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Cheap protein-packed meal plan

protein
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While it’s true that grass-fed lamb is usually pricier than the wares on offer at your local late-night kebab shop, that doesn’t mean healthy eating has to cost a fortune. The meal plan below provides the perfect mix of lean protein, slow-release carbs and healthy fats required to pack on muscle and torch fat, using budget-friendly ingredients such as carrots, onions, porridge oats and canned tuna. To make your money go even further, buy the ingredients in bulk and batch-cook meals so you have plenty of nutritious leftovers for the rest of the week. For other ideas for getting more protein into your diet read our round-up of protein-rich foods.

Breakfast

Porridge oats with milk and honey are rich in filling fibre.

Lunch

A 160g can of tuna with wholemeal pasta and chopped tomatoes offers 25g of muscle-building protein.

Dinner

Lancashire hotpot   (serves 4)

900g diced lamb shoulder / 2-3tbsp olive oil / 3tbsp plain flour / 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm-thick discs / 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced / 1 sprig of thyme / 1 bay leaf / 600ml lamb stock / Salt and pepper to taste / 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.

To make

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. 
  • Dust the meat lightly with the flour and season
  • it with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat some of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the lamb until browned. Remove and set aside.
  • Add a little more oil and fry the onions and carrots over a low heat until lightly browned.
  • Place the lamb, carrots and onions in a deep casserole dish and pour in the stock. Add the bay leaf and thyme and stir the mixture thoroughly.
  • Top with three layers of potato slices, brushing each layer with olive oil and seasoning well. 
  • Bake for 1½-2 hours or until the meat is tender and the potatoes are crisp around the edges.  
  • Cover the hotpot with foil and leave to stand for ten minutes before serving.

Lamb is packed with tryptophan, which helps to regulate appetite.

Carrots are rich in immune-strengthening betacarotene.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy-sustaining slow-release carbohydrates.

Snacks

Cashew nuts and sesame seeds contain testosterone-boosting zinc.

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