Cheap Sources of Healthy Protein

Beef up your intake of the most expensive energy source without lightening your wallet.

Looking for the best source of high-protein foods? The choices are easy—lean red meat, poultry, fish and soy are among your best bets. Throw cost consideration into the mix, however, and suddenly things become less obvious. In these tough economic times, a thick cut of filet mignon is not an everyday option for most guys. That doesn't mean you need to be in an upper tax bracket to get your daily protein fix. It just means you need to find less expensive protein sources to include as a regular part of your diet. We've put together a list of protein-packed sources that won't put you in the poor house. 


Loaded with high-quality protein and cheap, eggs certainly deserve mentioning. Just one egg provides 6 grams of protein (11% of the daily value). The composition of vital amino acids, branched chain amino acids and glutamic acid make egg protein the ultimate source for helping your muscles recover after a workout. Cost: For less than $2.00 you can get a dozen eggs, which will give you a whopping 72 grams of protein--now that's a deal. And for about a buck and a half more you can go organic for an even healthier protein option. Value: 36 grams/dollar



If you still want your meat, (and its high protein content) but can't afford the stuff behind the seafood or meat counter, here's your best option. A single, five-ounce can of tuna yields almost 30 grams of protein. However, studies have shown that mercury found in tuna can be harmful to your health. According to the FDA you can safely eat 5.6 ounces of Albacore tuna per week and 16.4 ounces of light tuna. Cost: Tuna is definitely among the cheapest of all lean protein sources. If you don't mind the chunk light (aka dark meat) you can get it for under $1.00 a can. Upgrade to the higher quality solid white tuna and you're looking at about $1.50. Whichever you choose, you'll be sure to get to your daily amount of protein. Value: 30 grams/dollar



According to the peanut institute, the peanut contains more plant protein than any other legume or nut. It may not match the amount of protein in a giant turkey leg, but at eight grams per serving it provides an economical way for those on a shoestring budget to get their fill. Cost: On average, an 18-oz. jar of peanut butter will set you back about $3.00. For an extra $2.00, consider almond butter. It has a higher-quality protein than peanut butter and is less allergenic. Value: 38 grams/dollar



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