In case you haven’t been buying groceries lately, you might not know just how expensive meat sources can be. Chicken, beef, and pork can all put a big dent in your budget. What, then, are some other places to find protein for your budget? From peanut butter to beans, here are a few cheaper, plant-based protein staples you can add to your diet!
Edamame, tofu, or tempeh–whichever way you like your soybeans, you might be happy to know how high in protein they are. You can add soy-based products to salads, eat them as a snack, or cook them in place of meat, making soy sources of protein a versatile addition to your diet. You can even make plain soybeans into curries, soups, stews, and other savory dishes for the last couple months of the cold. If you’re on a time crunch, companies like Soylent also offer some quick, on-the-go protein alternatives.
Another soup or stew ingredient on the list, lentils are a filling, natural addition to any main dish. Lentils work great in soups or stews, as a side dish of their own, as the protein in tacos– you can even throw them onto a salad as a topping! Just one cup of lentils provides 50% of your daily recommended fiber intake for the day. Scientists have also proven that lentils promote a healthy gut and contain high levels of minerals like manganese and folate, making them an all-around health staple.
Canned, stewed, or in a chili–however you like your garbanzo, kidney, or black beans, know that you’re getting the protein you need! Depending on the type of bean, beans have on average 10-12 grams of protein per serving. While this protein content can’t compare to the likes of chicken breasts, which have closer to 40 grams of protein per serving, they make a great salad topping, side, or addition to a dish. Any extra protein is good protein!
While only coming up with nine grams of protein per serving, this low-calorie side dish is comparatively nutrient dense. One serving of peas has about as much protein as does a cup of milk, with a few more calories, but much more antioxidants and vitamins. You can also add peas to a whole host of other dishes, making them an easy addition to your kitchen cooking repertoire.
As a substitute for rice, pasta, and other carbohydrates, quinoa is an easy choice. With around 200 calories a serving and eight grams of protein a pop, it serves as a healthy carb substitute, salad topping, and addition to a soup or stew. While there are different types of quinoa, the protein content in each is relatively similar. If you’re looking for some easy-to-make quinoa recipes, there are breakfast cereals, boxed rice pilaf mixes, and quinoa flours for all of your cooking and baking needs.
While you shouldn’t ditch the eggs for breakfast just yet, oatmeal makes for a healthy way to break your fast and get six grams of protein at the same time. If you’re looking to break out of the brown sugar and raisin breakfast mold, you can add oatmeal to homemade bread, find it in protein bars, and eat it with rosemary, some pepper, and an egg over-easy.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Peanut butter, almonds, and other nuts and nut butter are a great addition to any snack. Unbalanced nuts are the best way to go, and all-natural nut butter is your healthiest option. Nuts and nut butter are also a great way to get healthy fats and fibers in your diet.
Want to get more protein in your diet? Want to learn more about healthy eating? Let us know by leaving a comment down below with your thoughts!