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Cheap foods to increase your protein intake

Ellie Macsymons·Feb 24, 2023

If you’re trying to shed some pounds, build muscle or boost your immune system, you might be tempted to add some protein supplements to your shopping list. But let’s be honest, these high-protein, low-fat alternatives can often come with a hefty price tag.

The good news is, there are tons of natural, whole foods that are packed with protein that can help you meet your nutritional goals without breaking the bank. And, not only can they give you your protein fix, but they can also supply your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.

If you’re tired of scouring the labels on food packages for protein content, we’ve got you covered! We’ve rounded up some of the most affordable high-protein foods you can find at your local supermarket, as well as some cost-effective protein supplements to help you reach your goals.

And the best part? It’s not just the usual suspects like chicken breast. We’ll also be exploring some surprising sources of protein you might not have considered before, like legumes, grains and plant-based options. So get ready to bulk up on delicious and nutritious meals that will help you fuel your body on a budget!

  1. Ground Turkey 2%

    Increase your protein intake with 2% fat ground turkey mince, ideal for pasta dishes including meatballs and spaghetti bolognese. Choose this tasty whole food source and you can expect a quarter of your 100g serving to come packed with protein, meaning you can add a whopping 25g to your daily macros for just 73p per serving.

  2. Canned Tuna Steaks in Spring Water

    Canned Tuna

    Canned tuna is ideal for anyone needing to add some extra protein to their diet. Tuna is one of the most diverse picks on this list as a staple in both lunchtime classics and tea-time dishes. Pair your canned tuna with some mayo and enjoy everything from tuna sandwiches to tuna pasta. It’s also our go-to filling for toasties and jacket potatoes! With 25g of protein in each can, for just 99p, you can add a healthy amount of protein to any meal without blowing your budget.

  3. Grahams Protein Yoghurt Pot (Strawberry)

    Switch your standard yoghurt pot to a Grahams Protein Yoghurt and add 25 grams of protein to your daily nutritional intake. Priced at just 99p at Aldi, these pots are great for snacking and are sure to satisfy those sugar cravings while providing you with a decent chunk of protein.

  4. Sardines in Sunflower Oil

    Sardines may be one of the more surprising options on this list with an incredible 24.5g of protein per can. What’s more, cans are priced at just 46p, making them one of the most affordable sources of protein in the supermarket! We know sardines may be one of the more divisive food options on offer, but for all of you fish fans out there, this might be your ticket to a natural and affordable source of protein.

  5. Chicken Breast

    Chicken Breast

    It goes without saying that chicken is one of the most reliable sources of protein. A go-to for health-conscious individuals everywhere, chicken breast will supply you with 24g of protein per 100g serving and you’ll get 1000g of product for just £6.19.

    Add chicken breast to any pasta dish or curry for that extra protein boost or enjoy a delicious chicken roast on a Sunday with plenty of protein from both your meat and greens! This whole food source can also be used in sandwiches, wraps and other lunchtime meals, costing just 3p per gram of protein.

  6. Whey Protein Powder

    If you’re struggling to get protein into your diet with whole foods, you can also invest in some protein supplements to get the nutrition you need. Whey protein powder is one of the most cost-effective supplements you can choose with 24 grams of protein packed in every 30g serving. It’s also extremely affordable, for £25, you’ll get a 900g bag which will supply you with 30 servings of protein powder, which works out at just 83p per serving! 

    This supplement works best when paired with water or milk for an after-workout shake to ensure your tired muscles recover faster. It can also be added to things like desserts, porridge and smoothies to add some extra nutrients to your sweet treats or breakfast.

  7. Lidl Protein Bar (Cookies & Cream)

    Protein Bars are another great supplement and also make the perfect healthy snack for when you’re on the go. The Cookies & Cream Lidl Protein Bar is a favourite among many with its value-for-money price tag. With this protein-packed snack, not only do you get 22.5g of protein from a 45g serving, but you also get all the sweet goodness of a dessert while keeping your protein levels topped up.

  8. Pork Loin Steak

    Pork Loin Steak

    If you’re getting tired of chicken, add some pork loin steaks to your basket for just £2.69. Pork loin steaks are naturally high in protein with 21g in every 100g serving. And, with 480g of meat in each pack, you can make a healthy and affordable meal for the whole family, or bulk up on lunches for the week ahead knowing there’s a decent supply of protein guaranteed in every portion.

  9. Aldi Protein Bar (Birthday Cake)

    Aldi Protein Bars are another affordable option for those of you after cheap protein supplements. These handy bars are ideal for those of you craving a sweet treat in between meals, with delicious flavours like ‘Birthday Cake’ that includes 21 grams of protein despite tasting like a dessert! Keep your protein bars in the car or in your desk drawer at work and enjoy a little pick-me-up in the late afternoon or before the gym while still getting your protein in.

  10. Beef Mince 5%

    Want to make sure your family’s eating a balanced diet? Get 20g of protein into your little one’s dinner with 5% fat beef mince. This low-fat, high-protein beef can be used in family favourites like spaghetti bolognese and chilli-con-carne and at just £3.19 for 500g it’s more than affordable too.

Most cost-effective vegan protein sources

Here at NetVoucherCodes, we like to find handy money-saving solutions for everyone. That is why we’ve also put together a list of the 12 most cost-effective protein sources for all our vegan shoppers- helping you to stay healthy, ethical and on budget!

Most cost-effective vegan protein sources
  1. Braised Seitan Slices

    This plant-based meat alternative can be used to mimic the taste and texture of meat in everything from burgers to Chinese dishes! And with 13 grams of protein per serving, it’s a great source of nutrition for vegans diners.

  2. Edamame Soy Beans

    Not only do these tasty soy beans count towards your 5-a-day they’re also extremely affordable and full of protein! For just £2.25, you can get 600 grams worth of beans that contain an incredible 72 grams of protein. Add these crunchy greens to any salad, curry or stew or enjoy them as a healthy snack in between meals.

  3. Mixed Beans

    Mixed beans are also ideal sources of protein for vegans. Add this extra ingredient to chilli, pasta, curry, stew or any other hotpot dish for 67p and enjoy an extra 9 grams of protein per serving.

  4. Tofu

    Tofu is a great source of protein

    We’re sure you’ll agree that tofu is a lifesaver for vegans. Not only is tofu a great vegan alternative it’s also high in protein and totally affordable. Add this handy ingredient to your shopping basket and make sure you’re eating nutritious produce for a healthy, balanced diet.

  5. Chickpeas

    Chickpeas are another one of those handy extras that can be added to hot dishes to up the protein intake for vegans. They can also be blended to create tasty hummus- the perfect dip for crisps and tortilla chips at your next vegan dinner party. For just 41p, you can get a 400g tin of chickpeas with a total of 33.6 grams of protein included!

  6. Peas

    If you’re looking for an affordable, vegan, organic source of protein then peas are the perfect buy. Pair a tin of garden peas with your Sunday dinner or evening meal and add some of that green goodness to your diet. 

  7. Green Lentils in Water

    Green Lentils in Water

    These legumes are also a good source of protein and only cost 65p per can. Blend your green lentils with veg and spices to create a tasty sauce or soup and stick to your vegan diet while still getting all those essential nutrients, including protein!

  8. Porridge Oats

    Porridge gives you the perfect balanced breakfast with decent levels of carbs, protein and fat in each portion. Instead of choosing sugary cereals, add some juicy fruit and warm oat milk to some porridge oats for a nutritious and affordable breakfast. Plus, not only can you get 1000 grams of porridge oats for just 70p, but you can also enjoy 4.4 grams of protein in every 40g serving.

  9. Baked Beans

    Can’t be bothered cooking but haven’t quite met your protein goals? No need to worry, just throw together some beans on toast. This famously cheap British classic gives a decent amount of protein with 21.6 grams in every tin of baked beans- the perfect lazy tea for Brits everywhere, including all you vegans!

  10. Peanut Butter

    Peanut Butter

    We know this selection is a bit veg-heavy, which is why you’ll be happy to hear that peanut butter has made it onto our list of most cost-effective protein sources for vegans! Pick up a jar for just £1.19 and enjoy a couple of grams of protein per tablespoon. Not only is this the perfect vegan spread, but it can also be added to protein shakes and smoothies for that added bit of creaminess.

  11. Leaf Spinach

    Swap standard lettuce for some leaf spinach and squeeze a few extra grams of protein into your salads. For just £1.09, you can get a 1000g bag that’s sure to last you a while. You can also chuck some of these leafy greens into any sauce to add an extra source of protein plus nutritious essentials like vitamin C, vitamin B6 and iron!

  12. Sunflower Seeds

    Another handy food to have lying around in a vegan household is sunflower seeds. Sprinkle a few on your yoghurt or blend them in a sauce for some added protein and vitamin E. Don’t like the taste? Try toasting them in the oven with some spices for a crispy snack. Packed with antioxidants and just £1.25 for 250 grams, these seeds will keep your vegan diet protein inclusive while helping to prevent chronic diseases and high cholesterol.

The cost of Protein sources in the UK 2023: All Data

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