June 27, 2017, by Andrew

Cheap and easy vegan protein sources

‘But where do you get your protein from?’ ‘You must be so iron deficient!’ ‘Doesn’t it cost you a fortune?’ ‘I couldn’t live without meat; I need it’. Blah, blah, blaaah. I’m not here to lecture to you about the pro’s and cons of meat and plant-based diets, and I certainly won’t unleash an ethical armada on a short blog post, but I would like to quell the nay-sayers a little, with some simple facts. Being vegan, veggie, or primarily plant-based doesn’t need to be restrictive, expensive, or nutrient-deficit-inducing. Furthermore, as a physiologist, I can assure you, there’s no evidence for needing more than 2g/kg bodyweight protein per day, unless you’re an elite athlete training high-intensity for many hours per day. So if you’re concerned about ‘losing your gains’ – fear not, here’s a few high protein vegan friendly food stuffs available locally, for very few of your hard earned $$$.

Peanut butter. God’s greatest gift to mankind. Energy dense, protein packed, spoon-licking goodness in a jar. Of course, if you want the premo stuff, you pay top dollar. But even cheap peanut butter brings smiles to sticky palates. Lidl offer 330g of reasonable PB for 90p; that’s a total of ~90g protein. Any nuts/nut butters will also offer similar quantities.

Soy milk. Again, if you head into H&B, they’ll charge you left right and centre for some organic, eco-friendly, solar powered, nonsense. But your old pals at Lidl will sell you a litre of either sweetened or unsweetened soy milk for something like 60p, which will tally up to ~35g protein. N.B for those who are interested, soy offers a ‘complete’ source of protein, that is to say an excellent amino acid profile on par with whey and egg protein.

Meat-free ‘meats’. Let’s not start debating the ethics of enjoying imitation meat, but if you’re open to trying it, it pays (you) to shop around. Sainsbury recently launched a range of vegan ‘meats’. Their ‘mince’ retails at around £1.50 for 500g – cheaper than real mince, and weighs in at 19.5g protein per 100g, while ‘meat free balls’ will set you back just £1.50 for 380g, offering up 15.2g protein per hundo.

Beans and chickpeas. Pick up a tin of baked/mixed/chili/ kidney beans or chickpeas, and you can expect ~20g protein per tin for as little as 30p.

Bread! You heard me, the good old gluteny, doughy, toasty good stuff. Lidl sell high-protein rolls (made without eggs or dairy!) containing 25-30g protein for just 29p each! (This is not a paid endorsement; other budget European supermarkets are available – Lidl’s just my nearest). Furthermore, any good quality, wholemeal seeded loaf will typically contain >5g protein per slice … slap 15g of PB onto 2 slices and you’ve got yourself around 20g protein already.

There are plenty of other good protein sources out there, some of which are cheaper than meat and dairy. If you’re thinking about trying a plant-based diet, you shouldn’t let ‘difficult getting enough protein in’ be your limiting factor.

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