TL;DR – Greek Yogurt, Chicken, Eggs, Egg Whites, Salmon. Honorable Mentions: Whey Protein, Cheese, Low-Fat Cottage Cheese. Not good: Peanut Butter.
If you have a Costco Membership, here are some of my go-to protein choices. (Granted you can go to Albertsons, but their meat prices are seriously like double.)
This shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. At Costco it’s $2.99 per lb, or $0.75 a serving. That’s 22g of protein per $0.75 which is pretty spectacular. For only a little more, they have seasoned chicken for $3.29 per lb. Still better than Albertsons’ $4.49 per pound chicken that looks like it leg presses more than I do.
- Greek Yogurt
The particular brand I get is Fage Yorgurt just because of the price to amount ratio. It’s $6.49 or so for 3 lbs of Yogurt, which is roughly 6 servings. It’s fat free making it an easy protein to squeeze in on a cut, and contains a macro spread of 9c and 22p and costs $1.08 per serving, making it roughly 44% more than chicken. While it doesn’t seem like much of a difference, that extra $0.33 a serving makes a difference when buying 100 servings of something. And since Costco is the heart of bulk shopping, I use Yogurt more as a supplement for my daily intake rather than a staple.
I’m actually completely unaware if there’s any variation among egg brands. I just buy Costco’s 5 dozen (60 eggs) for $9.49. This makes it $0.16 per egg, and every 4 eggs is roughly the same as 1 serving of chicken. Thus, when compared with chicken, you’ll spend about $0.64 in eggs to get the same amount while also getting the fat from eggs (which is awesome). Each egg is roughly 5g fat, no carbs, and 5g protein. If you’re not eating eggs, I’m not quite sure what you’re doing.
- Egg Whites
This is pretty similar to the previous entry, but still deserves a mention. Once again hailing from Costco are Egg Whites. They come in 6 containers which have 10 servings each, each serving being only 5g protein. If I’m remembering correctly, they’re about $7.49 per pack, making this some of the cheapest protein you’ll ever find. At $0.125 per serving, this adds up to about $0.50 per 20g protein, making it $0.25 cheaper than chicken per 20g protein. Solid choice and fits into pretty much any diet due to its extremely low caloric value.
Personally, I don’t buy much Salmon as its price is excruciatingly high. I bought some Salmon burgers the other day because they were on sale. Not a giant fan of the taste, but they weren’t terrible and work as substitutes when I’m out of other stuff. Roughly 11g fat and 17g protein, Salmon makes for a great fatty meat. Its nutrients are fantastic, the spread is great for low carb days or low carb diets, and if you can afford it, you should probably go for it.
- Whey Protein
Pretty straightforward. Great supplement if you have a hard time getting enough protein. I got a bag on sale for $40 the other day for 90 servings, making it roughly $0.50 a serving (same amount of protein as chicken).
Cheese is a great snack, but it’s also generally high in fat. I eat shredded cheese with my eggs, and its macro spread is 9g fat and 7g protein. I use it more to spruce up the taste, as it generally makes my diet more tight rather than flexible. Not necessary, but can definitely help the taste factor.
- 1% Low-fat Cottage Cheese
Great snack, high volume food. One serving of 226g packs 2g fat, 6g carbs and 28g protein. Great food, alright taste, not really sure what to eat it alongside though.
Not a Good choice for protein:
- Peanut Butter
I had to add this since most people are misguided to think peanuts are somehow good protein. One serving of Skippy yields 16g fat, 6g carbs and 7g protein. That’s a ton of fat for that little protein. If you’re bulking, Peanut Butter can be your best friend. If you’re cutting, you have to be exceptionally careful with peanut butter. I use it on sandwiches and sometimes in smoothies. It’s good for adding taste, but exercise caution with it.