How’s your grocery bill looking these days? Mine has jumped up! But before you go all rogue and extreme on me with ideas of becoming Breatharian let's throw a few ideas around. I’m going to address protein as this is often first crossed off the list when budgets get tight. And refined carbs (think pasta, bread and rice) take its place as they are filling, affordable and easy. It’s like the perfect trifactor only it isn’t! They are a poor nutritional substitute for protein.
First up, why is protein important? It gets broken down to amino acids that are necessary for building and repairing muscle, neurotransmitters, hormones, immune function, blood sugar regulation, energy, absorption of other minerals…shall I go on? No wonder they are referred to as the building blocks of life! So we’ve established their necessity in your diet.
Next, what constitutes protein? This is pretty broad although many only associate it as being meat. Protein is contained to varying degrees in most foods but there are some with a good, quality bang for your buck and these are what we need to be eating to get enough. Meat is protein in all it’s forms, also eggs, cow’s, sheep and goat’s milk and related products. We can also look to nuts and seeds. And pulses or legumes. These are so versatile and super budget friendly.
Lastly, so what do I do with the more budget friendly options? Super question. Glad you asked. If you are a meat eater then look for cheaper cuts you can stew and stretch. By stretch I mean add pulses to get the meaty flavour but more plant based protein which means fibre. Awesome option. Also look at offal. I hear the collective ‘yuck’ from here but they are undeniably an excellent source of protein PLUS a whole host of other nutrients. Heart, yes heart, is the least offally offal as it’s a muscle. Lean, tender, you can even stuff with nuts and roast. It honestly tastes like regular meat. No kidding. Try it and let me know what you think!
Eggs! Eggs have the perfect amino acid profile. It has them all in natures wrapping in equal amounts. Omelettes, scrambled eggs, poached or fried, shakshuka, eggs Florentine, frittata, quiche and I haven’t even got to desserts. Go get some eggs!
I love pulses and legumes because they are full of fibre as well as protein. Think lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas, navy or borlotti beans, cannellini etc. They soak up flavour and deliver a filling and homely meal without a big budget. If they make you farty then try soaking overnight to reduce the gas. Blend to make dips or patties, add to soups and stews, make baked beans (skip the sugary tins), chilli sans carne (no meat), nachos with the chilli, dahl, curries….its wild what you can do with the humble lentil or chickpea.
Bottom line folks, your health is invaluable. You need protein for your physical and mental health so don’t cut it from the list. Budgets are tight but you can make sure your meals are balanced without sacrificing your health.
Got some more ideas? Comment below!
Hello, hello! Welcome to my blog. I'm Sarah the creator of Simply Healing.
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