Protein is an essential nutrient to include in your diet for good health and fitness. It is responsible for many important functions such as maintaining a strong immune system, acting as crucial chemical messengers in the form of hormones and the growth and repair of cells and tissues, including muscle.
When people think of rich protein sources, they often think of freshly caught salmon straight from the coast of Alaska, the highest quality of grass-fed beef or some fancy brand of protein powder plastered all over the explore page of Instagram. These options are often expensive and not readily available for everyone. Thankfully we’ve got some really inexpensive, yet great protein sources that won’t break the bank, so read on for Low-Budget Protein Sources: 5 Options You Should Know About!
1. Eggs (Free Range)
Yes, quite an obvious one but still one of the most popular protein sources around and for good reason. Their versatility in the kitchen is what makes them so popular being used in omelettes, egg-fried rice, sandwiches and breakfast burritos.100 grams (approximately 2 large eggs) provides 13g of protein and can be found for as little as £2 for 12 (a dozen) eggs in most supermarkets.
2. Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a tasty, low-cost food that can be bought in bulk, with 1kg ranging anywhere from £1.25 to £4.50 (often higher quality and higher protein content at the latter end of the spectrum. 100 grams of Greek yogurt can provide 10g making it a great staple in any diet.
This delicious, green bean, plant-based protein originating from east Asia can either be a great snack or added to compliment meals such as salads, soups and stir-fries. 1 cup (155 grams) contains a whopping 21 grams of protein. It is also considered a whole protein source meaning that edamame contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Edamame can be found as cheaply as £2 for 500g.
Lentils hail from the legume family and are easily identified by their lens-shape, coming in many colours. They are super inexpensive at around £2 or less for 500g. 1 cup (198 grams) equates to around 18 grams of protein which can be used in a range of soups, stews and curries. Additionally, lentils are a rich source of other nutrients such as fibre, magnesium, potassium, iron and vitamin B.
Sunflower seeds can act as great protein rich snack with 100g providing around 17-21g of protein depending on the way they are cooked. However, you should be careful not to overindulge in sunflower seeds as they are also very high in fat. These fats are healthy but too much could be problematic if you’re not looking to gain muscle through exercise. The good news is that it’s incredibly cheap at £1.50-£2.00 for a 300g pack. Awesome!
Incorporating foods high in protein to your diet is incredibly important for the reasons mentioned above such as building muscle, losing weight and feeling fuller for longer. The great thing is that it can be done on a very low budget to accommodate various lifestyles, not least the typical student one! What other beans are super low-budget, but stacked with protein? Let us know your favourites in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!