Protein is an essential nutrient. Including protein-rich foods in your diet has various advantages, including weight loss and improved muscle mass.
Fortunately, there are plenty of delectable options to fit every dietary requirement.
Healthy protein sources, on the other hand, maybe too expensive for some people. However, while certain protein powders are pricey, there are many less costly options.
Cheap and Healthy Alternatives of Whey Protein Powder
Here’s the best list of all the cheap and healthy alternatives of whey protein powder. Take a look at this extensive list.
1. Natural Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a high-protein food. It’s also affordable, with a 16-ounce jar costing roughly $2.50 on average.
This creamy nut butter has 8 grams of protein in a two-tablespoon serving. Peanut butter may be utilized in a variety of ways in addition to being a good source of protein. Combine it with fruit and oatmeal for a protein boost, or blend it into your favorite smoothie.
Furthermore, research has indicated that those who eat peanuts and peanut butter have a lower risk of developing chronic conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. When feasible, opt for natural peanut butter to eliminate undesired components like added sugar and oils.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods globally, and they’re inexpensive, costing between $2 and $4 a dozen. They’re not only high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, but they’re also high in protein.
Including eggs in your diet is a terrific method to boost your protein consumption while also potentially lowering your calorie consumption and helping you lose weight.
One tiny research indicated that those who ate an egg breakfast for eight weeks lost 65 percent more weight than people who ate a bagel breakfast.
Another study found that eating eggs for breakfast helped normalize blood sugar and insulin responsiveness by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Eating eggs may result in less hunger pangs and cravings, which is beneficial for weight reduction.
This flavorful, brilliant green bean is a fantastic, low-cost plant-based protein source. Edamame beans are young soybeans that can be purchased shelled or whole. They’re a tasty snack that’s also a terrific addition to salads and stir-fries. Furthermore, one cup of edamame is a fantastic dose of protein.
Edamame is also a fantastic option for vegetarians and vegans. They are considered a complete protein source, which means they contain all of the body’s required amino acids. Most supermarket shops sell this inexpensive bean in the freezer area for roughly $2 per 12-ounce bag.
4. Canned Tuna
Fish is a fantastic source of protein, and the canned version is no exception. If fresh fish is out of your price range, tinned tuna is a great method to obtain more protein without breaking the bank. The majority of tuna brands cost approximately $1 per 5-ounce can.
Tuna is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in the reduction of inflammation in the body. On the other hand, Canned tuna may contain high amounts of mercury, so adults should restrict their intake to a few portions per week.
Always choose for canned light tuna, which is prepared from smaller tuna species with reduced mercury levels.
5. Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a delightful, low-cost product that can be used in a variety of ways. It may be eaten simply, blended into a delightful dip for vegetables, or baked into baked dishes.
In addition, yogurt is a good source of protein. Look for products that say “live and active cultures,” which signifies the yogurt includes helpful probiotics that can help you lose weight and enhance your gut health.
Furthermore, selecting plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is an excellent approach to limiting your added sugar intake. Finally, because 24 ounces of plain Greek yogurt costs roughly $5, buying bigger containers is a fantastic way to save money.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds, despite their small size, contain a significant quantity of protein. One ounce of plant-based, vegan-friendly protein comprises roughly 6 grams.
Protein, as well as vitamins E and magnesium, are abundant in these buttery-tasting nutritious powerhouses. Sunflower seeds are also a versatile and inexpensive meal.
They may be found for roughly $2 a pound in most grocery shops and may be used in salads, yogurt parfaits, and as a crunchy topping for a variety of foods.
7. Black Beans
Black beans are one of the most convenient and cost-effective sources of plant-based protein. In most places, a 15-ounce can cost roughly $1 on average.
In addition to being a strong source of protein, black beans are also a strong source of fiber. According to leading health groups, women should consume 25 grams of fiber per day, while males should consume 38 grams per day.
Black beans make you feel full and are suitable for weight reduction due to the significant levels of protein and fiber they contain. A recent assessment of 21 research indicated that consuming 3/4 of a cup of beans per day resulted in a 0.75-pound weight loss.
Furthermore, bean-rich diets have been demonstrated to decrease appetite and promote fullness. They may be used to provide a robust punch of plant-based protein to foods like chili, soups, and salads.
Sardines, though not the most popular fish, are high in protein and other minerals. Sardines are a fantastic source of natural calcium since they are supposed to be eaten whole, bones and all. One can meet 35% of the daily need for this bone-building mineral.
Fresh fish might be costly, but sardines are a good protein option for those on a tight budget. Most 3.75-ounce sardine cans cost less than $2.
9. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a low-calorie, high-protein dairy product. This mild-flavored cheese is available in a variety of fat percentages and may be used as a snack or an ingredient in a range of dishes. Cottage cheese’s high protein content makes it a good choice for athletes and anyone trying to gain muscle mass.
Furthermore, studies have shown that protein-rich meals like cottage cheese make you feel fuller for longer, which may aid weight loss. Cottage cheese is fairly inexpensive, costing roughly $3 per 16-ounce tub in most supermarkets.
10. Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein powder, another protein heavyweight, is a highly concentrated, complete protein that costs only €0.02 per gram of protein. Moreover, it’s plant-based, which makes it ideal for vegetarians.
Soy protein is easily digested and absorbed. Because soy protein has a lot of allergens, you should limit how much you eat. Consider whey protein as your main protein supplement if you aren’t lactose intolerant. It’s presumably sourced from GMO soybeans, as are other soy products, and there are worries about breast cancer connection.
Lentils are an excellent source of protein as well as being a very healthy and cheap meal.
These small beans, which can be found in the bulk area of most grocery stores for roughly $1.50 a pound, maybe cooked and used to a number of dishes such as soups, stews, and curries. They’re a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Fiber, iron, potassium, and B vitamins are all abundant in lentils.
Oats are a filling, gluten-free grain that is also quite affordable. Rolling oats are usually sold in bulk for roughly $1.30 a pound at most supermarkets.
They also have a greater protein content than other grains. Oats are abundant in vitamins and minerals, as well as beta-glucan, a form of soluble fiber.
Oatmeal is a wonderful choice for heart health since studies have shown that meals high in beta-glucan can help lower LDL and total cholesterol levels. Breakfast with a bowl of oats is a terrific method to keep your heart healthy while also increasing your protein consumption.
While amaranth may not be a cupboard staple, this gluten-free, protein-rich grain deserves a place in your diet. This nutty-flavored grain may be used in a variety of dishes and is simple to prepare.
It is also good for individuals who have a gluten allergy or intolerance, and it is a cost-effective and healthful diet. Even organic amaranth is affordable, costing $0.65 per pound on average.
Amaranth may be cooked like quinoa or rice and used in a variety of dishes, such as morning porridge, stuffed peppers, and a simple grain salad.
Milk and other dairy products provide a cheap source of highly absorbable protein for those who can digest them, even though some people are intolerant to them.
Milk is a handy protein source since it comes in a variety of fat percentages and is commonly available. A half-gallon of ordinary milk costs roughly $2.50 on average, whereas organic milk costs roughly $4.
It’s particularly high in calcium and phosphorus, two nutrients that help maintain bones strong and healthy. Milk may be utilized as a high-protein basis for smoothies and soups because it is a liquid. Whole milk is also a great source of high-calorie, protein-rich foods for people looking to build weight and muscle mass.
15. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds offer a powerful nutritional punch in a little package. Increasing your protein intake by including these inexpensive seeds in your diet is a sensible and healthy method to do it.
Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and also include antioxidants such as vitamin E and phenolic acids, which aid in preventing inflammation in the body.
Pumpkin seeds are a great on-the-go snack, but they can also be used in oatmeal, salads, and homemade granola. They may be obtained in bulk for roughly $3 a pound at most supermarkets.
16. Canned Salmon
Salmon is one of the healthiest sources of protein; however, it is also one of the most costly. Fortunately, salmon is available in a less cost canned form, making it a cheap and healthy protein option for any budget.
Canned salmon is a cost-effective and handy option to increase your protein and vitamin intake. Most supermarkets sell a 6-ounce can of salmon for roughly $3.60. It may be used in salads, burgers, or just eaten plain for a filling, low-carb snack.
17. Ground Turkey
Ground turkey is nutrient-dense and frequently less expensive than entire turkey breasts. The price of one pound of ground turkey fluctuates between $3 and $7.
Turkey is low-calorie, lean meat with a high protein and nutritional content. Turkey is also strong in B vitamins and selenium, a mineral that serves as a potent antioxidant in the body and aids in the reduction of inflammation.
Ground turkey is a versatile, affordable, and healthful protein that can be utilized in a variety of dishes.
Chickpeas are one of our favorite low-cost protein meals, whether you’re making homemade hummus or adding them into a substantial salad because of their excellent nutritional profile.
According to research published in the journal Nutrients, the low-glycemic legume helps with weight control, glucose, and insulin regulation and may even positively influence some cardiovascular disease indicators.
Quinoa, like all whole grains, is high in vital amino acids and fiber.
It’s a great cheap protein source for vegans and vegetarians because it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and it has more protein per gram than any other grain in the supermarket.
20. Whole Almonds
Do you want to boost the protein content of your go-to snacks? Just a handful of raw almonds will get enough. Blue Diamond’s whole natural almonds are one of our favorites since they just have one ingredient (almonds, duh!) and are devoid of salt and questionable preservatives. If you want to increase the fat-burning capability of your workout, eat some nuts before going to the gym.
According to research published in the journal Biology of Sport, these slightly sweet nuts contain L-arginine, which has been demonstrated to boost performance by allowing athletes to exercise for longer periods of time. So that pseudo-berry-flavored pre-workout may need to be replaced.
21. Organic Tofu
Like House Foods, organic Tofu is a great low-cost protein option since it’s low in cost, high in our star macro, and plant-based.
You won’t receive all of the pesticides that come with conventionally cultivated soybeans if you choose the organic type. To increase the slimming properties of the beverage, add silken Tofu to our finest smoothie recipes for weight loss.
Tempeh is made by fermenting soybeans and has more protein than other soy products since it uses the entire bean. Because it has been fermented, it is richer in protein, fiber and is more digestible.
Though it’s not as well-known as other soy products (think Tofu), it’s a fantastic vegetarian protein source, with 19g of protein per 100g. You do, however, have to pay for it. It’s one of the most expensive sources of protein per gram at €0.53 due to its high retail price (an 8-ounce package costs €2.21).
Falafel, which is traditionally made with soaked chickpeas, garlic, and spices, is widely accessible in shops. If you want to take advantage of the 3g of protein in each one, prepare them at home because the ingredient list is typically much lengthier than the conventional recipe.
Expect to pay €0.29 per gram of protein if you buy it at a shop. They’re also high in fiber, but because they’re generally fried, keep an eye on the fat levels.
Cod is a healthier alternative to meat since it is low in saturated fats and has a lower calorie content per ounce than oily fish. In addition, it contains a decent amount of omega 3 fatty acids, albeit not as much as salmon, as well as vitamins B6 and B12.
Other white fish, such as tilapia, are less expensive and may provide more bang for your buck. Expect to pay €0.18 per gram of protein if you stay with cod. If you want to eat healthy, cod is one of the greatest protein sources.
25. Anchovies (Jarred)
Anchovies are a little salty fish that may be used in a number of meals, such as scrambled eggs or spaghetti. They’re an oily fish that’s high in omega 3 fatty acids and calcium and B vitamins. You may eat them without fear of mercury poisoning, which is common in other fish.
They are reasonably priced per can, but because the amount of fish is little in comparison to olive oil, they are costly at €0.23 per gram of protein.
A juicy steak is more closely connected with protein than anything else. Of sure, a fillet has 42 grams of protein, but would it surprise you to find that it has the same amount of protein as 100 grams of tempeh?
Beef is also 4 times less expensive per gram of protein, at €0.12 per gram. If you’re going to eat beef, pick your cuts carefully because certain cuts have more saturated fat than others. There’s nothing wrong with a little fat in your diet; just don’t go overboard.
Couscous is a classic North African meal made from semolina granules that is a bit of an outlier in the health food world. Despite its reputation as a nutritious grain, quinoa is a refined carbohydrate with a nutritional value comparable to white pasta.
It’s adaptable, quick to make, and comes in a whole wheat variety, which adds a bit more nutritional value but costs a bit more to purchase. Expect to pay €0.12 per gram of protein, but keep in mind that you’ll also be getting a lot of processed carbohydrates.
28. Chicken Breasts
Chicken is a good source of complete protein; however, it has a lower protein level per serving size than beef or fish. It has less saturated fats than red meat.
Breast meat has the lowest fat content of any chicken component, but it is also the most costly, costing €0.10 per gram of protein. Thighs, wings, and drumsticks are among the less expensive cuts, but they come with greater fat content. Always avoid the skin, which contains a lot of fat.
Nuts are a practical item that may provide a filling snack full of vitamins and minerals. When purchasing, keep in mind that they are frequently heavily processed, with salt and flavorings added. Because they are abundant in unsaturated fats, they are calorie-rich meals.
If you want to keep track of your portion amounts, purchase unshelled, so you don’t go overboard. A 25g portion contains 5g of plant protein, making it a good supplement to your diet but not a particularly rich source. The price per gram of protein is €0.07.
30. Ground Pork
Pork is a terrific deal because it is often less expensive than red meat. Processed meats like ham and sausages are rich in fat, but lean cuts provide a low-fat, high-protein alternative.
Ground pork from the grocery is a less expensive option. It’s important to keep an eye on the fat levels, as it’s usually produced from fattier slices and can include up to 15 grams of fat. If you pick ground pork, though, you may receive your animal protein at €0.05 per gram.
31. Pigs Liver
Unfashionable offal like pig’s liver, on the other hand, is a cheap source of protein, costing only €0.03 per gram. It’s packed with more vitamin A than you’ll ever need, as well as vitamin B12 and iron. Because the liver is rich in cholesterol, you should limit how much you eat. Too much vitamin A can also be hazardous, so don’t take too much.
A comparable oily fish to sardines, salmon, and tuna. Mackerel is a high-protein fish, with one 15-ounce can containing 60 grams of total protein. Not only is it high in protein, but it also has some of the highest quantities of omega 3 found in nature.
It also contains a lot of vitamin D and B12. Tuna may outsell mackerel at the store, but for just €0.03 per gram, mackerel remains a fantastic source of complete protein.
Guava is a tropical fruit that isn’t always readily accessible. Guava is one of the most high-protein fruits on the market. It also contains extra minerals like vitamin C.
34. Sun-dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that may be used in a variety of cuisines. They provide a rich dose of protein as well as other minerals and fiber.
Artichokes are strong in fiber and have a high protein content. Artichokes are a versatile vegetable that may be used in a number of dishes. Artichokes are commonly available at most supermarkets.
Avocados are high in protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fat, but they also include a lot of fiber and minerals like potassium. Avocados, on the other hand, are high in calories; therefore, portion management is essential.
Pistachios are low-calorie nut with a significant amount of protein. Pistachios provide roughly 6 grams of protein per ounce, as well as a variety of other nutrients, including a high dosage of B-6.
38. Nut Butters
Although nut butters, such as peanut butter, are high in calories, a portion-controlled serving can provide unsaturated fat and protein to a person’s diet. Nut butters with no added sugars or oils are best for people who wish to eat them healthily.
With over 30 grams of protein in half a fillet, this white fish is a fantastic source of lean protein.
Protein accounts for more than a quarter of the calories in asparagus. It also contains a lot of minerals, such as B vitamins, and has a low carbohydrate content.
This water-grown cruciferous vegetable boasts a surprise high protein content and a full day’s worth of vitamin K. Watercress can be added to salads to boost its nutritional benefits.
42. Brussel sprouts
Protein, fiber, and minerals abound in Brussels sprouts. A serving of one cup includes about 3 grams of protein.
Spelt is a hulled wheat variety with a high protein content. It’s become increasingly popular, and it’s commonly seen alongside specialized flours.
Teff is a grass that is frequently crushed into flour. With roughly 13 g of protein per 100 g serving, this gluten-free product has a reasonably high protein level.
Cauliflower is high in protein and low in calories. One cup of chopped cauliflower offers 27 calories and 2 grams of protein.
One cup of raw broccoli includes about 2.6 grams of protein and a range of minerals, including folate and potassium. This nutrient-dense vegetable offers just 31 calories per cup.
Potatoes have a bad rap for being a starchy carb, but they’re really high in nutrients, including protein. A medium potato with the skin on it provides a little over 4 g of protein. When cooking a potato, individuals should be cautious since the extras that are frequently added to potatoes might increase the calorie count.
Per cup of yellow maize, there are around 15.6 g of protein. Corn also includes a significant quantity of fiber and minerals, including calcium.
Spirulina is a kind of bacterium that may be found in both fresh and saltwater. From a tiny quantity of powdered form, it provides a range of minerals and protein.
Per 1/4 cup of walnuts, there are 4.5 grams of protein (29 grams). Walnuts are a great way to get more protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to include protein-rich foods in your diet. There are a variety of high-protein meals to fit any diet, desire, or budget.
Increasing your protein intake offers several health advantages, including the ability to make you feel fuller, reduce weight, and develop muscle mass.
There are several options, ranging from peanut butter to canned salmon. Choosing a low-cost meal from this list is a great way to increase your protein consumption. Whey supplementation is synonymous with protein for many gym-goers, weightlifters, athletes, and the health and diet aware among us as if it is the only option available.