10 Budget-Friendly Ways for College Students to Satisfy Their Protein Needs

As a broke college student, finding affordable protein sources to fuel your studies and workouts can be challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of options that won't break the bank. According to an online discussion, here are some of the best cheap protein sources for college students on a budget.

1. Tofu

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“Tofu is a great suggestion. At least at Trader Joe's, it's 2 bucks for a block (probably even cheaper at an Asian grocer), and you can get several meals out of it,” one person suggested. This versatile protein source can be used in stir-fries, salads, or as a meat substitute in burgers and tacos. Plus, it's packed with protein and other nutrients. 

2. Beans

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Not only are they cost-effective, but they also come in various types. They can be a creative way to get your protein fix without relying on expensive meat. “Outside of cost-effectiveness, there are so many kinds, varieties, and ways you can use them to also introduce creativity to make them less of a strain to rely on,” someone commented. 

3. Eggs

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“Eggs are a complete protein. They contain every essential amino acid, meaning proteins your body cannot synthesize,” one man said. Whether you like them scrambled, fried, or boiled, eggs are a quick and easy way to get a protein-packed meal anytime.

4. Sardines

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If you prefer seafood, consider sardines. They're packed with protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. “Sardines are extremely healthy. You don't have to worry about mercury because they have very little as they are lower on the food chain,” someone said.

5. Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter is also an excellent option for broke college students. “Peanut Butter,” someone remarked. “Protein, tasty, easy to store, easy to use and eat, and cheap. Buy a cheap loaf of bread or two and a jar of peanut butter, and you've got protein sandwiches for a week,” they continued.

6. Potatoes

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Although potatoes may not be your first choice as a protein source, they actually contain around 4 grams of protein per medium potato. They're also a good source of fiber and other essential nutrients. “A really great food source is potatoes. You can cook them in many ways, and they last a good while,” one man commented.

7. Tuna

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Tuna is another excellent option for college students on a budget. Not only is it high in protein, but it's also versatile and easy to prepare. “Tuna, definitely. As the best and cheapest source of protein, you can cook tuna spaghetti, tuna sandwich, tuna salad, instant noodles with tuna, and so on,” one individual said.

8. Chicken Breasts

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“Chicken breasts generally are cheap and huge. Boil them and add seasoning. I used to do that for bulking,” one man shared. Chicken breasts are a classic protein source for a reason. They're cheap, easy to prepare, and can be used in many recipes. 

9. Spinach

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Spinach is a surprisingly good source of protein. It's also packed with other essential nutrients like iron and calcium. “Spinach is great. You can have less meat in your meals by having spinach snacks during the day or putting a good amount in foods,” one woman added.

10. Chickpeas

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Not only are chickpeas affordable, but they're also versatile and super easy to prepare. “Chickpeas rinse them and oil them and season them to your liking. Air fry them or oven cook them. 19g protein per can.”

This post was inspired by this thread.

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