By Steven Stiefel
Made mostly from casein protein, cottage cheese contains a good whack of protein for the calories and the price. Eat this source as a meal replacement at times when you want a slower release of amino acids. Go for a low-fat instead of nonfat version to further reduce the release rate of aminos.
Two boiled eggs provide 12–18 grams of protein and only about 150 calories (depending on the size of the eggs). Convenience stores frequently stock packages of boiled eggs in their cold fresh-food section. For about $2 you can pick up a healthy muscle snack on the go. Or boil the eggs at home and carry them with you, and you have an even cheaper high-protein meal. For higher protein as a percent of total calories, eat only the egg whites. To keep the aminos in your system for longer, eat the entire egg.
This chickpea based dip/spread boasts a strong macronutrient profile with 204 calories, 10 grams protein, 17 grams carbs and 10 grams fat per 3⁄4 cup. The fat content comes mainly from the olive oil, rich in monounsaturated (read: healthy) fat. Chickpeas are very high in fiber so they digest slowly and keep blood sugar from elevating too rapidly. When combined with whole grains (aka, crackers for dipping), chickpeas become a complete protein source.
Beef and turkey jerky — and even ostrich — provide a great protein snack that’s very low in carbs. Just be warned that jerky is often a little high in sodium, so if you’re trying to cut water it may not be your best option. Otherwise, jerky is relatively low in calories and high in protein.
The price of milk has increased, but the cost of a quart is still reasonably cheap. For $2 or less you can get about 40 grams of protein. Milk isn’t ideal pre- or post-workout, but it’s a good option when you can’t get in a whey-and-simple-carb shake. Lactose is a form of sugar, and milk contains both casein and whey.