Of all the things that a bodybuilder thinks about, one thing that I believe, he constantly reminds himself is about the new ways he can use to increase the daily protein intake value. Needless to say, with each gram of protein, the wallet gets lighter. But hey, getting creative with your food choice doesn’t cost a buck. In fact, there are many food items that can help you meet your protein goals without hitting hard on your wallet. Don’t believe me? Well, then do yourself a favor and read the list down below. You will want to thank me later for the money I helped you save.
Cheap Protein Sources in India
Needless to say, eggs are one of the most trusted cheap sources of protein in India. Not only are eggs carriers of high quality protein but also vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While some people prefer egg whites over the whole egg, the others who consume yolk along with egg whites can reap more benefits. Apart from this, eggs are easily available. Walk down to your nearest superstore, and you can get yourself a dozen of eggs for just a few bucks.
- Price per 100g (2-3 eggs): Rs. 15-20
- Protein per 100 gram (whole eggs): 12-18g
2) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is every protein-craving foodie’s delight. Just a spoon of peanut butter can supply over 10 gram of protein. Don’t worry about the fats, though. They are all the good ones; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are required by the body for its optimal function. Besides this, if you are not fond of eating too much of animal protein products like eggs and chicken then peanut butter may be the finest option available. Add it to your protein shake or spread it over the bread, you can’t just go wrong with it.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 50-70
- Protein per 100g: 25g
3) Chicken Breast
Hands down to one of the best cheap sources of protein; it’s none other than Chicken. Not only it is a fine source of complete protein, but it also contains fat in lowest proportion compared to its counterparts. Chicken breasts are usually priced higher in comparison to thighs and wings. However, if you can afford few extra bucks, I would recommend you to opt for boneless chicken breasts instead of thighs and wings which can cause you a little trouble in cooking. Apart from this, one thing you should bear in mind is to purchase skinless chicken which is devoid of fats.
- Price per 100g (with bone): Rs. 20-25
- Protein per 100g (with bone): 15-20g
- Price per 100g (boneless): Rs. 30-35
- Protein per 100g (boneless): 27-31g
4) Greek Yoghurt
Finding Greek yogurt is quite difficult especially in rural and semi-urban areas. However, people living in metro cities can easily purchase them at malls and dairy outlets. While the regular yogurt sports a good amount of protein, a 100-gram of Greek yogurt may contain almost the double amount. But make sure that you choose only unflavoured variants because manufacturers do put in a lot of sugar to produce the flavored versions.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 40-50
- Protein per 100g: 10g
Just when you thought you can’t get a better source of complete protein than chicken, here’s Milk – an easily available and a cheap protein source. Full cream milk to flavored milk, they have got all types of milk flooding in the stores these days. If you are too cautious about your fat intake, then you may want to go ahead with skimmed milk. Flavored milk is always a NO as they contain a huge amount of sugar in it. A glass of milk can serve to be a good protein option at any time of the day, be it early morning or before bedtime.
- Price per 100g (skimmed milk): Rs. 4-6
- Protein per 100g: 4g
Although oats are primarily known for their slow carbs, they do contain a good amount of protein in it. Oats have been eaten as breakfast since a long time in many parts of the world. But as times have passed, traditional oats are gradually being replaced by flavored oats which contain just too many sugar and flavorings. If maintaining good health is your prime concern then I would suggest you buy traditional steel cut oats or rolled oats. The fine thing about oats is that they can be prepared in a just matter of minutes and hassle-free.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 15-20
- Protein per 100g: 15-20g
7) Cottage Cheese/Paneer
The most Indian item on this list of cheap high protein foods is none other than Cottage Cheese or popularly known as Paneer. Whether it’s homemade food items or costly restaurants, you will find a lot of dishes having Paneer as the main ingredient. There are several reasons to it. Not only is Paneer a quality source of protein but it is also low in calories. Plus it is very affordable. However, like all other milk-based products, paneer is something I wouldn’t recommend for lactose intolerant people.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 30-40
- Protein per 100g: 10-12g
Pea protein is a good alternative, especially for people who are lactose intolerant. In addition to this, pea protein is free from fat, cholesterol and gluten and thus an ideal cheap protein option for vegetarians and vegans. Besides being low in cost, you can add peas to any of your meal. However, there are certain dietary conditions that may restrict your pea’s intake to once in a while.
- Price per 100g (frozen, green): Rs. 20-30
- Protein per 100g: 5g
Talk about cheap sources of protein and how could I miss out Soybeans; one of the most sought after protein source second to peas by vegans and vegetarians. Although soybeans are plant-based protein, they include all the essential amino acids needed for human nutrition.
Like every other thing, consuming too much of soybeans has its own downsides. One of the major reasons why it is not advisable to consume soybeans on a daily basis is because it reduces the levels of testosterone in men. Apart from this, referring to this article on breastcancer.org, eating too much of soy may activate the genes related to cancer.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 10-15
- Protein per 100g (roasted): 35g
10) MFF Whey Protein 80
There’s no way I could imagine this list of best cheap protein sources without whey protein in it. Derived as a residual product during the formation of cheese, whey protein is one of the finest sources of complete protein of all time.
There are several reasons why I prefer whey protein more than any other item on this list. Firstly, whey protein shakes are very easy to make. All you have to do is to add a scoop of MFF Whey Protein 80 into a shaker and pour milk or water in it. Shake it for half a minute, and that’s it. Simple, isn’t it?
Secondly, many people out here wouldn’t love to chew boring chicken and oats all day long. A whey protein shake is your perfect escape. With just a couple of MyFitFuel whey protein shakes a day, not only you get high-quality protein but also a change of taste.
In addition this, whey protein shakes are the easiest way you can fulfill your daily protein requirement. Imagine yourself eating chicken breast all day long, and on the other side, there’s your friend who drinks whey shake twice a day and achieves his daily protein intake very easily. Make a smart choice, buddy.
On top of it, when you take whey protein as a pre and post-workout shake, it may serve as a performance booster and fat-loss promoter respectively.
When all is said and done, it all comes down to the cost. The fact that MFF Whey Protein 80 provides one with over 23 grams of quality protein in just Rs. 50(approx.) makes it a perfect budget-friendly protein choice.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 150
- Protein per 100g: 72g
This includes all the different types of beans like chickpeas, moong beans, kidney beans, lentils, etc. Out of all the beans, raw kidney beans and mung beans contain the highest proportion of protein followed by chickpeas and lentils. Talking about the prices, chickpeas are priced highest followed by kidney beans. Both moong beans and lentils are priced comparatively lower.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 20-30
- Protein per 100g kidney beans: 24g
- Protein per 100g moong beans: 23g
- Price per 100g: Rs. 15-20
- Protein per 100g chickpeas: 20g
- Price per 100g: Rs. 20-30
12) Fish (Salmon)
The price of salmon fish has considerably increased in Indian markets since last year. However, it can still be included among cheap protein sources. Besides being rich in protein, salmon fish are packed with good fats, and vitamin D. Having said that, consume salmon in moderation due to its high mercury levels. And if it’s possible, purchase the one that has been farm fed instead of wild caught.
- Price per 100g: Rs. 45-60
- Protein per 100g: 20g
It goes without saying that almonds do contain a lot of fats. But, alongside fats, almonds are rich in protein as well. Just an ounce of almonds contains as much as 6-8 grams of high-quality protein. Apart from this, almonds have lower proportions of carbs and contain only a few calories. There are three major types of almonds available in the market wiz. Mamra, Gurbandi, and California. I prefer Mamra and Gurbandi almonds over California almonds as they are passed through several chemical processes in order to give a sweet taste.
- Price per 100g (Gurbandi): Rs. 80-100
- Protein per 100g: 20-23g
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