19 Best Cheap Protein Sources For Healthy Diet

Protein is a macronutrient that sustains numerous processes in the body. Cells, tissues, and muscle mass are all dependent on protein.

Having a good physique or sticking to the bare minimum of good health requires quality protein.

 It is also true that individuals have varying protein needs according to age, gender, or other medical conditions.

Nevertheless, some protein sources are very expensive. It becomes difficult to have access to these sometimes. Due to monetary reasons, deficiencies may take the lead.

Such a situation is stressful for the body. If you are also on a tight budget, don’t worry.

You don’t have to miss out on your protein as this article provides a list of the best and cheap protein sources for you.


Top Best Cheap Protein Sources

  1. Plain Yogurt

    Yogurt is a great source of protein but there are so many reasons to opt for plain Greek yogurt.

    224 grams of plain Greek yogurt contains 17 grams of protein which is double the amount of protein provided by plain yogurt.

    It does not consist of flavors or artificial sweeteners. You should refrain from adding these too. It is great as a dip combined with veggies, for smoothies or to end your meal with.

  1. Eggs

    Eggs are a cost-effective and high-quality source of protein. They are suitable both for bulking and shedding.

    Eggs boost satiety and also suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin.


    So if you are looking for foods with fewer calories and more protein, you could safely choose eggs. One egg contains 6 grams of protein.

    Reaching the daily recommended value or even more is easier with eggs. That is why it holds great importance in the weight training and bodybuilding community.

  1. Black Beans

    Coming to a pocket-friendly plant-based alternative, black beans are great, to begin with. They are easily accessible for most people at affordable prices.

    Also, a cup of black beans(172 grams) contains 15 grams of protein. It may be added to soups, salads,  quesadillas, and chili.

    Additionally, it is rich in fiber Thus, it is great to provide more nutrition with just one food item. Black beans could be pro-choice if you are looking to control hunger pangs or reduce weight.

  1. Cottage Cheese

    It is an absolute dairy delicacy with mouth-melting texture and varying fat content varieties.

    Cottage cheese is a low-calorie food that is great as a filling, topping, or snack.

    Even full-fat varieties of this cheese have few calories. It is also an affordable option that provides 23 grams of calories per 210 grams. Moreover, dairy products go well with weight loss and bodybuilding regimes.

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  1. Oats

    This gluten-free whole grain has so much to offer. It is low in calories and inexpensive. You may purchase big packs of oats for a few bucks.

    It is also one of the most popular go-to breakfast picks for many. It contains fiber and a lot of other vitamins and minerals. You could also add toppings like chia seeds that are high in protein. 

    Oatmeal is a perfect filling yet light-on-the-gut breakfast option. You may also secure additional benefits like better heart health and lower bad cholesterol levels.

  1. Milk

    Starting with the most basic option, cow’s milk is a protein-rich source and affordable for many. It is also a good source of calcium and healthy fat.

    A cup of milk may provide up to 8 grams of protein. It could be consumed plain, used in smoothies, or added to cereal or whole grains to increase protein intake. You may also choose the right fat-percentage milk option for you. 

    For lactose-intolerant people or vegans, plant-based alternatives could show similar results. Unsweetened soy, pea, oat, or almond milk are excellent protein sources. However, they are a little expensive in comparison to cow’s milk. 

  1. Salmon

    This fish has no bounds. When it comes to delicious smoky flavor and milder taste, it tops the charts. It is a great source of healthy fats- omega-3 fatty acids.

    Moreover, it is a great protein source for fish lovers. However, it falls on a little expensive side when compared to other sources.

    Opting for canned salmon or adding it occasionally to the diet will provide nutrition and a change of taste.

    Sticking to small portions of salmon combined with other protein sources will go easy on your budget. 

  1. Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds are an underrated protein source. The roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty filling snack that may be prepared quickly. It is also available at stores at cheap rates. But here is the pro tip.

    You could get them free of cost or more precisely you may store the pumpkin seeds rather than throwing them away when you buy this fruit or veggie, anything you want to call it. 

    Scoop out the seeds, wash them with water, drain the excess water and dry them with a kitchen towel. Now you could add your favorite seasoning and bake them to have a protein-perfect crunchy snack. 

  1. Tempeh

    Although, this soy product is not the cheapest option to consider but is still comparatively cheap and higher in protein.

    It is made by using the whole bean so it retains the most protein. It has about 15-20 grams of protein per 100 grams serving. 

  1. Tofu

    Another not-so-pricey soy option is tofu. It is an absolute star and an all-time favorite of vegans and vegetarians.

    It is a healthy source of protein and contains a little more of it than tempeh. 

    It may also be a substitute for cottage cheese or other ingredients if you like sticking to low-calorie plant-based alternatives. 

  1. Lentils

    The biggest myth to bust was “pulses are the richest source of protein”. Many options contain minimal amounts and this could be deceiving.

    However, if you want to get your protein from a legume, try lentils. They are quick to cook, easy to digest, and light on the budget. 

  1. Canned Tuna

    Tuna is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you like it, this might be the perfect fish to pick for protein.

    It is also cheaper when compared to other fish or even different foods mentioned in the list. A 100 grams of canned tuna contains about 30 grams of protein. 

  1. Almonds

    Only a handful of almonds have a considerable amount of protein. These nuts provide 25.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

    You may blend them well with milk and other ingredients to make a protein-rich smoothie. Also, you could finely chop and sprinkle them on oats to increase protein content. 

  1. Natural Peanut Butter

    Opting for natural options with minimal preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, and cutting short on flavors could play a significant role in maintaining your diet. 

    Natural peanut butter consists of a good amount of protein in it. This may reduce your LDL cholesterol levels and could also enhance your HDL cholesterol.

  1. Beef Liver

    Organic beef liver is also low in calories and a rich protein source. 100 grams will provide about 26 grams of protein. This may help maintain your hemoglobin production. 

    Along with this, it is rich in phosphorus. This may enhance your bones and teeth health. It could also keep you away from serious physical complications.

  1. Chicken

    Chicken is one of the widely consumed protein foods and is also a lean one. If you are looking for more protein in lean cuts, chicken breast may be helpful.

    However, if you are looking for cheaper options, opt for other budget-friendly chicken cuts.

    Although the chicken breasts will cost you a little more than other parts, they offer a good amount of 31 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

  1. Chickpeas

    One of the cheapest sources of protein you may get is chickpeas. They may be a helpful addition for you in vegetarian diets and an additional gem for non-veg lovers. 

    Although they offer only 7 grams of protein per 100 grams, they are light and high in dietary fiber.

    You will also get a good quantity of chickpeas for fewer bucks. On top of all, they make a great filling meal and are great for salads too. 

  1. Sunflower Seeds

    Sunflower seeds are protein-rich crunchies to munch on. Moreover, they are a source of healthy fats. When compared to other seeds, they offer more protein at cheap rates. 

  1. Whole Wheat Pasta

    Whole wheat pasta has healthy complex carbs. It is also cheap and available in gluten-free varieties if you are wondering.

    Considering this in your diet may be helpful for your gastrointestinal health.

    Along with this, Whole Wheat Pasta could improve your bowel movements and decrease other gastric ailments.


Protein is an essential requirement of the body. Its deficiency could affect the body’s function.

It is equally true that protein sources are costly and might not fit into the budget.

Luckily, numerous budget-friendly protein sources are also available. The list above mentions a combination of vegan, vegetarian, and nonvegetarian alternatives.

These food sources are not only light on the budget but also delicious and nutritious, so you don’t have to compromise the taste and quality.