We all know how hard it can be to get adequate protein while shopping on a tight budget. Even more difficult if you’re looking for something a little more healthy than the stuff at the average supermarket.
Here are five delicious ways we’ve found to reduce that cost:
- Lentils – One of the most famous uses for lentils is to add them to ground beef dishes such as taco meat on as much as a 1:1 ratio. As you can imagine, this cuts down on the cost of protein tremendously.
- Chickpeas – One of the best, tastiest ways I’ve found to stretch meat salads such as chicken, tuna, or egg, is to add mashed chickpeas to the mix. We even like chickpea salad sandwiches without meat.
- Organ meat – Organ meat grosses a lot of people out, but it’s really nutritious, and usually, really cheap. It can be chopped or ground and mixed with ground beef and nobody would be the wiser. Heart especially is good for this. I have to admit, I’ve only tasted kidneys once – and it was just a taste – but my recollection is that they had the basic texture of liver, but without the strong taste. If you can find a local grass-fed producer who sells meat by the cut, he may be able to sell you organ meats at rock bottom prices.
- Eggs – It’s pretty common knowledge that eggs are an inexpensive source of protein – even if you buy good quality eggs. Egg yolks are super food! Not only do you find half of the protein in the yolk, but also all the beneficial fats and (gasp!) cholesterol – which, by the way, is a very important nutrient for young children.
Photo by my sister
- Bone broth – We don’t throw our bones away, they all go in the crockpot (hopefully with some meat still attached, but not always), along with some water to simmer for 24+ hours. By the time it’s done, the bones are softer than corn chips. This makes a delicious, rich broth like no other. It also contains health benefits like no other. As the bones cook, many of their minerals and gelatin leach into the water. Bone broth has the interesting characteristic of attracting water to itself, whereas meat repels it. Because of this, when broth is eaten with hard to digest foods, such as meat, it makes them much easier to digest. It also makes the protein more usable by the body, effectively reducing the body’s need for protein – which makes it an ultra frugal food. I highly recommend the book Nourishing Traditions for more information on that.
There you have it! Five yummy ways to increase your protein intake without increasing the food bill.
These may be a no brainer to you, or maybe you think some of them are a little “out there”. in any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!