Alternative and affordable sources of protein

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Whether you’re going vegetarian or vegan, looking to cut down on meat or trying to skim a little off your food shop costs, there are plenty of reasons why many of us are giving meat a miss.

While there are health benefits associated with reducing your meat consumption, it’s important to make sure that you still get enough protein in your diet.

Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative sources of protein which suit both your palate and your purse. Why not give some of these a try?

Nuts, seeds, and grains

Peanut butter

This deliciously creamy spread is a popular and affordable source of protein, providing 8 grams per two tablespoons. Where possible, choose a natural peanut butter to avoid unwanted added sugars and oils.

Sunflower seeds

Tiny but mighty, sunflower seeds pack a protein punch, providing 6 grams per ounce. As well as protein, these nutrient-dense seeds also provide vitamin E and magnesium.

Try sprinkling over salads or topping a yoghurt parfait for a double protein hit.

Pumpkin seeds

Another small but rich source of protein, pumpkin seeds are a great way to boost your intake. 28 grams of pumpkin seeds contains around 7 grams of protein, making them a great option for a healthy, satisfying snack.


Cheap and versatile, oats are an excellent source of protein, providing 13 grams per half a cup serving.

As well as the impressive amount of protein, oats also contain vitamins, minerals, and fibre, important for keeping cholesterol levels healthy.

Chia seeds

These tiny black seeds make a brilliant topping for oatmeal and smoothies, sprinkled on salads, or added to baked goods. When added to a liquid, they can absorb it and expand, creating a jelly like substance which can be used in puddings or as an egg substitute.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide 4 grams of protein, as well as omega-3s, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.



Although some people are intolerant to milk and other dairy products, it is an affordable source of protein for those able to digest it.

One cup of whole milk contains over 8 grams of protein, as well as high levels of calcium and phosphorus, which help keep bones strong and healthy.


Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and are very affordable. Not only are they full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, but they are also packed with protein. One large egg contains 6 grams.

Several studies have shown that having eggs for breakfast helps keep hunger in check, helping you feel full for longer and causing you to eat fewer calories throughout the day.

Plain Greek yoghurt

Delicious and incredibly versatile, Greek yoghurt can be bought in large tubs to help keep costs down. It’s an excellent source of protein, providing around 17 grams per 224 gram serving.

Choosing plain cuts out added sugars but you can add natural sources like berries or honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.

Cottage cheese

This mild-flavoured cheese can be used as a filling snack or as an ingredient in many recipes. One cup of full-fat cottage cheese provides over 23 grams of protein while remaining a low-calorie option.


Tinned tuna

Fish is a fantastic source of protein and choosing tinned varieties can be much easier on the budget.

Although an 85-gram serving of tinned tuna only contains around 99 calories, it has about 20 grams of high-quality protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.


Sardines are a cheap and filling source of protein, providing around 23 grams per tin, along with vitamin D and B12.

Tinned salmon

Salmon is one of the healthiest forms of protein you can eat, but it tends to be expensive. Choosing tinned is a great way to get those health benefits on a budget,

A 112-gram serving of tinned salmon provides 26 grams of protein, along with B12, vitamin D, selenium, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Beans and pulses

Black beans

Black beans are one of the most convenient and affordable forms of plant-based protein that you can buy. 172 grams of black beans contains over 15 grams of protein and are also an excellent source of fibre.


Not only are lentils a highly nutritious and affordable food, but they are also a great source of protein and are easy to accommodate into many meals, either to bulk them out or replace the meat altogether.

198 grams of black beans provides 18 grams of protein and they’re also high in fibre, iron, potassium, and B vitamins.

Making changes to your diet? Keep an eye on changes to your health

When you first change your diet, it’s natural to notice a few changes to your health, too, as your body gets used to the adjustment. If you’re switching to more plant-based alternatives with a high fibre content, you may notice an increase in bloating or flatulence as your body processes your new diet.

But if this continues, or you notice other symptoms such as itchy skin, eczema, headaches, or joint pain, or you find that your stomach complains continue, there may be something in your diet that doesn’t agree with you. You may have started to eat more of a trigger food you didn’t previously include in your diet.

If you’ve been having trouble adjusting to new foods, or have symptoms that don’t seem to go away, you may want to take a closer look at your diet with food intolerance testing – a quick and convenient way to determine your unique dietary DNA.

Could you have a food intolerance?

If you think that food intolerance may be responsible for your symptoms then we believe that our easy-to-complete tests could help you. Find all your food intolerances at once with a full Smartblood test.

Around 10% of our customers exhibit no IgG reactions to the 134 foods whatsoever – we provide non-reactive customers with a 100% REFUND so they can continue their investigations through other testing.

Find out today with Smartblood.

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