Protein is an essential macronutrient and one of the best ingredients if you’re worried about increasing muscle mass. It is true that you can eat meat and fish to get energy and high-quality protein. The thing is, those essential foods are not as cheap as they used to be a few years ago. Are there other alternatives? Of course there are. Learn how to choose them and get the best out of foods for a reasonable price.
Take a look at these cheap, high-protein ingredients that can be part of your shopping list:
1. Tuna. This food can contain about 30-40g of protein per can.
2. Eggs. For every 100g, an egg contains about 7-13g of protein. Eggs are the second best protein source right after whey protein. They have a high biological value and are full of vitamins and minerals. Practically half of the egg’s protein is in the whites and the rest of it in the yolk. You can choose to eat the whole egg or just the whites, accordingly to your goals and the number of calories you can take in daily.
Here’s an alternative.
Egg albumen. It contains about 11,8g of protein per serving spoon and just powdered egg whites. If it’s of good quality, 80% of its content or more is pure protein. Its advantage is the fact that it is slowly absorbed by the body and the feeling of satiety it causes for more hours. It is a low-cost alternative, considering that one pot lasts more days than an egg carton.
3. Peanuts. For every 100g of peanuts, you can find about 30g of protein. Besides being a great quality protein, peanuts have minerals like zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, fiber, antioxidants and polisaturated fat (good).
4. Chicken. For every 100g, you’ve got about 29g of protein. Chicken is an excellent protein source and one of the cheapest. It’s a good choice for any meal during the day. Eat at least one serving of chicken a day (150-300g).
5. Yoghurt. For every 200ml, yoghurt contains 6g of protein. You can choose to buy 1L yoghurt bottles, because they’re high in protein and have a good quality/price ratio. Drink one or two glasses a day.
6. Lentils. For every 100g, you can find about 26g of protein. Besides that, lentils contain vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, folic acid and are a natural source of fiber.
7. Chicken breast. For every 100g of meat, there’s 25g of protein.
8. Vegetal, rice, soy and oat-based drinks. They’re a good alternative to cow milk and provide 13g of protein per glass. Another alternative is non-sugar almond milk. With about 30-40 kcal per glass, this milk is a great option to keep the ideal weight.
9. Liver. One of the best protein sources. For every 100g you’ll find 24.5g of protein.
Take a look at these 4 low cost, high protein options
Natural Yoghurt with nuts
40g of nuts
1 natural solid yoghurt
Curd cheese with corn cookies
1 little curd cheese
2 corn cookies
Turkey ham sandwich
1 mixed-grain bread
2 slices of turkey ham
1 Greek yoghurt
½ teacup of sliced peaches
1 teaspoon of linseed tea
1 handful of ice cubes
Use a mixer to blend all of these ingredients until you get a creamy texture.
In addition to these low-cost solutions, don’t forget about protein bars, whey protein shakes, casein, pre-workouts, etc. They may be low-cost choices for those short meals before and after working out. It is a good way of getting the same nutrients, but in a clean way, without other substances your body doesn’t need.
Depending on the supplement brand, each serving can have more or less protein, usually around 20g-28g of protein for every 30g of the supplement. If you take, for instance, 30g a day of a 1kg pot, you’ll have protein for about 20 days.
Although protein is a clean protein source, that is, low in fat and sugar, practical and with a reasonable cost per serving, compared to other foods, it should be taken as an additional supplement as not as a food replacement.
N/d, Proteína Low Cost, Men’s Health, pág. 37, February 2014, translation and adaptation of the original version
Fernando Ribeiro, As melhores fontes de proteína, 29th of July 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, 10 Fontes de proteínas super baratas para quem faz musculação, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
Nick Hutchings, Low cost protein-rich foods, 5th of December 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version
Ian Cohen, Cheap Sources of Healthy Protein, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
Vince Del Monte, Penny Protein: Protein-Rich Meals for Bodybuilders on a budget, 9th of January 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version