6 Affordable Protein Choices
Today, I want to talk about some of the different affordable protein sources that are available to us.
Times have been tough for a lot of people since the pandemic. Jobs, the economy, and stability have all been impacted, while prices—including groceries—haven’t come down.!
My purpose in writing is to reassure you that it’s definitely possible to eat healthy even on a budget.
Protein is one of the basic building blocks of a healthy diet and you need to make sure youre getting enough, especially when you’re getting fit. So, let’s dive right in and take a look at a few of the inexpensive protein foods.
#1 — Nut Butters
Nut butter is a great source of protein, weighing in at about 8 grams of protein per two-tablespoon serving.
Peanut butter is SUPER affordable with most brands being less than $5 per 16-oz jar. You do want to make sure you look for natural peanut butter with no added sugars and unhealthy oils.
You can even make your own peanut butter! Here’s an easy recipe from Love & Lemons: Homemade Peanut Butter
Other nut butters are priced higher, but if you have a food store membership, like Costco or Sam’s Club, you can get a much better price on a large jar of almond butter.
One of the GREAT things about nut butter is its many uses.
- Mix it in a smoothie
- Put a dollop on some oatmeal
- Pair it with an apple or celery
- Spread it on 100% whole-grain bread or crackers
There are lots of healthy yummy dishes that call for nut butter, too. Here are a few:
- African Peanut Soup
- Peanut Butter Oat Energy Balls (I add Shakeology to these for an extra protein punch!!!)
- Crunchy Rainbow Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bars
- Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
#2 — Soy-Based Products
There are many vegetarian and vegan products made from soybeans, including tofu and tempeh. And, edamame is immature soybeans and they’re great for snacking.
Tofu is the result of pressing together bean curds. The final result is a square block that looks something like cheese. Tofu doesn’t have much taste, which is what makes it so versatile…it works great in different plant-based dishes because it absorbs the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in.
Fermented mature soybeans create the base for tempeh, which also ends up pressed into a block. Tempeh has a nutty flavor and is full of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, and minerals. Like tofu, tempeh works well as a meat substitute in a high-protein plant-based diet.
I like either of these affordable protein choices with a little soy sauce on them or you can simply use them as a “meat” in your Buffet Style Food Prep.
If you feel like cooking from a recipe, try one of these:
- Tofu Stir Fry
- Beefless Vegan Tacos
- Veggie Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
- Vegan BLT with Tempeh Bacon
- One Pan Tempeh Bolognese
#3 — Seitan
Sei- what??? If you’re looking for the best protein for vegetarians, don’t overlook seitan (say-TAN)!
Seitan is an interesting meat substitute made from gluten. Just 3-1/2 ounces contains about 25 grams of protein!
Like tofu and tempeh, seitan is very versatile—you can sauté it, grill it, or pan fry it and it works great in lots of recipes. It’s a go-to for vegans and vegetarians alike.
Seitan is fabulous for people who can’t eat soy. However, you shouldn’t eat seitan if you have any wheat sensitivities or celiac disease, since it’s made from gluten.
Just like tofu and tempeh, you can use this as your “meat” or you can try one of these yummy seitan recipes:
#4 and #5 — Vegetables & Beans
Sugar-snap peas, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and yellow corn are all good sources of protein. Although not as high in protein as meat, they’re much healthier.
Beans, or legumes, are in a special class of their own, but they’re frequently placed in the vegetable category. Common beans include black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto, and white beans.
Beans may be the magical fruit for more than one reason! 😉 If you’re looking for the best protein for vegetarians, these are near the top of the list. That’s because they pack a POWERFUL punch when it comes to nutrients, protein AND fiber. Plus, they’re low in fat.
Black beans have 15 grams of protein per cup with the added benefit of about 15 grams of fiber per cup as well.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have a WHOPPING 39 grams of protein and 35 grams of fiber per cup!
Women should aim to eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should eat about 38. One cup of beans is more than half the recommended amount of fiber for women per day.
Bags of dried beans are one of the most affordable protein choices and they’re easy to rehydrate and cook, especially if you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
They are great in soups, salads, and many other dishes.
#6 — Quinoa
Quinoa is actually a seed, but most people treat it like a grain. It’s a great source of protein with about 9 grams per cooked cup.
Quinoa (KEEN-wah) also has fiber, manganese, and iron, plus it’s also a good source of antioxidants and minerals.
I like quinoa because it’s so versatile and it )adapts well to both sweet and savory dishes and you can shape it into veggie burgers or put it in a casserole.
Use it in place of rice or pasta or try one of these delicious recipes:
Protein and Weight Loss
Protein is important for weight loss. Protein and fiber both make you feel full and vegetables, beans, and vegan alternatives are healthier than a diet filled with red meat and processed foods.
I hope you start trying out these affordable protein choices right away!
One of the AWESOME nutrition programs Beachbody offers is the 2B Mindset program. One of the reasons it’s so effective because it’s heavy on the veggies.
A high-protein, plant-based diet goes a long way toward helping you meet your health and fitness goals—and, this nutrition program can get you there!
So, if you’re looking to get healthy and fit AND stay on a budget, opt for the foods on this list and consider the 2B Mindset program.
Pair it with Shakeology, Beachbody’s high protein meal replacement shake, which comes in both whey and plant-based formulas, and you have a winning combo. Protein supplements may seem expensive if you don’t know how to look at them—I highly recommend you take the time to read this post about the actual cost of Shakeology: I Can’t Afford Shakeology! Really???
Questions? It’s my mission to help you reach your health and fitness goals so don’t hesitate to reach out to me!