Don’t forget the eggs.
Eggs have been much maligned over the years, but the fact is, they are an excellent and inexpensive source of protein and the most nutritionally complete of all protein sources. One large, hard-boiled egg contains 7 grams of protein and has just 2 grams of saturated fat. To avoid the saturated fat altogether, use the egg whites and throw out the yolks. Or you can dress that egg up (and get in a serving of veggies) by making an omelet and folding in iron- and fiber-rich spinach. In studies, people who ate eggs and toast for breakfast stayed full longer and ate significantly fewer calories the rest of the day than people who ate a bagel and cream cheese. Eggs do contain a fair amount of cholesterol, but dozens of studies have shown that it’s saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that raises people’s cholesterol the most.
Go to the freezer section for frozen edamame.
These young green soybeans, in or out of their shell, are wonderful as snacks; just steam them and add a little salt. You can also add them to soups and salads. Soy has more protein, by volume, than beef, and virtually none of the saturated fat.
Pick up pork chops or a lean pork loin.
Pork loin is very lean meat and isn’t too expensive. Throw a couple of chops on the grill (dress them up first with a low-calorie garlic–lime juice marinade, or with chili and garlic powders) for a quick dinner—each is just 129 calories, with a healthy 16 grams of protein.