15 Cheap Protein-Rich Foods That Will Stack On The Muscle

Who said building muscle has to be expensive?

Building a masculine body can be a tough challenge and it could take months or even years to achieve. Still, a lot of men set out on a journey to build larger muscles, but they often fail to follow a well-structured plan that incorporates the perfect combination of training and diet. Both of these elements play a vital part in a man’s (and woman’s) ability to build lean muscle.

Simply participating in strength training exercises without eating foods that are high in protein, zinc and other nutrients that are essential for muscle growth would result in poor muscle development. Eating a protein-rich diet, but living a sedentary lifestyle, would lead to obesity. When these two elements are in perfect balance, however, muscular growth is achievable.

We’ve studied some of the best muscle-building foods and compiled a list of the best choices that you can add to your diet – all of these options are cheap, but contains a high amount of protein and other nutrients that the body needs to develop lean muscle mass.

1. Chicken


Chicken is the most obvious option and it is also the most preferred protein-rich food. Every person that wants to build muscle knows about chicken, that’s why we decided to include it as number one in our list. A three-and-a-half ounce skinless and boneless chicken breast contains 31 grams of protein. Chicken is also rich in iron, which is another nutrient that is beneficial for individuals who wants to build muscles.

2. Canned Tuna

Canned Tuna

Tuna is an excellent source of protein, but it is important to choose the right type of tuna. Livestrong recommends opting for a canned chunk light tuna in water. A three-ounce serving of this tuna will provide you with about 16.5 grams of protein, but only contains about 73 calories and 0.8 grams fat. Tuna also contains vitamin D, which is known to increase testosterone levels in male individuals.

3. Ground Beef

Ground Beef

Ground beef is usually affordable and this meat is also rich in protein. A three-ounce serving of beef contains approximately 15.62 grams of protein, zero carbs, about 181 calories and 12.6 grams of fat. Apart from being protein-rich, ground beef also contains calcium iron and potassium.

4. Eggs


Eggs are also quite obvious as it is often recommended to individuals who wants to build muscle, but a lot of publications have deemed eggs as an unhealthy food choice. BodyBuilding.com reports that eggs are actually one of the best foods for building muscles. A single egg contains about six grams of protein – and the proteins in eggs are actually one of the best quality proteins available in food sources. According to The Health Site, eggs may even help to enhance your sex drive.

5. Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is rich in a type of protein that is slowly digested by the body, known as casein protein. Since this type of protein digests slowly, it is the perfect snack to have before bed as it will prevent the body from using muscle tissue in your body as a source of energy during nighttime when you are fasting.

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6. Canned Mackerel

Canned Mackerel

Canned Mackerel is another excellent source of protein and it contains a much lower concentration of mercury than canned tuna does. A 190-gram serving of canned mackerel contains about 44 grams of protein, as well as additional iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

7. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

This one might come as a surprise, but Chia seeds have gained a lot of reputation among bodybuilders and even athletes. These little seeds can be added to cereals like oatmeal, or even to a workout shake. Chia seeds contain protein, omega-3, omega-6, copper, calcium, zinc, potassium and many other essential nutrients. The combination of nutrients may even help men improve their sex life without opting for erectile dysfunction treatment.

8. Hempseed


Just like Chia seeds, this one may also be somewhat of a surprise. Hemp seeds, extracted from the marijuana plant, are actually rich in a variety of nutrients that are beneficial for lean muscle development. These seeds contain linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, over 25% protein, as well as vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.

9. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the most popular spreads around the entire world. The spread is packed with protein and many healthy fats, and many bodybuilders that are eating on a tight budget are using peanut butter as part of their muscle building diet. It is, however, important to note that peanut butter also contains quite a lot of calories.

10. Turkey


Turkey is often associated with chicken meat, but has a much drier texture – it does, of course, depend on how the meat is prepared. The good thing about turkey is the fact that it does not contain a high amount of fat, but it is rich in high-quality protein. It is also rich in phosphorus, vitamin B’s, iron, potassium, and zinc.

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11. Milk


Milk is another source of protein that a lot of bodybuilders turn to. For every liter of milk you drink, you gain about 32 grams of protein. You also obtain two different types of protein, being whey protein and casein protein. BodyBuilding.com reports that these two are some of the best protein types that you can use to build muscle tissue and increase lean mass.

12. Almond Butter

Almond Butter

Almond butter is made from almonds and is quickly gaining popularity – even among bodybuilders. SF Gate reports that almond butter contains a similar concentration of protein as meat. Almond butter also has numerous advantages over peanut butter as it is high in many useful minerals and vitamins.

13. Black Beans

Black Beans

Beans are one of the primary sources of protein among vegans. Bodybuilders that do not eat meat also usually include a lot of beans in their diet. Black beans are one type of bean that has been deemed as a “superfood”. These beans are high in antioxidants and they contain a lot of high-quality protein.

14. Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has many benefits and it is a perfect snack for any person who wants to build lean muscle mass. While regular yogurt contains about 10 grams of protein per eight-ounce, Greek yogurt provides you with as much as 20 grams of protein for every eight-ounce consumed.

15. Lentils


A single cup of lentils contains up to 18 grams of protein, as well as carbohydrates that are slowly digested by the human body. Lentils are also rich in folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, potassium and vitamin B6. Apart from its benefits for increasing muscle mass, Lentils are also excellent for supporting heart health and also reduced fatigue.


By combining a healthy diet that is high in protein and essential nutrients with a regular workout program can help a person build a masculine body, but knowing which foods to eat, especially when money is tight, can be tough. The 15 foods we shared here are all affordable and contains a high concentration of the nutrients that are essential for lean muscle growth, as well as additional compounds that will keep your body generally healthy.

Check out these articles for more amazing stuff:

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