12 Cheap Protein Sources To Add In Your Diet

Medically reviewed by G. Liakeas, MD FACT CHECKED

If you are focusing on considering the protein in your diet but are concerned about your budget, then this is the right article you have come across. 

Though eating healthy might be an expensive option, this is means of no excuse to resort to unhealthy foods.

All you have to do is conduct some research before you start your grocery shopping to find a host of nutritious yet low-cost protein sources.

Moreover, these protein foods could even help fitness enthusiasts who are always looking out for other sources that may enhance their energy levels at low costs.

So adding more protein to your diet could be the ideal solution if you’re looking out to bolster your metabolism, burn more fat, or build up more muscle in your body.

Though the recommended consumption of protein is about 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women, enhancing this intake may even be beneficial for your body’s requirements.

Now that you know the importance of considering the protein content in your diet, let’s have a look at the protein sources which you could purchase without getting hard on your pocket.

  1. Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

    With an approx. protein content of 15 grams per 5.3 oz., plain non-fat Greek yogurt could be an ideal cheap protein source to help you build lean muscle and provide you the energy used in your workout.

    Its protein-to-carb ratio makes it as an ideal snack for post-workout sessions and is even available at affordable rates.

    Apart from this due to high levels of protein and gut benefits from the probiotics, plain non-fat Greek yogurt could even help you to get slim. What’s even better is that you could enjoy it with some berries.

  1. Cottage Cheese

    Be it enjoying cottage cheese by mixing it into scrambled eggs, eating it with chapatis, or toasting it with seasonings, this is another cheap yet high-protein item that you could add to your diet.

    Additionally, you might even get 24 grams of protein per cup of cottage cheese.

    If you want to enhance the protein content, you may blend this cottage cheese into a smoothie along with other fruits or mix it in a bowl with the vegetables and olives.

    What’s even better is that cottage cheese has casein in it, which is digested slowly and hence might help you to feel full for a longer time and evade any unnecessary snacking.

  1. Eggs

    Eggs are easy for all gym enthusiasts or people wanting to amplify their protein consumption.

    For this reason, eggs could also be considered if you are following a one-meal-a-day diet. You could add them as a part of your snacking habit.

    Needless to say, they are a cheap source of protein and also have other antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that provide several benefits to the health of your body.

    Though some people prefer just egg whites or just egg yolks, you could consume a whole egg which might provide more benefits.

  1. Beef Liver

    Though it might sound surprising, yes, liver, especially beef liver could be a great high-protein source that you could get without breaking the bank.

    Moreover, just like other parts of meat, beef liver is also packed with myriad minerals, vitamins, and proteins, and to be precise, the protein percentage in beef flavor is approximately 61%.

     So if you are looking out to eat it, then you could prepare it by marinating it with a blend of spices and then toasting it in butter.

  1. Canned Tuna

    Needless to say, fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. However, getting fresh fish like tuna could be hard on your pockets.

    Keeping this in mind, here we have tinned tuna or canned tuna on our list that is high in protein content and economical as well.

    You could use it as a filling for wraps or tacos, and even mix it with scrambled eggs.

    Other than this burger patties or tuna meatballs could also be your ideal go-to option when you wish to spike up the protein levels in your body.

    What’s even great is that you could order canned tuna online, but make sure to check out its shelf life. You could receive approx. 24 grams per 100 grams of tuna.

    Other than tuna, you might even go for canned sardines or salmon, which are also cost-effective and good sources of protein.

  1. Lentils

    With approximately 18 grams of protein per cup, lentils could be a great option if you are looking for a protein-packed meal that has high levels of iron.

    Apart from this, lentils consists of polyphenols and are also heart-friendly and they may be cooked up easily because you do not need to presoak them.

  1. Hempseeds

    With a whopping figure of 10 grams of proteins in just three tablespoons, hemp protein powder could be a great option to enhance the protein content in your basic dishes.

    It is obtained from hemp seeds thus, it is a natural source of protein. You could add it to your morning oats or your smoothies to enhance their nutritional value.

    Since hemp seeds will have a nutty taste and they are high in omega-3 content, they will help to keep you full for a longer time.

    Hemp seeds are referred to as a robust superfood because they are a source of complete protein.

  1. Nuts

    Being a convenient and versatile snack, nuts might be a great option to carry around with you if you want to focus on your protein requirements.

    Just a 25-gram serving of this food item might provide you with 5 grams of protein.

    Moreover, since they are not so dense, you could easily use them as a topping on your smoothies, oatmeal, or other breakfasts.

    With a subtle flavor, nuts might add crunch to your regular meals.

    However, one important tip you need to remember here is that nuts are calorie dense because they have high proportions of unsaturated fats.

    Also, you mustn’t purchase highly processed nuts with added flavors.

  1. Oats

    With high quantities of fiber, any type of oats could provide you approx. 5 grams of protein per 1 cup. And chances are that you might already have oats with you right now.

    So what are you waiting for? Get ready to make a protein-packed meal and enhance the flavor of your oats by topping them up with nuts and berries.

  1. Peas

    With five grams of protein per 100 grams, peas could be a good alternative source of protein for people who are lactose intolerant.

    Besides this, these are also an economical source of protein and a good option for all vegetarians out there. You could add them to any of your meals because they are quite versatile to prepare.

    Other than this, you might also boil the peas and top 10 them with certain veggies to enjoy a protein-packed meal.

  1. Peanut Butter

    Peanut butter is a scrumptious, high-protein food item that you could include in your diet.

    Besides being inarguably creamy and more affordable than other high-protein food items, Peanut butter is also quite a versatile option.

    However, when purchasing peanut butter, make sure to opt for 100% natural peanut butter, which is free from any added salt, fat, and sugar.

  1. Tofu

    Tofu could be an ideal option for all the vegans and vegetarians out there who are looking out for high protein sources without putting pressure on their pockets.

    Besides being a complete protein source, tofu is also high in iron and calcium.

    While preparing this ingredient, you should know that tofu has a bland taste, but it has a good capacity to capture other flavors.

    So all you have to do is marinate it with a spicy and strong mixture overnight. Once done, you could cook it and top it with some veggies.


So this was our list of the top best cheap protein sources which you could get from your near supermarkets or online. This list of food items shows that eating a diet high in protein never has to cost the earth.

There are myriad sources of protein that you could get according to your flavors and preferences. What’s even great is that the food items mentioned in this article are quite versatile and easy to prepare.

If not easy, then you could prepare them on the weekends so that you are free during your hectic weekdays.

On the other hand, if you are purchasing any canned items make sure to read the ingredients list to substantiate that they do not have any additives in them and are not highly processed.

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