4. Traditional yogurt
Greek yogurt has most certainly elbowed its way into our refrigerators because of it’s flavor and and protein richness – but is it really that irreplaceable?
It’s true that it packs up a double portion of protein while cutting sugar content by half compared to traditional variants, yet both Greek and regular yogurt in their low-fat forms can be an equally valuable part of a bodybuilder’s diet. See, you don’t have to be a part of the hype and pay the extra price of the first one like it’s the only possible way to meet your daily protein consumption requirements – simply stir some protein powder in your regular yogurt and spend the extra bucks on something else.
We couldn’t possibly talk about cheap high-quality protein without mentioning eggs. The average whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, about 200 milligrams of cholesterol and almost zero carbs.
Typically, the egg whites are preferred over the yolks because the first contain around 40 different proteins and the latter come with a percentage of fat and cholesterol, but studies have shown that it’s much more beneficial to consume both the egg white and the yolk together. The yolk is packed with great amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, zinc, iron and phosphorus – and blood cholesterol levels are not negatively affected by consuming whole eggs.
At the same time, fat found in egg yolks is important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. This means that including more eggs in your diet will help you save more money and achieve greater gains at the same time!
6. Canned fish
You don’t have to spend $5 on a can of fish and anyone suggesting you to do so does not live in the same world as most of us. In any supermarket you can buy canned tuna or sardines for less than two dollars and quality doesn’t always follow price. Sardines are an exceptionally good source of much needed nutrients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. By the way, some recent studies have shown that a higher intake of vitamin D is associated with enhanced muscular strength and increased testosterone levels.
Mussels are a lot cheaper than salmon yet provide roughly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, they’re incredibly easy to prepare – simply put them in a pot and steam them in a simmering liquid until they pop open.
8. Beef heart
Beef heart is actually more nutrient-dense than other cuts of steak, containing a higher amount of essential amino acids, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and coenzyme Q10. Since it’s a muscle like other common steak cuts, it can easily replace them in terms of flavor, while being a lot cheaper because of a lack of demand. And it fits perfectly in any beef recipes. Prepare it for cooking by first cutting away the fat, connective tissue, valves and tendons, then cutting it into slices and letting it soak about an hour in a marinade. It should be cooked slowly and served medium rare. Another low-cost lean steak option is top sirloin, with an amazing 6-to-1 protein-to-fat ratio.
9. Dry lentils
While being such an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber and complex carbs, legumes and pulses are pretty damn inexpensive and yet overlooked by most bodybuilders! If you’re lacking some plant-based protein in your diet, try dried lentils – mature beans that have been dried and then removed from their pods. They’re even cheaper with an equal nutrient density and don’t have to be pre-soaked in water before cooking like dried beans.