If you’re looking to get stronger and build muscle, you need protein. The logic is very simple: in order to build muscle, you need to consume more protein than your body breaks down. Eat enough protein, gain muscle and strength. Don’t eat enough protein, get small and weak. Even though you know this, it might be hard to eat that much, especially during these tough economic times.
Fear not! The Poor Man’s High Protein Diet is here to help! This article focuses on high-protein, CHEAP, easy-to-make food, not low-fat necessarily and certainly not high-priced (you won’t find Tofu, Edamame, or nuts). The following meals, snacks, and recipes will help you meet your protein consumption goals on the cheap and can be made fast:
Liquid Egg Whites: High protein in every glass! Liquid egg whites have high amounts of pure, 100% bio-available protein, up to 26 grams in every 8-ounce glass. Better yet, liquid egg whites can be used for lots of meals and protein shakes, are easy to handle and make, and are relatively inexpensive for the massive amount of protein they contain. I like to have a protein shake with 4 oz. of egg whites, milk, and yogurt after a good workout. The liquid egg whites sold by Egg Whites International are used by thousands of body builders and can be purchased for as little as $28.00 a gallon.
Whole Chicken: Chicken contains a ton of protein, about 26 grams for every 4 ounces. One of my favorite time-saving recipes is cooking a whole chicken on the weekend, then using the meat to make salads, sandwiches, and other meals during the week. It’s extremely simple, get a small whole chicken, pull out the guts and rinse, throw it in a large pot with boiling water (put in some pieces of onion, garlic, and bell peppers for flavor if you want), then let it boil for 3 to 4 hours, turning it every 20 minutes or so. A 4 pound chicken contains about 416 grams of protein.
Black Beans: Canned beans are a decent source of protein, cheap, and easy to cook. Canned black beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup and typical cans of beans contain about 2 cups. Bam, 30 grams of protein per $2.00 (or less) can of beans.
Canned Tuna in Water: Canned tuna is cheap, contains loads of protein, and can easily be made (or eaten straight from the can). A typical can of tuna contains about 46 grams of protein (23 grams for every 3 oz.). Throw that in a Tupperware with some light mayonnaise and mustard and you have a delicious, high-protein snack (just open a window though, tends to smell a little fishy).
Peanut Butter Sandwich: Nothing fills me up like a good peanut butter sandwich made with chunky peanut butter and whole wheat bread. A properly made peanut butter sandwich will contain about a half-inch of peanut butter, or about 4 tablespoons. This is about 16 grams of protein. Combined with a couple slices of whole wheat bread (containing about 9.7 grams of protein per 100 grams of bread), and you have a good 20+ grams of protein. Add a little bit of honey for taste and you’re set to go!
Milk and Low Fat Yogurt: This is a great, before-bed snack and contains plenty of protein. Every 8 ounce glass of milk contains about 8 grams of protein. Add 4 ounces of low-fat yogurt (containing about 12 grams of protein per 8 ounces of yogurt), and you have a quick 12-15 ounces of protein! Don’t forget to mix!
I hope this helps! I used these snacks and meals for about three months (along with a muscle and strength building workout) and gained almost 15 pounds of muscle. Like most people, I don’t like to spend money, and these items allowed me to meet my fitness goal without breaking the bank.
Glen is an Ex-personal trainer with a passion for health and Fitness. He has trained a variety of clients with goals ranging from weight loss and improved overall fitness to improved speed, strength, and sport performance.
In his spare time, Glen enjoys traveling, reading, golf, softball, poker, and rooting for the Atlanta Braves and Jacksonville Jaguars.