I started a frequently asked questions video series on my You Tube channel and someone asked a question about protein. They are moving towards eating a vegetarian diet and wanted to know some inexpensive ways to get their protein.
I answered the subscriber’s question in a video, but I thought it would be a good idea to write about this in a post (I missed a few things). With all that’s going on with our economy today, we need to make every dollar count.
You Don’t Need Expensive Protein Powders
Protein powders are good, but they are very pricey. I haven’t purchased any protein powders this year. Protein powders are not necessary for you to get your protein. It is always a good idea to get most of what you need from your food and not from something processed in a jar.
Beans are not very expensive. Whenever you’re in your local grocery store, check out the prices of dried and canned beans. Beans are cheaper than poultry, beef, fish and pork, plus they are healthier for you.
If you have access to a Farmers Market that sells beans, you can find some great deals and a large selection.
Beans are good sources of fiber, help regulate blood sugar, are good for cardiovascular health and have vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
Note: There are many different kinds of beans and each kind has a specific nutritional profile. Eat a variety of beans.
Whole grains are good to eat with your beans. Because they help you get a complete source of protein. Quinoa is the only grain, but not technically a grain, that you can eat alone, which gives you the complete protein needed.
Whole grains are a little on the expensive side, but if you’re not overly concerned with your grains being organic, then you can find some pretty good deals. Organic whole grains are more expensive than non-organic whole grains, but when you’re trying to save money, it pays to go the non-organic route.
Some Farmers Markets sell whole grains and you can find many different kinds of whole grains. The prices are very reasonable and you can buy whole grains in bulk.
Whole grains are high in fiber, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, help protect against heart disease, helps you maintain your weight and have good sources of vitamins, and minerals.
Note: You can probably find these whole grains in your local grocery store, but do know there are more than what I have listed: whole-grain corn, whole oats/oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole grain barley, wild rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and whole wheat flour.
Seitan (from whole grain wheat)
Seitan is known as wheat gluten, wheat meat or simply gluten. If you are allergic to wheat, you should avoid this product. For those of you who are not allergic to wheat, seitan is a good source of protein.
The price of seitan in grocery stores varies, but sometimes, I find it marked down. It is not always marked down, but be on the look out for it.
You can also make your own seitan. This is cheaper and probably a healthier choice, because you know what’s in your seitan. Here is a recipe showing you how to make seitan.
There is a lot of controversy about soy foods, but I say, if you try it and it doesn’t bother you, include it in your diet.
My rule of thumb is to stick with soy foods that are not highly processed. See what the research says about soy and you be the judge.
Soy foods are good sources of protein and they come in many forms.
Check out your local grocery store and you may find some good deals on edamame, tempeh (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented), and tofu.
Tip: Buy firm/extra firm tofu and place serving sizes in freezer bags. *Make sure you remove the excess water. The texture will change, but you will have a serving when you need it.
Nut, Seed and Rice Milks
You don’t have to drink cow’s milk, there are other milk alternatives that are not derived from animals.
These milk alternatives are not only good for vegetarians, but also good for those who have milk allergies.
You should find a variety of milk alternatives in your local grocery store. Make sure you select fortified milks. You can sometimes find these milks on sale too.
You can make your own milk using whatever nut and seeds you like. If you can get to a Farmers Market you might find some good deals on nuts and seeds. Curious about how to make milk from nuts or seeds, here is a quick and easy way to make almond milk.
Note: Here is a list of milk alternatives: almond, coconut, hemp seed, rice, brown rice and soy.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein. They not only have protein, but they have good fats and other vitamins and minerals.
Nuts and seeds are expensive, but if you visit a Farmers Market that sells nuts and seeds, you can find some good deals. Be on the look out for sales on nuts and seeds in your local grocery store too.
Tip: Make nuts and seeds last longer by storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have a protein too. The amount of protein is not very high, but do know that protein is present. When you find fruits and vegetables on sale, buy them.
Note: If you have too many fruits and vegetables you can always can or freeze them. Here’s a video on how to preserve tomatoes.
Make sure you always eat a variety of foods and you should never go lacking in protein.
Discussion: What are some inexpensive ways you get your protein on a vegetarian diet?
- Get Going With Whole Grains (everydayhealth.com)
- 25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List (wisebread.com)
- Healthy Eating Tip: Eat at Least 3 Different Whole Grains Daily (fitsugar.com)
- The Wondrous Benefits of Soy Protein (thepearlsofwisdom.wordpress.com)