Protein is an amino acid which is vital to our every day lives. It’s especially important for those of us who like to work out – it’s essential to get adequate protein in our diets in order to keep our muscles growing and strong. Even for those of you who are looking more at slimming down rather than beefing up, building muscle will actually help you lose fat faster and keep it off.
So, how do we get protein? The most common source of protein for most Americans is meat, but this is not necessarily the most energy efficient or cheapest way to get it. Of course, a steak will have a ton of protein, but this is not cheap and is not necessarily the best way to get protein into our bodies.
A great way to make sure that you save money on your protein intake while leaning down your sources of protein is to switch out meat with eggs. Eggs are much cheaper and easier to cook and serve in portions as compared to meat, and are perfectly healthy. If you really want to maximize the health quotient of eggs, try cooking only with the egg whites. Most of the cholesterol and fat in eggs is in the yolk.
Another way to get protein from a non-meat source is through beans. Beans are super cheap and also incredibly good for you – in fact, one of the best foods for humans to consume are lentils. Canned beans are inexpensive and take very little time to prepare, and can be quite delicious if seasoned properly. For those of you who really want to save money, consider purchasing dried beans. Dried beans take a little more forethought than the canned variety – being that you’ll need to soak them overnight – but they’re extremely cheap and pack a punch with nutrients and protein.
The main thing to stay away from if you’re on a budget is the specialty “protein bars and shakes” that dominate the health food market these days. It’s not that these are inherently bad for you, but they are extremely expensive for the protein they contain, and there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t get the same amount of protein from different sources. If you want to live healthy, cheap, and happy, try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and this includes “diet” processed foods!
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