Last week, a patient was sharing with me her biggest struggles on the current nutrition regimen I was asking her to follow. For her, grocery costs were becoming a huge issue! I recommend eating the cleanest sources of meat possible, which unfortunately typically brings a higher price tag than the conventionally raised counterparts. I also recommend anywhere from 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day depending on each individual case. Due to this patient’s body composition, current exercise regimen, and very active lifestyle, I was recommending 1 whole gram of protein for every pound she currently carried. That’s a lot!!!
Together, we brainstormed some awesome sources of protein that are more affordable. Here’s what we came up with:
Greek yogurt is strained in such a way to carry more protein than traditional yogurt (around 20 grams per serving). Opt for the plain, full-fat versions as the others carry tons of added sugar. Add it to smoothies for creaminess, serve with berries for breakfast, or with cacao nibs and a little honey for dessert. Delicious! Around $4 for a 32 oz container buys you 80 grams of protein! Not bad.
Research is all over the map when it comes to soy products. Though I don’t like to see people too dependent on soy as a dietary staple, tempeh is a fermented form of soy product that is often much cleaner than it’s counterparts like tofu. Plus, it has a much more appealing texture if you ask me. There’s a learning curve when it comes to cooking it, but you can utilize sources like pinterest for finding great recipes. It comes in at about five bucks per pound, which buys you 80g of protein!
Many of the popular current diets have foregone beans and therefore, many of us have forgotten them for how awesome they are. Beans can be a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy carbohydrate. Make sure to soak them before cooking to minimize the “magical fruit” effects of these nutritional powerhouses. Beans typically run about a buck a pound which, depending on type, buys you anywhere from 20 to 35 grams of protein.
Eggs pack the most beautiful nutritional symphony on the planet! They are packed with branched chain amino acids or BCAAs and glutamic acid, which make them the perfect post-workout recovery snack for your muscles. They also carry healthy fat and fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and D. For the pasture-raised, non-antibiotic fed eggs, you’ll usually spend around $4 per dozen which buys you 72g of protein.
While peanut butter is the cheapest, many people tend to not tolerate it well, so I recommend paying the extra for almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or pumpkin seed butter. These will run you anywhere from $5-$12 for a 12oz jar, but that will buy you 75-98g of protein.
Lentils are a staple in many plant-based cultures for a reason. They are easy to prepare, versatile, and very affordable. They are also high in fiber to keep you feeling satiated and keep your bowels moving. At around $1.50 per pound, you can reap the benefits of 112g of protein!!
Have food budgeting down to a science? Feel free to share some of your grocery hacks for eating clean on a budget in the comments below.