5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (2024)

Jump to:

  • Is Chicken and Rice a Healthy Meal?
  • 1. Jerk inspired Chicken and Rice
  • 2. Chicken Fried Rice
  • 3. Cajun Chicken and Rice
  • 4. Chicken and Mushrooms with Brown Rice
  • 5. Soy-Glazed Chicken with Rice Salad

Chicken and rice dishes are the nutrition staple of many a gym bro's Tupperware box. But, it doesn't have to be the same sad boiled chicken with some dry rice taking centre stage. Like steak and eggs, chicken and rice dishes should be held in the same regard. Packed full of the essential macronutrients (and micro), it's a Men's Health must.

MH have handpicked the very best chicken and rice recipes for you to try when you're next looking for your post workout fix.

Is Chicken and Rice a Healthy Meal?

Chicken and rice dishes are the perfect healthy addition to your meal plan. Here's why:

5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (1)

  1. Rich in protein: Chicken is a rich source of high-quality protein, which is crucial for muscle repair, growth, and immune function.
  2. Carbohydrates to fuel and refuel: Rice offers carbohydrates, providing a release of energy to help fuel your workouts and refuel after.
  3. Low in fat: When prepared without excessive added fats, chicken and rice dishes can be relatively low in saturated fat, promoting heart health.
  4. Variety: They are versatile dishes that can be customised with various spices, herbs, and vegetables to suit individual tastes.
  5. Easy to digest: Both chicken and rice are generally easy on the digestive system, making them suitable for people with sensitive stomachs and great before workouts.
  6. Budget-friendly: Chicken and rice are some of the ingredients on the more affordable side, making these dishes cost-effective meal options.
  7. Quick and easy to prepare: Chicken and rice dishes can be relatively quick and easy to prepare, perfect for busy schedules.

Convinced? Try MH's top 5 chicken and rice dishes which are all high in protein and nutritionally balanced.

1. Jerk inspired Chicken and Rice

5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (2)

Courtesy of fitmencook.com


Servings: 3 servings

Prep: 5min

Total: 20min

Calories per serving: 650 cal


Jerk Chicken

  • 1lb chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Jerk inspired rub:
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Lemony Coconut Rice with Peas

  • 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 can (13.5oz) lite coconut milk
  • 3oz water
  • 3/4 cup frozen
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Quick Roasted Broccoli

  • 2 broccoli crowns, florets and some stems (about 7 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste


Jerk Chicken

  1. Season chicken with oil and the jerk-inspired rub, add a pinch of sea salt & pepper and rub on the chicken, ensuring every piece is coated.
  2. Set a carbon steel or cast-iron pan on medium high heat. Once hot, spray with avocado oil and add the chicken. Let the chicken rest in the skillet untouched for 2 – 3 minutes to get a good sear. Then move the chicken around the pan and cook it through, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  3. Set aside and prep the other items.

Lemony Coconut Rice with Peas

  1. Add the rinsed rice, canned coconut milk and water to a pot. Set the pot on medium high to bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, a gentle simmer, then add the top and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, between 15 and 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the top then set the frozen peas on top of the rice, then close the lid again. The steam from the rice will thaw the peas.
  4. Once the peas are completely or almost thawed, remove the top, then add lemon zest and lemon juice. Fluff the rice with a fork as you mix in the peas and season to taste with sea salt & pepper.

Quick Roasted Broccoli

  1. Set oven to 420F/216C.
  2. Toss the broccoli florets and pieces in oil and the seasonings.
  3. Spread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes until crisp tender and the edges have been slightly charred.

2. Chicken Fried Rice

5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (3)

Courtesy of Delish.com


Servings: 6 servings

Prep: 10 mins

Total: 40 mins

Calories per serving: 453


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger
  • 4 c. cooked white rice (preferably leftover)
  • 3/4 c. frozen peas
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then add to skillet, and cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and let rest 5 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. To the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add onion and carrots and cook until soft, 5 minutes, Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in rice and peas and cook until warmed through, 2 minutes.
  3. Push rice to one side of skillet and add remaining tablespoon sesame oil to other side. Add egg and stir until almost fully cooked, then fold eggs into rice. Add chicken back to skillet with soy sauce and green onions and stir to combine.

3. Cajun Chicken and Rice

5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (4)

Courtesy of Delish.com


Servings: 6

Prep: 25 mins

Total: 1 hr

Calories per serving: 270


  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 slice bacon
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 c. lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 c. long-grain white rice
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • Parsley


  1. In bowl, combine paprika, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Toss chicken with half of spice mixture.
    1. In 6-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon on medium-high 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel.
    2. To same pot, add oil, then chicken. Cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.
    3. Add onion, red pepper, celery, and remaining spices to pot. Cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add tomato paste. Cook 30 seconds, stirring. Stir in broth, rice, peas, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to maintain simmer.
    4. Stir in chicken and any juices.
    5. Cover; simmer 27 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked (165 degrees F). Top with parsley and bacon.

    4. Chicken and Mushrooms with Brown Rice

    5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (5)

    Courtesy of Delish.com


    Servings: 4

    Prep: 10 mins

    Total: 45 mins

    Calories per serving: 340


    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 1/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
    • 1 package sliced cremini mushrooms
    • 2 medium stalks celery
    • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 can chicken broth
    • 1 c. instant brown rice
    • 1/2 c. dry white wine
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
    • 8 baby summer squash (calories based on a serving without squash)


    1. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add chicken and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn chicken and cook, covered, 5 more minutes. Transfer to plate.
    2. To same skillet, add mushrooms, celery, and thyme; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Add broth, rice, wine, salt, and black pepper; heat to boiling.
    3. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 12 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced with knife, and rice is cooked. Serve with squash.

    5. Soy-Glazed Chicken with Rice Salad

    5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (6)

    Courtesy of Delish.com


    Servings: 4 servings

    Prep: 20 mins

    Total: 1 hr

    Calories per servings: 565


    • 3/4 c. long-grain white rice
    • 1 1/4 c. water
    • 3 tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
    • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
    • 4 chicken-leg quarters
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp. Hot pepper sauce
    • 10 oz. frozen cut broccoli
    • 5 radishes
    • 1/2 small red onion


    1. Prepare grill for direct grilling on medium.
    2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat rice and water to boiling on high. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cover and cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with fork; cool completely.
    3. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat soy sauce, sugar, and 2 teaspoons vinegar to simmering on medium-high, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.
    4. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon pepper; grill, covered, 25 minutes, turning over once. Brush soy mixture over chicken; grill, uncovered, 5 to 6 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part reads 165 degrees F, turning and brushing with soy mixture frequently.
    5. In large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, hot sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until blended. Add broccoli, radishes, red onion, and cooled rice; stir to combine. Serve alongside chicken.

    5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (7)

    Kate Neudecker

    Kate is a fitness writer for Men’s Health UK where she contributes regular workouts, training tips and nutrition guides. She has a post graduate diploma in Sports Performance Nutrition and before joining Men’s Health she was a nutritionist, fitness writer and personal trainer with over 5k hours coaching on the gym floor. Kate has a keen interest in volunteering for animal shelters and when she isn’t lifting weights in her garden, she can be found walking her rescue dog.

    5 Muscle Building Chicken and Rice Dishes to Bolster Lunchtime Gains (2024)


    Can I eat chicken and rice everyday to build muscle? ›

    The high protein of the chicken will help rebuild damaged muscle fibers while the carbohydrate content of the rice will replace muscle glycogen levels and refuel. Perfect for a post-workout meal. However, it is not a very smart decision to eat this combination for a long duration in a repetitive manner.

    How much chicken and rice should I eat to gain muscle? ›

    You could also have fish, chicken, or turkey along with rice for carbs. Start with six ounces of meat (cooked) and one cup of rice. Over time, work up to eight ounces of meat and two cups of rice. The point of this isn't so much to increase caloric intake as it is to maximize timing.

    What are 5 muscle-building foods? ›

    Muscle building foods for gaining lean muscle
    • Eggs. Eggs contain high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline ( 1 ). ...
    • Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. ...
    • Chicken breast. ...
    • Greek yogurt. ...
    • Tuna. ...
    • Lean beef. ...
    • Shrimp. ...
    • Soybeans.
    May 11, 2022

    Is 5 meals A Day good for Building muscle? ›

    In the end, gaining muscle, gaining mass, or losing weight, all depend on the total calories consumed. Whether you get the desired calories and nutrition from five meals or two meals, it will have the same effect on your body, and you will continue to progress with your goals regardless of your meal frequency.

    What foods do bodybuilders avoid? ›

    Bodybuilding is about looking muscular and lean. To help you reach this goal, you need to eat nutrient-rich foods with lots of protein while limiting alcohol and sugary or deep-fried foods.

    Why do bodybuilders eat chicken and rice everyday? ›

    Why do bodybuilders eat chicken and rice? The main reason bodybuilders eat rice and chicken is because it's cheap, clean, and incredibly good for building muscle. After a workout, your goal should be to fuel your muscles with protein and carbs.

    What foods help you get jacked? ›

    12 Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle Fast
    • Beef. While red meat should be eaten in moderation, animal foods have complete proteins with all essential amino acids. ...
    • Salmon & Tuna. ...
    • Eggs. ...
    • Greek Yogurt & Cheese. ...
    • Shrimp. ...
    • Leafy Greens. ...
    • Avocados. ...
    • Nuts & Peanut Butter.
    Jan 14, 2019

    What is the timing of meals for muscle gain? ›

    Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles. Protein is there to help build and repair. Get a combination of the protein and carbs in your body 1 to 4 hours pre-workout and within approximately 60 minutes post-workout.

    Why do bodybuilders eat white rice? ›

    Rich in carbs, it helps replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores, leading to faster recovery. For many bodybuilders, rice is their primary carb source; they eat in the morning, before and after training, and even before bedtime when bulking up. This grain isn't just versatile but nutritious too.

    Which fruit is best for muscle gain? ›

    Bananas are incredibly nutritious fruits for muscle gain, and incredibly easily available from an Indian market perspective. They're rich in water and carbs, both of which have consistently been shown to help improve exercise performance and recovery; which makes them a great, post-workout fruit.

    What food builds the most muscle? ›

    The 25 Best Muscle Building Foods
    • Salmon. As well as a huge helping of complete protein (around 20g per 100g serve), salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which optimise nutrient partitioning by reducing inflammation. ...
    • Soy beans. ...
    • Pineapple. ...
    • Greek yogurt. ...
    • Garlic. ...
    • Turkey breast. ...
    • Kidney beans. ...
    • Tuna.
    May 26, 2023

    Why do bodybuilders eat 5 meals? ›

    Eat More Meals More Often

    If you're active and train hard, you likely burn a lot of calories each day. It's very difficult to eat clean foods that replace all the energy you've spent in just three meals. That's why bodybuilders—competitive and recreational alike—eat 5-8 meals per day to support mass-building.

    What do bodybuilders eat everyday? ›

    Bodybuilders typically have protein at every meal, some consisting of shakes. Full meals will usually consist of a lean animal protein such as a grilled chicken breast or piece of fish, vegetables, and perhaps a starch such as sweet potatoes or rice.

    How much protein should I eat to gain muscle? ›

    To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

    How many chicken breast should I eat a day to build muscle? ›

    To build muscle, you need at least 80 grams of protein each day if you are a woman and 100 if you are a man. That means you need to have about 500 grams of chicken breast or 500 to 600 grams of fish if those are your only protein sources.

    Is Too Much rice bad for Building muscle? ›

    Similar to weight loss, caloric intake is the most important factor when it comes to gaining lean mass. However, quality carbohydrates from foods like rice can support bulking efforts a few different ways. Higher carb intake typically supports more glycogen storage in muscles, which helps fuel your workouts (20).

    Is chicken and rice best for gains? ›

    You get a healthy dose of protein with the chicken and a good source of carbs with the rice providing for great gains to satiety, growth, and recovery, and the ability to fuel your body with a good source of carbs.

    How much protein can you get from chicken and rice? ›

    100g of Chicken and Rice contains 8g of protein, which is about the same as 1.3 eggs, 0.3 chicken breasts, or 0.6 cups (156g) of black beans.

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