In the previous article, I discussed a few strategies to utilize when dieting on a budget. One of the most important parts of dieting on a budget is finding the cheapest protein sources.
In reality, however, what is more,
important than absolute cost is the price per gram of protein.
It can be very tricky to find good deals to maximize your protein intake
while cutting your grocery bill. To help you do this, this article will discuss the top 10 cheapest protein sources based on grams of protein per dollar.
While some other sources may occasionally present a great opportunity if there is a big sale, these foods should be your go-to sources of protein to keep your wallet fat while you get lean (or big, if that’s what you are aiming for). Read on to see the top 10! Names That Mean Death
10. Ground Beef (85g protein/lb or approximately 24g/$)
– Kicking off the list is ground beef.
This meat is very versatile and can be used in many different dishes with varying preparations, which is a nice plus. On the downside, however,
ground beef is often fairly expensive, especially the leaner packs. 10 Cheapest Protein Sources
9. Cottage cheese (74g protein/24 ~ 25g/$)
– Cottage cheese is a classic bodybuilding protein source.
It is rich in slow-digesting proteins, so it is often said to be a good source of protein to consume before going to bed to help maintain a steady supply of protein throughout the night. As an added bonus,
it is also very cheap, though many people do not like it plain. Try dressing it up with some fruit for a tasty snack. 10 Cheapest Protein Sources
8. Ground Turkey (80g protein/lb ~ 27g/$)
– Ground turkey is very similar to ground beef,
but it can be cheaper to find leaner meats. Costco has a great deal on 93% ground turkey that is under $3/lb (as of writing this).
7. Whole Pork Loin (96g protein/lb ~ 32g/$)
– Pork in general tends to be very cheap.
I included whole pork loin because if you buy the whole loin the price/pound decreases, but almost any cut of pork is reasonably cheap. The biggest downside here is that some cuts of pork are not very lean.
6. Chicken Breast (96g protein/lb ~ 32g/$) –
Boneless chicken breasts are a classic source of lean protein. These tend to be the most consistently discounted item and are almost always a good bargain for reasonably priced protein.
Buy in larger sizes for a better deal. Also, I tend to only buy chicken
when its on sale to make sure I get a great deal, and I will buy it in large amounts and freeze it. 10 Cheapest Protein Sources
5. Canned Light Tuna (24g protein/can ~ 32g pro/$)
– Canned tuna makes a nice portable,
ready-to-eat option to get in a lot of protein on a budget. Make sure to buy the “light” tuna, which tends to have significantly less mercury than “white” or albacore tuna (and it’s also cheaper).
And as long as you are consuming only one can of light tuna per day, the amount of mercury in there is probably safe.
4. Whey Protein (1600g protein/5 lb ~ 32g pro/$)
Despite what people think, protein powder is actually
NOT an expensive source of protein. It is a huge cost upfront, but there are a ton of servings in a tub and it won’t go bad for many months. You can get 5lb jug of protein from a reputable company for around $50 these days.
I am a huge fan of this protein by Cytosport, the makers of Muscle Milk.
3. Canned Mackerel (84g protein/can ~ 42g/$)
– As you might notice, canned mackerel is a very good source of protein for the cost, and it in fact is a cheaper source than the #2 protein on this list.
So why is it 3rd? Because it smells terrible and it is not exactly pleasant-tasting either.
While this stuff is very cheap, most people will be turned off by it, and I would not want to have guests over anytime soon after opening a can of this stuff.
2. Whole Eggs (75g protein/dozen ~ 38g protein/$) –
Whole eggs are a fantastic source of protein that are extremely cheap. And they even fit lacto-ovo vegetarian diets.
If you throw out of the yolk, you will actually be losing about 40% of the total protein from the egg.
Since the concept of eating whole eggs because they are bad for you/your cholesterol seems to have been largely discounted,
you should probably keep the yolks and get all the protein you can. And the food will taste a whole lot better.
1. Milk (147g protein/gallon ~ 50g pro/$)
– Here it is, number one. As it turns out, milk is actually the cheapest source of protein out there.
If you didn’t know, the proteins used in most protein powders (aka whey and casein) are derived from milk, so this is also very high quality protein.
The biggest problem with milk is there are a lot of extra things in it besides just protein. There are a little bit more carbs than protein and there is some fat if you do not buy fat free milk.
Therefore, milk is a poor choice as a source of protein for people on a diet.
If you want to gain weight fast, however, an old school recommendation is to lift heavy,
specifically by squatting and then drink a gallon of milk each day in addition to your normal diet. It will add a whole lot of protein and a whole lot of calories.
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