This article is by BruteForce from the Muscle and Brawn Forum.
How much protein a day do you need? I’m not asking what the government or some pencil necked nutritionist says. I’m asking what you, the athlete, the bodybuilder, the powerlifter, the strongman, need.
Chances are, you’re looking to take in 200g of protein a day or more. If you’re a big guy like me, you may be pushing into the 300g+ a day range. And that can get expensive quickly.
So what is the budget conscious athlete to do? Stop buying your boneless skinless chicken breast one week at a time. Step away from the 95% lean ground beef! Seriously. Just stop.
Here are several inexpensive options for you. Use your savings to buy a nice steak and we’ll call it even.
A quick note. Prices listed are from my personal excursions to wholesale stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club. Buying in bulk saves big money.
For example: the eggs I buy come in 7.5 dozen eggs per carton. This drives the price down drastically. Also keep in mind that these are estimates on the price per gram of protein, your mileage may vary based on weight of bones, store prices, and other variables.
Comparing Costs of Protein Sources
Eggs: Price per 25g. = $0.55
Large eggs contain an average of 6g of high quality protein each. They are extremely versatile and fairly inexpensive. Grade B eggs have the same nutritional value. If you can find them, you may be able to knock the price down even further.
Tip: Eggs stay good long after the expiration date. You may be able to pick them up cheaper out the back door of a grocery store with some cash in hand. http://www.agr.state.il.us/programs/consumer/egg/eggconsguide.html
Tuna: Cost per 25g = $0.90
The classic high quality protein source, tuna’s primary downside is contaminants such as mercury. While not a major issue for healthy men, it is best to avoid taking in too much. A can a day is no big deal, but 20 cans a week may be pushing it.
Canned Salmon: Cost per 25g = $0.75
A lot of canned Salmon is wild caught Alaskan, greatly reducing chemical and heavy metal content compared to farmed Atlantic. Salmon is a healthy and less expensive alternative to all the tuna we traditionally eat.
Dark Meat Chicken: Cost per 25g = $0.23 average, $0.18 with a good sale
You can often find great sales on chicken leg and thigh quarters. Buy up a freezer full and you’re set with very versatile low-cost protein.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: Per 25g = $0.49
This is one of the times the magic of the big box store is very apparent. Grabbing a case of chicken breast knocks the price down enormously from buying packs of brand name breasts at the supermarket.
Pork Butts: Cost per 25g = $0.41
Few things are more versatile than a good chunk of pork. Many butchers will slice it for free, so you can easily get roasts and steaks for a nice low price. Toss the steaks on the grill with some BBQ sauce in the summer, and in the winter, throw a 5 pound roast in the crock pot with your favorite seasonings for a quick and easy dinner.
Whey Protein Powder: Cost per 25g=$0.59
No list would be complete without whey. It’s fairly cheap, extremely convenient, low calories, and easy to take with you on the run.
Whole Turkeys: Cost per 25g = $0.70
Most people don’t think much about turkey unless it’s around Thanksgiving. Every other time of the year, you can pick up a great bird for dirt cheap.
Cottage Cheese: Cost per 25g = $0.53
You can get it in 5 pound containers at wholesale clubs. Cottage cheese isn’t really my thing as it’s fairly high in carbs in relation to its protein content, but it’s not too expensive if you like that sort of thing.
Ground Beef: Cost per 25g = $.70
80% lean ground beef is magical. Make burgers, chili, stir-fry, meatloaf, or just about anything with it. If you want less fat, cook it, drain it, and rinse it. You still end up way ahead of the super lean stuff. Last I looked, for 95% lean, you would be looking at $1.38 per 25g.
Cheap Brotein, Bro
So there you are. Chicken leg and thigh quarters are the clear winners of this round. Toss them in the crock pot, bake them, grill them, whatever you like. But don’t let things get boring. $8 a day will get you plenty of protein from a variety of sources. Keep your eye out for sales, stock that freezer, and get ready to grow.ut for sales, stock that freezer, and get ready to grow.