Top 10 Affordable Chicken Alternatives for Bodybuilders

Chicken is a versatile and budget-friendly protein source enjoyed by people worldwide. However, rising food prices and environmental concerns have prompted many to seek affordable alternatives that are both delicious and sustainable. Fortunately, there’s a variety of cost-effective and eco-friendly options available. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 cheap alternatives to chicken that will satisfy your taste buds without breaking the bank.

1. Tofu

Tofu, made from soybeans, is an excellent plant-based protein alternative to chicken. It’s incredibly versatile, taking on the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with, making it a fantastic addition to stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches.

Chicken Alternative - Tofu
Tofu
NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein8g
Carbohydrates1.9g
Dietary Fiber0.9g
Fat4.8g
Calories76 kcal
Calcium350mg
Iron2.6mg

2. Tempeh

NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein19.5g
Carbohydrates9g
Dietary Fiber5g
Fat11.4g
Calories193 kcal
Calcium111mg
Iron2.3mg

3. Lentils

Lentils are packed with protein and nutrients, making them an ideal substitute for chicken in soups, stews, and curries. They’re affordable and available in various colors and sizes.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein9g
Carbohydrates20g
Dietary Fiber8g
Fat0.4g
Calories116 kcal
Iron3.3mg

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a pantry staple that can be transformed into a myriad of dishes. They are perfect for making chickpea salads, hummus, or roasted chickpea snacks.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein8.9g
Carbohydrates27.4g
Dietary Fiber7.6g
Fat2.9g
Calories164 kcal
Iron2.9mg

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have a savory, meaty flavor and texture that makes them an excellent alternative to chicken. Portobello mushrooms, for instance, can be grilled and used as burger patties.

mushrooms
NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein3.1g
Carbohydrates3.3g
Dietary Fiber1g
Fat0.3g
Calories22 kcal

6. Seitan

Seitan, often called “wheat meat,” is a high-protein meat substitute made from gluten. It has a chewy texture and absorbs flavors well, making it suitable for various dishes, including stir-fries and sandwiches.

seitan
Seitan
NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein25g
Carbohydrates4.8g
Dietary Fiber0.3g
Fat0.6g
Calories120 kcal
Iron1.5mg

7. Jackfruit (canned, drained)

Jackfruit, when young and green, has a mild taste and a texture similar to shredded chicken. It’s often used in vegan pulled “pork” sandwiches or tacos.

Jackfruit
Jackfruit
NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein1.7g
Carbohydrates8.9g
Dietary Fiber1.5g
Fat0.2g
Calories31 kcal

8. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP, dry)

TVP is a soy-based product that’s low in cost and high in protein. It’s a great option for adding bulk to dishes like chili, tacos, or spaghetti sauce.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein50g
Carbohydrates34g
Dietary Fiber23g
Fat1g
Calories321 kcal

9. Eggs (2 large eggs)

Eggs are a cost-effective source of protein and can be prepared in countless ways, from omelets to quiches to scrambled eggs. They are a versatile alternative for many chicken-based recipes.

NutrientAmount per 2 eggs
Protein12g
Carbohydrates1.2g
Dietary Fiber0g
Fat10g
Calories140 kcal

10. Canned Tuna (in water, drained)

Canned fish, such as tuna and salmon, can be used in place of chicken in salads, sandwiches, and casseroles. It’s a budget-friendly way to incorporate healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Protein29g
Carbohydrates0g
Dietary Fiber0g
Fat1g
Calories132 kcal
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.8g

Exploring alternatives to chicken not only helps save money but also allows you to diversify your diet and reduce your environmental footprint. These top 10 cheap alternatives provide a range of flavors and textures to suit your culinary preferences. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to cut down on meat consumption, these options are delicious, affordable, and sustainable choices to consider for your next meal.

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