10 AFFORDABLE PROTEINS TO ADD TO YOUR MEALS.

Eating well can be expensive. We found the best protein-rich foods that fit a tight budget.

For numerous individuals, maintaining a healthy diet is often hindered by the high costs associated with healthier food choices. However, there are strategies to overcome this dilemma and make intelligent, nutritious decisions. If you’re seeking to boost your protein intake without straining your budget, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll discover a list of fantastic and affordable protein sources readily available at any supermarket, along with easy methods to incorporate them into your meals.

Enhancing the protein content of your dishes is a breeze when you have a well-stocked arsenal of these protein-packed wonders.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also referred to as garbanzo beans, are a versatile and nutritious legume. A single cup of cooked chickpeas contains 269 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber. These little powerhouses are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin A, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Conveniently, you can find chickpeas in two forms: dried or canned.

Dried chickpeas require some cooking time, but they are worth the effort. Canned chickpeas are readily available if you prefer a quick and easy option. Simply open the can and they’re ready to use.

There are numerous ways to incorporate chickpeas into your meals. Sprinkle them over a fresh salad for added texture and protein. Enhance the flavor and nutritional value of chili or pasta dishes by tossing in some chickpeas. You can even mash them and incorporate them into your burger or meatloaf mixture before cooking to boost the taste and nutrition.

Whether you choose to cook dried chickpeas or use canned ones, these legumes are a fantastic addition to your diet. Enjoy their versatility and reap the benefits of their impressive nutrient profile.

Beans

Beans

Whether it’s navy, kidney, pinto, or black beans, these legumes offer a budget-friendly and protein-rich option for plant-based diets. With various benefits and a wide range of culinary uses, beans are essential to incorporate into your meals. They are a great source of protein and provide valuable nutrients like fiber, calcium, zinc, and iron. Discover the versatility of beans and explore how they can elevate your dishes, from rice and pasta to soups, stews, chili, and even desserts.

 Nutritional Benefits:

Beans are a nutritious powerhouse, particularly when it comes to their protein content. A single cup of canned or cooked black beans contains approximately 128 calories and provides an impressive 15 grams of protein. Additionally, beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. These legumes also offer substantial amounts of calcium, zinc, and iron, contributing to bone health, immune support, and oxygen transportation in the body.

Incorporating Beans into Your Meals:

The versatility of beans allows for endless culinary possibilities. Consider adding them to your favorite rice dishes, such as a flavorful bean and rice casserole or a zesty bean burrito bowl. Enhance the richness of pasta dishes by mixing in beans for added protein and texture. Soups and stews benefit greatly from the addition of beans, providing heartiness and nutritional value. Adding beans to chili not only boosts the protein content but also introduces a delightfully earthy flavor.

Moreover, beans can lend themselves beautifully to salads, bringing a satisfying and nutritious element to your greens. Try tossing a handful of cooked beans into your salad for an extra protein boost and a unique texture.

Surprisingly, beans can even be incorporated into desserts. By blending a can of beans into your brownie mix, you can add moisture and a subtly nutty flavor to your treats, all while increasing their protein content.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese

Introducing a delectable cheese curd crafted from the finest cow’s milk, carefully washed to reduce its natural acidity. The outcome is a delicately flavored cheese boasting a creamy texture and mild taste, harmonizing flawlessly with both sweet and savory culinary creations. Incredibly, a mere half cup of this low-fat cottage cheese offers a paltry 90 calories, a mere 1 gram of fat, and a staggering 16 grams of protein.

Embrace its versatility by incorporating it into your daily routine. Enhance the richness of your smoothies, elevate the goodness of your pancakes or waffles, or ingeniously blend it as a substitute for high-fat ingredients in your favorite dips and dressings. The possibilities are truly endless with this remarkable cheese curd.

Pistachios

Pistachios

Discover a Surprising and Affordable Protein Source: Pistachios!

Looking to add more protein to your diet without breaking the bank? Look no further than pistachios, according to Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a nutrition partner with Wonderful Pistachios. These little green nuts pack a powerful protein punch, making them one of the best snack options available. With a mere 6 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving, pistachios are an excellent source of filling protein. The best part? A 6-ounce bag of shelled Wonderful Pistachios costs less than $6, which means you’re paying less than a dollar per serving!

If you’re wondering how to incorporate pistachios into your meals, the options are endless. They can be sprinkled over salads, added to Greek yogurt for a protein-packed snack, or mixed into oatmeal for a delightful crunch. They also make a great addition to vegetable or rice sides, enhancing both the flavor and nutritional content of your dishes.

For a unique and delicious twist, Amy Gorin suggests trying a lupini bean and pistachio salad. This combination not only offers a protein boost but also introduces a delightful mix of textures and flavors.

In summary, pistachios provide an unexpected and budget-friendly solution for those seeking additional protein in their diet. With their high protein content and affordable price, they are a versatile snack that can be enjoyed in various ways. So why not reach for a handful of pistachios and unlock a world of protein-packed possibilities?

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but also pack a powerful nutritional punch. With just one ounce, you’ll get a satisfying dose of 146 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein. Beyond that, these tiny seeds are a treasure trove of essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, they contain approximately 17% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, and a significant amount of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, ranging between one-quarter to one-third of the recommended daily amounts.

The versatility of roasted pumpkin seeds knows no bounds when it comes to incorporating them into your culinary creations. They can be seamlessly incorporated into both sweet and savory dishes, adding a delightful crunch and a boost of nutrition. To explore their potential, try adding them to muffin batter for an extra element of texture, or sprinkle them over waffles, pancakes, Greek yogurt, hot cereal, or salads to enhance both flavor and nutrition. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment by using them in pesto, trail mix, or even in brittle for a unique twist.

With its abundance of nutrients and numerous applications in the kitchen, roasted pumpkin seeds are a valuable addition to any diet. So why not indulge in their deliciousness while reaping their health benefits?

Hemp Hearts

Hemp Hearts

Beneath the outer shell of the hemp seed lies the nutritious hemp hearts. These delicate inner parts of the seed are packed with goodness. A single serving of shelled hemp seeds, which is equivalent to about 3 tablespoons and also known as hemp hearts, contains 170 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 10 grams of protein. Moreover, they are a rich source of omega-3 fats, along with various essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, and manganese.

There are numerous ways to enjoy the benefits of hemp hearts. Sprinkle them generously over salads, cereals, or yogurt for an added nutritional boost. Alternatively, incorporate them into your favorite smoothie for a creamy texture and extra nutrients. Another option is to enhance pasta and rice dishes, lasagna, hamburgers, and meatballs by sprinkling hemp hearts on top, adding a subtle nutty flavor and a touch of nutrition.

The versatility and nutritional value of hemp hearts make them an excellent addition to a variety of dishes, allowing you to reap their health benefits while enjoying delicious meals.

Edamame

Edamame

Introducing these tiny soybeans brimming with protein, which can effortlessly enhance a variety of meals. Just two-thirds of a cup of shelled edamame offers a delightful balance of nutrition. With 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 9 grams of carbs, these little powerhouses are a great addition to your diet. Moreover, they boast 4 grams of fiber, leaving you feeling satisfied, while also providing 25% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake and 10% of both the recommended iron and calcium intake.

The versatility of these baby soybeans knows no bounds; you can easily incorporate them into numerous dishes. Sprinkle them onto salads to add a nutritious crunch, toss them into soups and chili for an extra boost of protein, mix them with pasta or rice dishes for added texture, include them in stir-frys to amp up the nutritional value, or incorporate them into hearty stews to elevate the flavor. The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating these wholesome soybeans into your meals.

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chicken

For just a modest sum of 4 to 7 dollars, you have the opportunity to indulge in a delicious rotisserie meal any day of the week. A single ounce of thigh meat, free from the skin, offers a multitude of nutritional benefits. With a mere 55 calories, it packs nearly 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat, while also providing a significant dose of energy-enhancing B vitamins. The versatility of this cooked meat is unparalleled, as it can be enjoyed as is or incorporated into a wide variety of culinary creations.

The options are endless when it comes to utilizing rotisserie meat in your meals. Consider adding it to your favorite soups, sandwiches, or wraps for an extra burst of flavor and protein. Toss it into salads to elevate their taste and nutritional content. Enrich your chili, pasta dishes, and even classics like lasagna or mac and cheese by incorporating this succulent meat. The possibilities are truly limitless, ensuring that you can savor the convenience and deliciousness of rotisserie any time you desire.

Plain Greek Yogurt

Plain Greek Yogurt

Plain Greek yogurt, free from any added sugar, offers a protein content that surpasses that of regular yogurt. A 6-ounce serving of nonfat Greek yogurt contains approximately 100 calories, 18 grams of protein, and 7 grams of carbohydrates. Additionally, it provides 20% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. The versatility of Greek yogurt enables it to enhance the protein content in various culinary creations, whether savory or sweet.

You can incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet in multiple ways. For instance, it serves as an excellent addition to smoothies, imparting a creamy texture and a protein boost. Alternatively, you can use it as a topping for waffles, pancakes, or baked potatoes, replacing a portion of the butter with a healthier option. Greek yogurt can also be integrated into baked goods, yielding moistness and an increase in protein content. Moreover, it can be utilized to create ice pops, mixed into cheese blends, incorporated into dips, or included in marinades to elevate the protein level of these dishes

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

A single tablespoon of either crunchy or smooth peanut butter contains around 90 to 100 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat. The majority of the fat present is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind. Moreover, peanut butter is rich in niacin, antioxidant vitamin E, and resveratrol (also found in red wine). In terms of versatility, smooth peanut butter can be incorporated into a variety of dishes to boost their protein content.

Consider incorporating peanut butter into your diet by adding it to smoothies, muffins, pancakes, waffle, or cookie batters, soups, yogurt, dressings, and dips.