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10 Affordable Ways to Add Protein to Your Diet

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro Contributer
May 30, 2014
It’s pretty hard to have the best of both worlds. If you want to put on muscle, you have to eat a lot of protein. And that usually means that you have to reach deep into your pocket at the grocery store to get it. Usually…but not always.

Not all of us have the luxury of either getting certain food and/or supplements for free, so one has to become resourceful in order to put together a good week’s worth of quality food high not only in protein, but also the right type of protein, too.

While you may not personally like the taste of some of these foods, here’s a list of 10 options to consider:

1 – WHEY PROTEIN – We’ll get the lone supplement in this list out of the way first. When you go to a supplement store, you’ll see a bunch of different types on the shelves. The most common and - more importantly, cheapest - is whey, which gives you on the average 20-to-24 grams per scoop. Don’t be overly concerned with the brand and just because one is more expensive does not mean that it is necessarily better.

Don’t just be satisfied using protein powder for in between meal shakes. Sprinkle it on oatmeal and use it to make homemade protein pancakes, too.

– If you’re going to drink protein shakes, this is the perfect choice to mix them with. Milk is the oldest health drink for people looking to add muscle and it contains approximately 30 grams of protein in a liter. Definitely not the best choice if you are lactose intolerant, though. You can use almond milk in that case so you can still have the taste of protein shakes, but you will sacrifice the protein in the milk, though.

3 – COTTAGE CHEESE – An acquired taste, for sure, but a good source of cheap protein that can be eaten in between larger meals if you have the stomach for it. Sure, it contains a decent amount of protein, but what makes it special is that it is of the casein variety. This is a slow digesting type and perfect for a small snack before bed so that it stays in your system throughout a full night’s sleep. If you buy casein protein powder, it can be pretty expensive. So take the easier way and get the job done – if you can.

4 – GREEK YOGURT – Double the amount of protein than regular yogurt and it tastes just as good, too. And don’t worry too much about a big drop off from the top shelf to the store brand, either. They both taste fine and you can go with plain if you want to keep it cleaner. Add some granola and/or raisins to turn a bowl into a small but filling meal.

5 – TUNA
– Each can contains a whopping 25 grams of protein, as well as that much sought after omega-3 fatty acids for your heart. But choose the tuna in water instead of oil.

6 – NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER – Good if you keep it limited to a few tablespoons a day. You get four grams of protein in each, so do the math and don’t dive in head first…even though it’s tough not to.

7 – BEANS – The amount of protein depends on the type, obviously, but you can get a lot for a few bucks. Beans are also a great source of fiber and help keep your insulin levels under control and that means that your body begins to burn off fat for fuel.

8 – EGGS – Buy them by the dozen and eat the entire egg, as the yolk contains three of the six grams each one has to offer. The yolk also has vitamins A, D and E.

9 – GROUND BEEF – Red meat may have some of the ‘bad stuff,’ but the tradeoff is well worth it. A pound contains approximately 70 grams of protein and is not that expensive when you purchase the 80/20 kind. Sure, the 95% lean meat option has much less fat, but the price tag rises as the lean percentage does.

– If you want to be a bodybuilder or resemble one, you will eat so much chicken that anything but seems like a cheat meal. Luckily, there are a shitload of ways to prepare it, so it almost tastes like a different dish each time. Since chicken is low in fat, contains 25 grams of protein per four ounces and is very affordable (especially when purchased frozen and in bulk), this will be your go-to food more times than you will be able to count.

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