Think about fitness, joining a gym or any popular weight loss program whatsoever and the first thing they’ll tell you is to increase your intake of protein. After all, it’s like the soil to a garden. Now, most people believe, fitness doesn’t go hand-in-hand with affordable foods. Dairy, fish, meat – these are all the most common and richest sources of protein but are also usually the most expensive of the entire lot in the market.
So does it mean that if you’re on a budget, there’s no way you can have your sufficient share of proteins? Well, if there’s will, there’s a way for everything. Right? So, let’s dig a little deeper into the matter to find a solution to this.
Finding Complete Protein Alternatives
Protein is basically made of amino acids, and of the total 20 amino acids, nine of them form a complete protein. These are the essential amino acids that you must have in your diet in order to maintain a well-sculpted body. But the complete proteins or the richest sources of proteins mentioned above are thankfully not the only option you have. If you try to be a little creative in your meal preparation and can plan them well, even complementary proteins can provide you with the much-needed essential amino acids.
Try grouping two or three of these together and eat them all at once, or within a few hours after one another, they can together offer the same complete protein nutrition and at a comparatively very low price. For example, the combination of rice and beans offer all nine amino acids that are required by your body but it won’t be that great of you eat them separately. Apart from that, they have many other benefits as well, like even though they will be almost equally protein-rich, the fat content would be lower in this case than in any animal-based product. Plus, it’s also rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Talking about the protein-rich options you have that are both nutritious as well as inexpensive, you can be sure that you’re not compromising much even though you pass over meat for other food options for your protein intake.
To start with, here are some of the names that easily come to mind when you think of good complementary protein sources:
Grains – Barley, wheat, oats, rice, and corn (biscuits, bread, dumplings, and pasta)
Seeds – Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
Legumes – Peanuts, soy products, beans, and peas
Nuts – Pistachios, cashews, walnuts, and almonds
Although these are the most inexpensive and yet nutritious sources of proteins, you must know the basics of mixing and matching the above ingredients right to have all the nine essential amino acids in your diet. Always remember to match grains with legumes; or seeds (or nuts) with legumes, or seeds (or nuts) with grains.
If you wish to add a little flavor to this or bring in a little variety sometimes, you can add a small amount of meat to this. This mix and match way of meal planning is one of the most inexpensive ways for you to fulfill your protein intake. If meal planning doesn’t seem to be your thing, you can always opt for best weight loss food delivery programs in your vicinity to avoid hogging on fast food, which is both more expensive and unhealthy.
Use a small piece of meat to make stews and soups and cook them long and slow to give an amazing flavor to your secondary proteins. You may even use or might have even been using them with your comfort foods, like corns, lentils, beans, rice, or pasta. Talking about secondary proteins, some more inexpensive and primary sources of protein that can be added to your diet are:
Tuna – Apart from being a budget-friendly protein option, tuna also increases the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, which is good for your heart. A tuna can of 5 ounces contain almost 30 grams of protein but FDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that nursing or pregnant women as well as young children shouldn’t consume more than 12 ounces in a week.
Ground Turkey – Look out for sales to get the best bet on ground turkey. You never know, you might be to buy 1 pound chub for almost a dollar. You can use it as a substitute for ground beef in dishes, like meatballs, meat loaf, burger or chilli. A 3.5 ounce ground turkey can contain almost 25 grams of protein. But sometimes a fattier product in bargain brands can use a larger ratio for skin-to-meat.
Remember when you’re trying to make ends meet and do not wish to compromise on the overall fitness of your family, veggies and fruits are okay but proteins are the most filling.
Eru Gomes loves writing about door-to-door meal delivery programs and weight loss tips that are both healthy and easy on the pocket. She’s working on making her own weight loss site for her dedicated reader base some time soon. Gomes is an opinionated, health freak and loves sharing her unique insights with her readers. In her free time, she loves gardening and staying off the computer screen as much as possible. She lives in Plainwell, Michigan.