Health & Fitness

Protein Guide 101: 4 Affordable Foods to Help You Grow Muscle

Whether you are a bodybuilder or someone who just wants to lose or gain weight and be in better shape, exercising and building up muscle is necessary. Aside from having a better figure, you also improve your strength even better when you train your muscles. Additionally, working out can make you feel good as you produce feel-good hormones. These effects prove that exercising is great for physical fitness and overall wellness.

But if you want to build up muscles, you should also focus on your diet. Meats are generally good. But due to their variety, you might ask questions, such as what is mortadella and if it is ideal for muscle-building. And speaking of mortadella, feel free to checkout for more info on it. To help you out with your meal plan, here are four budget-friendly foods for you to consider.

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken Breast scaled
As mentioned above, meat is an excellent pick for growing and building muscle. Not only is it satisfying and hearty to eat, but meat is also packed with protein. A great option is beef cuts, as 100 grams of steak has around 26 grams of protein. However, due to its rather costly price tag, not everyone can afford this cut of meat. So, if you want an affordable alternative that is cheaper but also full of protein, try adding chicken breast to your grocery cart.

For starters, you can cook and try different dishes and recipes with chicken breast since its versatility as an ingredient. You can try tenderizing it first then cooking it in an air fryer for a healthy and tasty meal. You can also steam, grill, or even put it as a topping for pasta or salad. And with the right dip or sauce, chicken breast can be your instant favorite pick when building up muscle. Aside from having a delectable taste and texture, every 100 grams of chicken breast has 21 grams of protein.

So as a cheap cut of meat, you might want to add chicken breast to your cart. Not only will you have a protein-rich meal, but you will also have a hearty and appetizing one.

2. Eggs

Eggs scaled
Unless it is part of your training, starting your day without a nutritious breakfast is not an advisable idea. Aside from feeling lethargic after a long sleep, you will need the energy to start your day, whether you are a student or an employee. And it is just as applicable if exercising is a part of your morning routine, be it a quick jog at the park or lifting weights in the gym. These reasons are why you will need a dish filled with nutrients. So, although people often associate them with breakfast meals, eggs are also a reliable source of protein.

Individually, a single large egg has around 6 grams of protein. Sure, it does sound a little underwhelming. But when you buy eggs in dozens and serve perhaps two to four eggs for breakfast, you will get an easy protein source. And just like chicken breasts mentioned above, you can also cook eggs in different ways as it is a versatile ingredient.

Do you want to eat eggs healthily? Boil them and enjoy a healthy post-workout meal! You can also add slices of boiled eggs to other dishes. If you want to enjoy them as part of classic breakfast, feel free to serve eggs as scrambled or sunny side-ups. It is your call how to cook them. But when you are strict with your diet, try not to eat egg yolks too much, though, as they are high in cholesterol.

3. Protein Shake

Protein Shake scaled
It may look expensive when you buy a whole tub, but do not be fooled by the price tag. A big tub of protein powder can last you for weeks or even a few months, depending on how many servings or scoops you add when you drink it.

Protein shakes are great beverages to drink after a good workout. And while some brands have different classifications of protein powder, there are generally two known kinds. The first is mass protein, which is an advisable option for people who want to gain weight and muscle mass. This pick is ideal for people who have fast metabolisms that make them naturally thin. On the other hand, whey protein is preferable for people who want to lose fat and gain muscle. Weightlifters and bodybuilders also drink this protein shake to maintain their muscle mass.

To some people, drinking only the protein powder dissolved in water can taste weird, especially if they just started taking it. So, to make it taste better and even add more amounts of protein, feel free to add in other ingredients, too. Milk, oats, peanut butter, and banana slices are often the first ingredients that can come to mind when making a tasty and protein-packed shake.

4. Lentils

And lastly, if you follow a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, this ingredient could be a source of protein for you. Despite being probably overlooked, lentils are not only ideal for a vegan diet, but they are also a great source of protein.

When boiled, every 100 grams of this legume offers 9 grams of protein. And if you add more grams of lentils with other vegetables or root crops, you get a healthy vegetarian meal. Not only is it nutritious, but it also lacks the risk of cholesterol or even preservatives and additives in meat. The lack of any other additives makes lentils an excellent option for meals that are both natural and tasty.

And as for cooking, boil lentils and serve them as ingredients for vegan dishes. Tomatoes, green beans, and other veggies are great options to cook with lentils.

In a Nutshell

Getting in great shape can be challenging, especially when just starting. But remember, when you want to gain muscle, consistency is key. Do your own pace to avoid overtraining, but always aim to challenge yourself. And do not forget your rest days, too. After all, exercise, nutrition, and rest are the three main components of fitness!

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