Looking for high protein cheap lunch ideas...hit me up

chelouu Posts: 1 Member
Just started a new diet plan with my PT and he has me on 1600 calories a day and 150g protein. This is proving a little difficult and expensive. I'd welcome some cheap lunch ideas that I can take to work.


  • James481971
    James481971 Posts: 2 Member
    Ive started having protein shakes which are great for protein boosts without the carbs and fats. I also have tins of tuna or salmon to help with protein intake which is cheap and quick if you arent to fussy.some people cant stomach tinned tuna or salmon
  • rahul_88
    rahul_88 Posts: 1 Member
    I’m a vegetarian and found it very hard to get 150g protein but these combos helped me:

    3 protein shakes (75g protein) before lunch, 4-5 pm and 2 hours after dinner

    3 eggs - u can remove 1egg yolk to cut fat (18g protein) -
    I sometimes will have baked beans or veggie sausages both high protein (15-20g protein)

    Chick peas/ Kidney bean/ baked beans/ soya mince/ feta and quinoa/ - any of those ingredients made into salad with tamotoes, cumcuber, onions and spinach also garden peas have protein for extra little bit - ADD side of yogurt - (average 30-35g protein when using whole tins)

    I try and not eat much for dinner

    Soups made with lentils and veg (15-20g)
    Soups don’t have to be completely liquid - I sometimes leave them quite thick which helps stays fuller longer

    Prices of all these items a fairly cheap. I bulk buy 5kg protein powders from “Myprotein” when there’s offer or u can shop around and get discounts as a new first time purchase

    Hope this helps!

  • jpheller11
    jpheller11 Posts: 1 Member
    My 2 go-to meals in a day are an egg scramble (3 eggs, spinach, other veggies, top with some hot sauce for a little extra flavor). And a tuna spinach salad (spinach, can of tuna, tomatoes, red onion, balsamic vinaigrette). Also love the convenience of overnight oats. You could throw in a scope of protein powder for a little extra boost.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,640 Member
    edited July 2023
    I shoot for 160-180 grams a day.

    My go-to foods are : chicken breast, some of the top round beef cuts, pork loin or tenderloin. If you shop carefully, you can find the latter two at 140 cal/4 ounces. The beef is, of course more expensive, but I often find the chicken and pork for $1.99/pound.

    I lucked into some clearance pork loin for a buck a pound and snapped up ever piece they had.

    Last night we had chicken tacos. A cheap $2 taco kit + 24oz chicken. Throw frozen chicken + taco seasoning + salsa packet in a crockpot early in the morning, give the shells five minutes in the oven, voila! High protein inexpensive and delicious meal with plenty of leftovers.

    I smoke a large piece of pork or beef once every week or two, and keep the leftovers on hand for fast and easy wraps.

    A little bit of spicy no-sugar Hughes BBQ sauce makes it better than the local smokehouse joint.

    On Sundays I’ll season, grill and slice a couple extra chicken breasts to eat on wraps or on salads throughout the week.

    If I find shrimp at a reasonable price, I’ll skewer and grill them briefly with whatever else is on the grill. Great as a side, or even in a wrap with lettuce and tomato the next day.

    I find ways to insert yogurt or cottage cheese into everything : pancakes, fruit bowls, smoothies, homemade ice cream, homemade low cal popsicles.

    Nugo bars are vegan and if you sign up for their texts, are cheaper than in the shops. I’d rather have a Nugo than any of my old nemesis chocolate faves. They are delicious, not chalky tasting and no artificial sweeteners, and they’re usually 10-13 gr protein. I always pack one in my lunch bag when I do my volunteer gig.

    Sometimes I have to rein myself in when I see the numbers hitting above 180 and move some of those calories over to carbs or fat.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,640 Member
    And PS: when I was obese, I had at least a $20 a day sweet habit, not mentioning fast food for lunch.

    I figure it’s all relative. I understand now that eating well is not cheaper than my old style of eating, and had to shed the “oh I’ll save money eating better” expectation. And we don’t even do organic or expensive cuts.
  • chadsmitheast
    chadsmitheast Posts: 5 Member
    Definitely protein smoothies or shakes. Super easy to make, quick clean up, and simple whole food ingredients.
  • alevyslp4428
    alevyslp4428 Posts: 2 Member
    I’ve been adding half a chicken breast and 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds to my salads. If you can do dairy, some cheese could help too.

    I can’t do dairy, so I bought Orgain premixed chocolate shakes and No Cow protein bars (I like the PB based ones best) if I’m feeling snackish midday.

    I also like Van’s protein waffles. I actually mix 2 tbs peanut powder into 2 tbs homemade strawberry jelly to put on top. The peanut powder has fewer calories than peanut butter, and the mixing it into the jelly makes it creamy and spreadable!
  • MurphmomSparkles
    MurphmomSparkles Posts: 207 Member
    I cut up chicken breast into manageable pieces cook and freeze in Ziploc bags. I take out just the amount I wanted use. I usually have some lettuce, 100g of chicken and a hardboiled egg with salad dressing and some raisins. I pack them up to 3 days ahead and take it to work in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. A compartmentalized container is very handy.

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,610 Member
    tuna in a can

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 35+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

  • MacLowCarbing
    MacLowCarbing Posts: 350 Member
    edited September 2023
    I do low-carb so I'm always seeking high protein snacks. Some things I like are:

    Sugar free jerky, probably cheaper to make your own though if you can once in a while.

    Sliced pepperoni & a cube of hard parmigiano reggiano or asiago cheese.

    Or lunch meat in general; I have a butcher who has great quality products he makes from locally sourced meats. Believe it or not it's cheaper than the Walmart deli by a buck or two a pound. I get roast beef, ham, turkey, etc... just roll up a couple of slices & they're yummy. Not something I do every day as I try to keep processed foods to a minimum but if you can find a good deli/butcher with a good product it can be good and only a couple bucks per serving.

    Small mix of low-carb nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia. Also seeds- sunflower, pumpkin, etc.

    Unsweetened dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.). You can dip veggies or fruit in them, or just eat them straight.

    Eggs, I leave hard boiled in the fridge, or I make devilled eggs for the week. Or you can make mini quiches in a muffin tin with no crust, add in some cheese and/or leftover veggies or bacon bits or sauteed saugage meat. Bake them, when they're cool pop the tray in the freezer. When they are frozen pop them out and into a baggie and you can grab them on the go for snacks, just defrost or microwave them. They're good cold too if you just leave them in the fridge. I also make egg bowls (Scrambled eggs mixed with some kind of mix of cheese, meat, and/or veggie). I make 30 eggs worth, put them into individual small containers and freeze them. Good to go.

    Burger bowls-- get chop meat when it's on sale, brown it up, drain it, and season with some garlic powder, salt & pepper. Put about 4 oz in a bowl and freeze it. When you want one, take it out to defrost or microwave it. Then you can throw your favorite burger toppings on it-- a slice of cheese, some ketchup, some chopped onions or a few pickle slices. And eat it, no bun.

    I use a stick blender to blend softened butter & a raw egg then pour boiling hot coffee while blending to cook the egg/froth the dairy. Creamy zero-carb coffee snack, no sugar or cream.

    Tuna or chicken salad cans or pouches are great, they're pretty cheap but you can stock up during sales a bit. You don't need may, use some hot sauce or a little garlic butter or mustard or squrit of lemon and sprinkle of pepper.

    Likewise with other canned fish, I'm a fan of sardines, mackerel, and smoked oysters. Easy to just pop open and grab a fork, no heating necessary.

    Nut butters or nut butter breads (super easy & cheap to make, very low carb because no flour).

    I don't eat oatmeal myself anymore but overnight oats with chia seeds are easy to make and grab for a snack with protein.