I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat it but I don’t particularly like to cook. Unfortunately, I don’t have the budget or the macros to go out to eat all the time. It’s paramount that I continue to try and stay within our prescribed food budget which is a challenge in of itself. But, then, making sure we are eating healthy, that takes even more work. Meat is not cheap!
Go with a plant based diet, people say. No,thank you. I eat protein, and a lot of it. I work out and my goal is to build a lot more muscle. Besides, at the end of the day, I love seafood, steak, and big old hamburger once in awhile.
Here are 5 cheap proteins:
If you buy the higher fat ground beef, just rinse it after draining it to take off a lot of the extra oil. You definitely don’t need to spend the money on 90/10 ground beef. 80/20 works just fine!
As I write this, I have a whole chicken in my Crock-pot. To make it better, it was 50% because the sell by date was tomorrow. Of course, I bought it, came home and tossed it in my Crock pot with some onion, carrots, a bay leaf, and some rosemary. If I didn’t have the time to put it in the Crock-pot, I could use my Instant Pot as well, or even more simple, roast it in the oven.
The Fage I buy at Costco is 14 grams of protein for 1 cup with virtually no fat. The giant tub is only $6. Besides eating it plain, with fruit and/or granola, I often use it in the place of sour cream.
I can buy 5 dozen at Costco for $9.99 and have them for most meals. Eggs in the morning, egg salad for lunch or dinner on the go. If I’m watching any extra fat, I use more egg whites and less egg yolks.
Kirkland brand tuna is about $16 for 8 cans, and they aren’t the tiny cans either. Each can is 7 oz. So, you get more for your buck. I get that tuna is often a love or hate thing for people, but it’s a good price point for a HIGH source of protein. I make tuna salad (using yogurt instead of mayonnaise) or make tuna burgers for dinner.
Not all protein sources have to be protein, and some plant based protein sources are very inexpensive.
Seriously, nothing is cheaper than dried beans! Easy to cook, versatile, and beyond inexpensive. I always have fresh cooked beans on hand. I can add some to any meal of the day. And did I mention how inexpensive they are, especially if you can buy them in bulk.
Another tip on picking up inexpensive protein is to hit your favorite store in the morning and check out the meat section. A lot of times stores will put meat that has a very soon sell by date on clearance. These can be a great buy, especially if you have a chance to cook them that day. I do take a bit of precaution when it comes to sell by dates though. If the meat looks at all discolored or there is a lot of air in the package, I’ll usually pass.