T Nation

Cheap Protein, beans, and eating to gain on a budget

I was just reading the reader mail and I got confused by the guy who wrote in asking about beans. Due to the fact I have a lower paying job and live in a city with a higher standard of living and median income level I’ve been forced to become frugal and damn near inventive with my means of getting sufficient protein. That usually means a lot of eggs, milk, tuna, ground turkey, and when I can…chicken breasts and beef. But I’ve also increased my bean consumption because they a) are high in fiber and b) are a cheap good source of protein (when combined with brown rice which I do).

Yeah this sounds pretty vegetarian and trust me I don’t like it but thats a different rant for a different post.

I just was wondering what people eat to get their protein when funds are limited. I know Berardi has written on how beans are good for carbs more than protein and I’m googling that now. Its just that response to that reader really threw me. Oh and I read the article he was referring to too.

I’m a vegetarian, so I have a similar problem to yours. To be honest, the cheapest source of protein is…PROTEIN! In Costco you can now find 6lbs for $20, or you can find it generally for about $5 a lb in some discount stores. While it’s not GROW! quality and some of them won’t taste as good, PM me if you care to know my personal preferences, they suit the bill. Even some isolate can be found for around $10 a lb. Also almonds are are a pretty good source of protein and good fats. OTher things to consider, oatmeal has 5 grams per serving. Beans are pretty good because their low glycemic and it’s only about $7 for 25lbs of it, same thing with rice.
So to summarize this…the cheapest way to get a good source of protein is nothing other than the simplesting thing of all, whey protein, generally the concentrate (though the isolate is better).
Hope this helps. PM me if you’re interested in eating like me, I’ve been able to cut my food bill down to under about 35 a week.

Try a Food 4 Less if you have one in your area. They sell tins of mackeral in tomato sauce with about 80 grams of protein for about $1. It’s a very good and healthy deal if you can stand the gross out factor. :slight_smile:

Might sound obvious, and it might not apply to you, but unless you’re using steroids you don’t need more than 1g/ lb of protein. For years I was scarfing back 2g/ lb and running myself broke doing it. Finally, I plucked up the courage to cut down to a more reasonable level, and sure enough, just as big/ strong & lean as ever. Don’t forget lentils either - my calorie counter clocks protein at 24- 25g/ 100g.

Well I tend to shoot for 1g max but even then I’m looking at 170g. If I go for protein per pound of LBM I’m probabably looking at 130-150g. Thats still quite a bit.

There are many inexpensive forms of sardines/kipper snacks out there. You get the best of two worlds with these. A high quality protein with the fish and the added Omega 3 content that is associated with these water critters. Give them a try if you haven’t already!