Cheap Proteins – Quick Eats

by on December 27th, 2014
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The cost of food keeps rising while most of our paychecks have stayed the same or gotten worse. Protein is an essential part of human nutrition. Most folks think of meats like chicken, beef and pork when the word protein is mentioned. They are great sources of protein, but they tend to cost a lot. They also require conscientious handling to avoid cross-contamination and thorough cooking to be safe for consumption. Here are some easier to prepare, less expensive choices of protein to simplify your life and lower your grocery bill.

Canned Tuna
Canned tuna often goes on sale for $1.00 for solid white. Even at full price it’s a good deal. About 6 ounces of pure protein power, plus a nice dose of vitamin E.

Canned Beans
Black beans, red beans. pinto beans, navy beans, lentils, chick peas. There are a plethora of beans in the world to choose from. Dried beans are even cheaper, but canned beans are also very low cost and extremely convenient. You can eat them straight from the can. You can cook them in spices or flavored rice. You can even make a sandwich from them. Bean sandwiches are one of those rare pleasures that only a priviledged few ever get to experience.

Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Nut Butters
Nuts are high in protein. Only peanuts really have a low cost factor as well. But provided you’re not allergic, peanuts are a very respectable protein. Peanuts are not a nut, but they are actually a legume. Which would explain their much lower cost.

Green Peas
A lot of people don’t realize that peas are a legume and like other legumes (lentils, black beans, soy beans) they are a great source of protein as well as iron. Frozen green peas can easily be defrosted with a few hour stay in the fridge. If you’re in a hurry, defrost frozen peas in a colander under cold running water. It’ll only take a few minutes. There’s no need to heat them up. Defrosted frozen green peas taste great still slightly chilly.

Canned peas can be eaten straight from the can. Try storing your unopened canned peas in the fridge. Cold canned green peas have better texture and taste than room temperature or heated canned peas.

Tofu
Which is basically a cheese made from soy beans is very low priced. A big 14 ounce block costs just $2 or $2.50. It doesn’t taste like cheese. It pretty much has no taste at all. It has a nice texture though. And readily absorbs flavors from other sources. Seared tofu is texturally satisfying. Marinate it in soy sauce, garlic powder and a little chili powder for a few hours to give it flavor. Or coat it with panko and pan fry it. Fried panko tofu is near enough to heaven.

Soy Milk.
Like tofu and edamame soy milks carry a lot of protein cred. Complete amino profile. High protein content. Low cost. No cooking required. Great taste. Soy milk also features the added benefit of vitamin b12. Pretty much every soy milk features it as a nutritional additive.

Cheese.
Goodness. Who doesn’t love cheese. It’s a flavor and nutrition powerhouse. What most people don’t realize is that a slice of cheese is just as good as eating a small chicken breast or tiny portion of steak. Cheese is brimming with protein, calcium and usually vitamin D too. It’s got a good amount of B12 as well. Cheese isn’t just something to enhance your meat. The cheese stands alone. It’s a profoundly superior protein all on its own.

Sources:
http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/Top-5-Natural-Vegetarian-sources-Vitamin-B12.php
http://www.solae.com/Soy-Nutrition-Health/Soy-Health-Benefits/Soy-Protein.aspx
I personally researched prices and nutrition content myself by shopping at local supermarkets (Pathmark, A&P, Stop and Shop and Shoprite) in Ocean County NJ, reading the food labels and eating the foods.


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