Protein can be expensive, but, with a little menu planning, you can keep control of the purse strings and put protein on the table. See my money-saving protein tips.
We all need protein. It’s part of every cell in the body and is essential for building and repairing muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood. It’s also helps in the development of hormones, enzymes and other important body chemicals.
Children need protein to grow, and we continue to need it throughout our lives. The best sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and lentils, but there are small amounts of protein in all foods.
Protein also helps with appetite control, it helps us to feel more satisfied for longer, so we are less likely to snack between meals.
Try these tips and enjoy protein without breaking the bank.
1. Tinned fish is cheaper than fresh fish and is still very nutritious. Tinned salmon or tuna is super in fish cakes, fish pie, sandwiches or on crackers.
2. Eggs – a versatile and affordable source of protein. Eggs are great for breakfast, are useful sandwich or salad fillers and are delicious mixed with vegetables or fish in a frittata.
3. Beans – cannellini beans and other kidney beans are a good source of plant protein and can be used in salads, soups and casseroles. You can reduce the amount of meat you put in a casserole by adding beans.
4. Plan your weekly menu and use your menu plan to write your shopping list. That way you’ll be able to buy all your ingredients in just one visit to the supermarket. Each trip to the supermarket makes it more likely that you will buy things you don’t need, and it can sabotage your weight-control efforts.
5. Meat is expensive so you may want to reduce the number of meat meals you have in a week. For good health, it is advisable not to eat meat every day. However, meat is also a good source of minerals like iron and zinc, so unless you plan to eat a balanced vegetarian diet, you do not need to eliminate it entirely from the family menu.
6. Take advantage of specials on more expensive proteins such as lean red meat or chicken and stock up your freezer. When deciding how much you need for the family, try thinking in serving portions – a serve is the size of the palm of your hand, or for an adult woman around 125grams, and for a man around 150grams.