Protein is an essential nutrient that serves many functions such as growth and repair of cells and tissues like muscle, promotes health skin and hair, regulates blood sugar levels, and gives you a feeling of fullness and satiation. All of this is accomplished via protein’s building blocks which are known as amino acids.
The major downside with protein is that is tends to be an expensive food group. The price of chicken, fish, and beef seem to go up every year, which creates a barrier for getting high quality protein for many people.
What most don’t know is that there are several ways to get quality sources of protein in your diet without having to break the bank, and spend an arm and a leg to do so.
Below are 5 inexpensive ways to get high quality protein
Per serving, black beans have the most protein in terms of grams than any other “non meat” protein source. Not only are they cheap and inexpensive, but they are a great source of complex carbs as well.
They are relatively low in calories, and nutrient dense. ½ cup of black beans has 9g of protein, and is also an excellent source of Iron.
Black beans are a diverse food that can be added to salads, mixed in with stir fries, made into patties for burgers, and a great staple in chili.
For 1 can, which can get you 2-3 meals, you can pay as little as $1.99! Talk about a major cost savings compared to poultry!
Eggs and Egg Whites
Purchased in bulk, and even in small quantities, eggs and egg whites are a great inexpensive way to meet protein needs.
1 egg or 1 white has 5g of protein, and is an excellent source of Vitamin D and B-12
Eggs, much like black beans are a diverse food that can be used in salads, at breakfast, and even for lunch and dinner with some greens and fried sweet potato.
You can get a carton of eggs for as little as $2, which can last you 2 weeks or more, depending on how often you have eggs.
This is another, great inexpensive source of protein coming from the lentil family. Kidney beans are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and of course a great source of protein and complex carbs. Also a key source of vitamin B1, folate, copper, and iron.
Kidney beans are a great addition to salad, chili, soup, curries, and stir fries and have almost 9 g of protein per ½ cup serving.
When bought on sale, a can of kidney beans will range from 2-3 dollars, and give you at least 2-3 meals.
Be sure to wash kidney beans thoroughly, especially if you are using the canned ones before eating.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is a great protein source that has hit the mainstream and is here to stay.
When bought in bulk, or on sale, Greek yogurt offers an inexpensive source of protein loaded with Vitamin B-12 and Calcium.
Greek yogurt can be used as a staple at breakfast, in parfaits, desserts, as a snack, or a base for dips or substitute for sour cream.
A container of Greek yogurt will run you 3 dollars, and will last you at least a few meals/snack. ½ cup gets you 10-12g of quality protein.
Again, going back to the lentil family, Chick peas offer a quality source as protein at an excellent price. At 2-3 dollars a can, chick peas can be used in salads, dips (like hummus), chili, soups, quinoa salads, etc.
For every ½ cup serving, chick peas gives you 8-10g of protein, along with fiber, complex carbs, and are loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin B-6.
As you can see, there are many inexpensive ways you can get protein without breaking the bank and spending a ton of money, and all the while making your health the main priority.
You don’t need to sacrifice health in the name of saving money, like many believe you do! All you need is a little creativity, and some working knowledge around nutrition and foods!
Always here to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team