Image by pietroizzo via Flickr
Besides being delicious (sorry, vegetarians and vegans), meat, fish and poultry are important sources of protein in our diet. Unfortunately, they can often be quite expensive, and too much meat can negatively impact your health.
Luckily, there other ways to get protein, and many of them are healthier and far less expensive. Legumes. AKA beans, peas, and lentils, this versatile food group is an excellent source of protein, and tends to be low fat, contain no cholesterol, and have a lot of folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. Beans also have “good” fats and fiber.
Eggs. For the amount of calories they “cost” you, eggs are an excellent source of protein. Even better, they contain choline, a nutrient that helps with brain development and memory, and lutein, which helps your vision.
Tofu. The chameleon of foods, tofu is not only an amazing source of protein with about 10 grams per half cup, but packs in a lot of calcium as well. Better yet, research has shown that regular intake of soy protein lowers cholesterol levels by as much as 30%!
Learn your loins and rounds. For the meat you do eat, make sure you buy lean cuts. Generally speaking, the leanest cuts of meat have “loin” or “round” in the name. This isn’t necessarily less expensive, but it will save you on potential medical costs and extra time spent at the gym that fattier meats could cause. Besides, yo”ll save money anyway because you’re going to eat…
Smaller portion sizes. Have your meat. Just have less of it for each meal. This will extend your budget while helping your waistline at the same time. Supplement the protein you’ll be losing from eating less meat with one of the options above.
Buy DIY meat. Cuts of meat will always be more expensive because they have to pay someone to do all of that cutting. But if you’re willing to do it yourself–say, by purchasing a whole chicken or super sized “family packs” in the meat section–you’ll save yourself some cash.
How do you incorporate protein into your diet without busting your budget? Share your tips with us in the comments!
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.