Looking for a list of cheap high-protein foods?
If you are thinking of training or going on a high-protein diet, this article is for you! I have comprised a list of the top 7 sources of protein that are affordable. The article includes the amount of protein (and not only that) which each food contains and what vitamins and minerals you can obtain from it.
Bonus! I will also share with you some delicious recipes. To be honest, not all of them are healthy, but sometimes we have to indulge in something tasty, right?
Warning: Foods rich in protein and fat (usually) go together. Consult a doctor before changing your diet, especially if you have heart problems, are recovering from surgery, etc.
Okay, now that the legal mumbo-jumbo is out of the way, it is time to move to the high-protein foods…
1. Whole eggs
The egg is the best source of protein! Period.
On average, one egg (55-65 g) contains 7-8 g of high quality protein, which is almost 100% absorbed by the body!
Eggs are full of protein, good cholesterol, fats, vitamins (A, D, B2, B6, B12), calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, folate, sodium and others.
Important: Cholesterol is crucial for the synthesis of steroid hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and for your heart’s health.
And by the way, don’t even think about throwing the yolk away – it contains most of the benefits
Throwing the yolk away should be a criminal offense. The most beneficial things:
are in it.
If you throw the yolk away, then you are throwing your money away. You’d better buy something else.
“Okay, how many eggs can I eat and do I have to worry about my cholesterol?”
3 eggs per week? 5? 7…?
I eat about 10-12 whole eggs a day and have no problems.
In fact, while writing my article, I’m eating eggs. I check my cholesterol regularly and it’s always within the limits. In fact, I keep the lab results and show them to my relatives, who keep telling me I’m going to die at any moment.
The people I train with (men and women) also eat a lot of eggs and no one has had problems with their cholesterol or heart.
Eggs = Faster recovery after a tough workout
70-80 eggs a week isn’t normal, but if you train hard they help.
- The protein in the eggs is complete and contains the amino acid leucine, which enhances muscle synthesis;
- Cholesterol is key for testosterone synthesis; more testosterone – more lean muscle mass and fat burning;
- Contain iron and vitamin B12, which are crucial for keeping my energy levels up while sweating at the gym (or in bed);
Important: If you have heart problems, consult a doctor first before starting any diet, not just eggs.
Buy eggs only from free-range hens – they are rich in protein and are more delicious
Eggs from caged hens have a nasty taste and contain fewer nutrients.
As with meat, milk, vegetables, etc., it is best to buy them directly from farmers. In this way, they would be fresher and without chemicals, and you will be supporting small businesses, not big retailers.
2. Beef liver
Protein per 100 g: 26 g
Liver is another high-protein superfood.
Thousands of years ago the liver of a slaughtered animal (in some exotic parts of the world from human) was saved for the best hunter or leader of the tribe.
They used to think that the more you eat your enemy’s organs, the stronger you’ll become.
They thought you were absorbing the energy.
The liver is full of iron and hemoglobin, which gives strength and endurance, so they were not far from the truth
Just look at what 100 grams of this bad boy contains:
- 80% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron: it is an essential nutrient that helps carry oxygen around the body. The iron in the liver is heme iron – the kind most easily absorbed by the body!
- 3,400% RDI of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is crucial for high energy levels and the formation of red blood cells and DNA.
- 860–1,100% RDI of Vitamin A: Vitamin A is associated with good vision and immune system. Helps the heart and lungs work properly.
- 210–260% RDI of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Crucial for cell development. Riboflavin helps convert food into energy. Alleviates muscle cramps, acne problems, etc.
- 65% RDI of Folate (B9): Folate is involved in cell growth and the formation of DNA. It also contributes to maternal tissue growth (during pregnancy) and normal amino acid synthesis.
It also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium.
One of the activities of the liver is to preserve vitamins, which is why it is so rich in vitamins and minerals
You are literally eating the body’s storage.
The liver is a high-quality protein food and provides all of the essential amino acids. It is also low-calorie – 100 g is only 175 calories.
There is no other type of meat that comes close to it.
Protein (per 100 g): 25-28 g.
Chicken is rich in protein (25-28 g/100 g), low in fat (14 g) and doesn’t consist of any carbohydrates (0 g).
Perfect if you want pure protein!
Chicken is also a very good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, Vitamin A, niacin, magnesium and calcium.
Avoid consuming breaded, fried, etc. chicken from fast foods chains – it’s full of fat and other nasty things
Stay away from fast food meat. In fact, stay away from any fast food.
I have worked in such establishments and if I tell you what I have seen them do with the meat, you will vomit…
- The meat is full of chemicals and hormones;
- Before frying, it is covered with flour, which adds tons of calories;
- The meat is deep-fried, which adds tons of fat (and not of the good kind);
Buy meat directly from farmers. It’ll be both fresh and hormone-free, and you’ll support small businesses.
Cook your chicken as simply as possible – roasted on a skewer, in the oven, on the grill or with spices and a minimum amount of oil
Here is my recipe …
Put the chicken in the pan. Add a little oil, a can of beer, salt, some spices and that’s it. Put the pan in the oven at 250 degrees and after 30-40 minutes it will be ready.
Garnish with stewed/roasted/boiled vegetables and a cold beer.
4. Cow’s milk
Protein (per 100 g): 3 – 5 g.
Another cheap high in protein food.
100 g of milk contains:
- 3 – 5 g of protein;
- 8 g of fat;
- 5 g of carbohydrates;
- Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin B12, Calcium, Riboflavin, Phosphorus, etc.;
The advantage of milk is that it is a cheap protein in liquid form.
If you want to gain muscle, you need protein calories. If you do not have an appetite, it is easier to “drink” the food – milk, protein shakes, etc.
“I’m a hardgainer, should I try GOMAD*?”
*GOMAD – Gallon of milk a day.
I’m not a big fan of this idea. Here’s why:
- Milk irritates my stomach (especially when in larger quantities) and makes me sick;
- Yes, you can gain weight, but you have to be careful if it will be lean muscle or fat;
- In general, there are better alternatives – eggs, cottage cheese, lean meat, etc.;
If I were you, I would only use it in protein shakes with bananas, other fruits, etc.
If you have no appetite, then your workout routine isn’t right – add compound lifts and ditch the isolation exercises
If you are doing deadlifts, bench presses, squats, push-ups and other heavy exercises, your appetite will come.
With easy isolation exercises, you are just lightly injuring the muscle so the body does not need that much protein to restore it – this leads to a lack of appetite.
When you train your big muscles hard, your appetite comes.
5. Cottage cheese
Protein (per 100 g): 10 – 15 g.
In fact, cottage cheese is a fairly inexpensive (and surprisingly) high-quality protein source.
Cottage cheese contains 20 amino acids, most of which are essential. There is almost no fat or carbohydrates in it.
Perfect if you want to burn fat or add lean muscle mass!
In addition to the 10-15% protein, cottage cheese also contains – phosphorus, sodium, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and folate.
People complain about the taste (or rather the lack of one), but now I will share with you a couple of delicious recipes.
Recipe 1: Cottage cheese paste
Take a bowl, and pour the cottage cheese in it. Add salt and mix well. When you like the taste, add finely chopped green onions.
Finally, add olive oil and you’re done.
If you want, you can also add black/red pepper or ground walnuts.
You get something like a thick sauce. You can spread it on a slice of bread and put some juicy tomatoes and/or cucumbers on top. The result is great. The recipe takes about 5-6 minutes. Perfect if you want to eat something at the office.
Recipe 2: Protein shake with cottage cheese
For this “recipe” you’ll need:
- 400 g of skim yellow cheese (18 g/100 protein);
- Yogurt (400 – 500 g);
- Water (300-500 ml);
- 1 dose of protein powder (optional);
- Salt to taste;
Mix everything and blend for 30-40 seconds.
It is not the tastiest thing in the world, but it contains 80-85 g of protein (105 g if you add protein powder) and replaces at least 1-2 meals. Great if you don’t have time to cook.
Important: Pour the solution into a bottle and keep it in the refrigerator! The cottage cheese goes bad when in a warm environment.
You can also add fruit – peach, banana, strawberry, etc.
Peanuts are cheap and high in protein.
I adore them because they are:
- Good for you (unless, of course, you are allergic to them) – contain Biotin, Copper, Niacin, Folate, Manganese, Vitamin E, Thiamine, Phosphorus, Magnesium, etc.;
- High in calories – peanuts are rich in fats and protein, and provide energy;
- Cheap – peanuts and peanut butter are a cheap and high-quality source of vegetable protein;
- You don’t have to do anything. You buy and eat them right away;
A recipe for a pre-workout shake with peanuts
100 – 150 g of peanuts and one yogurt go into the shaker. You click the button 5-6 times and are all done.
The shake contains:
- 40 – 45 g of protein (about 30-35 g of protein are from the peanuts, the rest is from the milk);
- 75 – 85 g of fat;
- 15 g of carbohydrates;
Everything you need to survive a leg workout. If you want, you can also add a dose (25-30 g) of protein.
Tip: If you add a dose of protein, add a little bit of water. The shake will become less thick and it will be easier to drink.
Protein (per 100 g): 20 g.
Salmon is similar to tuna. Rich in protein. Rich in Omega fatty acids. Full of vitamins and minerals. And it’s also quite tasty.
The difference between them is that salmon contains more fat and calories.
Salmon is the perfect source of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA. In 100 g you have 2.6 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fats are essential. Your body cannot produce them on its own, so you have to obtain them from the food you are consuming.
Just like tuna, salmon is rich in B vitamins – Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 18% of the RDI, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 29% of the RDI, Vitamin B3 (niacin): 50% of the RDI, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 19% of the RDI, Vitamin B6: 47% of the RDI, Vitamin B9 (folic acid): 7% of the RDI, Vitamin B12: 51% of the RDI.
Like other fish, it is a good source of Selenium, Potassium and Astaxanthin.
Potassium helps control your blood pressure and prevents excess fluid retention. Selenium is a mineral playing a role in protecting bone health and improving thyroid function. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that benefits the heart, brain, nervous system and skin health.
I hope you liked this list.
Over time, I will add more high-protein foods (from plants and animals), so it’s a good idea to come back to the article from time to time. If you think I’ve missed something or have a question, leave a comment below.