. This is a popular alternative as it has a generally lower calorie count and carb content making it more suitable for a low carb diet.
Related – Is rice good for bulking
It is a healthier option than white rice due to it being more nutrient-dense. Brown rice works very well with chicken thighs or salmon to help you work towards your daily protein targets. The one negative is that brown rice is slightly more expensive which is definitely something to take into consideration if you are on a budget.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option, then look no further than gluten-free pasta.
This is the perfect substitute as it offers very similar nutritional values and will bring the same results that regular pasta will. Not to mention, you can enjoy it with all the same ingredients as regular pasta whether that be beef, chicken, or tuna.
However, one thing to consider is that gluten-free pasta is substantially more expensive than regular pasta. This may make it less suitable for students or people on budgets.
When you take a look at all the points we have covered, pasta shows great qualities as a bulking food, and is something to be considered.
It is very versatile, meaning with pasta you can have chicken, beef, or fish with a variety of sauces such as a tomato sauce or a white sauce. With this, you can use pasta in many meals in a week while still changing up the meal so you don’t get bored.
Pasta can be found in near enough every food shop and is very cheap with as little as $1 per 1lb.
If the pasta doesn’t work for you then we’ve mentioned some alternatives for you to try that will hopefully bring the same results. Pasta is an all-around brilliant ingredient to use within your bulking meals and should be on anyone’s shopping list.
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