Getting More Protein and SAVING Money!
Today marks the start of our Fitness Fusion Myfitnesspal Nutrition Challenge, so I thought I would write a new blog post just for the occasion! Many people struggle with getting enough protein in their diet, so I thought I would touch on some personal strategies I use that allow me to get enough protein day in and day out while on a budget!
I am going to break this post down into 4 categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. I for one, am completely fine eating the same (or similar) meals each day of the week. If you are not like me, you will end up spending more money because you’re buying more and different types of food!
Breakfast: Eggs are pretty much my go-to food item for breakfast, with added items as I see fit. Eggs are an awesome source of protein and are really inexpensive. I will usually scramble eggs and add whatever I want to them each day!
- Eggs: I buy 5 dozen eggs at once right now for $7.00 (I do all my shopping at Super Walmart in case anyone is wondering where my prices come from). I use 4 eggs at every breakfast which equates to a whopping $.47!
- Cheese: Added protein! Eggs without cheese to me tastes bland, so I use a slice of american cheese which comes to about $.25 per slice.
- Italian Turkey Sausage: For some added protein (and flavor) I add 3oz. A pound of this usually sells for $4, so 3oz comes to about $.75.
- Peppers and Onions: Sometimes I dice them up and add them to my scramble, sometimes I'm too lazy :)... either way, these are inexpensive when used sparingly.
Grand total for breakfast is roughly $1.50 every day, and get a LOT of protein from it! (yes the fat content is also high, but the rest of my day is limited fats for the most part to even it out).
Lunch: My lunch varies quite a bit, but i’ll usually have pasta and add a good amount of meat to the sauce for extra protein!
- Pasta: a 1lb box of pasta goes for about $1, and provides 5-6 servings, for a grand total of $.20 per meal! (I buy the garden vegetable pasta to get extra servings of veggies!)
- Sauce: I use 2 jars of sauce which you can find for $1 each. Again making 5-6 servings, you spend $.40 per meal.
- I put about 1.5lb of Italian Ground Turkey Sausage into the sauce, costing $4/lb. At 5-6 servings, this costs about $1 per meal.
Grand total for lunch is right around $1.60! (Good amount of protein, carbs, some fat, and servings of vegetables from the pasta and sauce).
Dinner: CHICKEN. Repeat after me. CHICKEN. Chicken should be one of your best friends when looking for super high protein at a decent price. I almost always create my dinner recipe using chicken. Most often, I make pulled bbq chicken either on a sandwich, or cucumber slices (depending on how many carbohydrates I have left for the day).
- Chicken: Always $1.99/lb at Walmart. I use 8oz each meal coming to $1 per meal.
- Bread: Always whole wheat, as an added protein source I've been buying the Arnold’s “Double Protein” bread. An entire loaf costs around $3, so using 2 slices you spend roughly $.30.
- Sugar Free BBQ Sauce: A jar at Walmart costs $3 and provides me around 8 servings, so you’re spending about $.40 per meal.
- Franks Red Hot: Sometimes I add this for a little kick, it’s calorie free and costs literally pennies per serving if you buy the biggest bottle at Walmart… so for the sake of this exercise I am not adding in the cost.
Grand total for dinner is roughly $1.70. Very high in protein! (just about 50g from 8oz of chicken breast).
Snacks: Last but not least we have snacks, which I (and everyone else) eat throughout the day. It is hard with snacks to find high protein options, but i’ll list what I usually eat.
- Protein Shake: This is my staple high protein snack, and should be yours too! Recently, with the help of a client, I found a 77 serving bag of whey protein powder for $30 at Costco. This equates to about $.38 per shake and delivering 25g of protein.
- Cottage Cheese: Some love it, some hate it... I love it. You can buy a tub for about $2.50 and it has 6 servings (I eat 2 servings at once for more protein), and that still comes to $.80 per serving (only $.40 if you have 1 serving). If you don’t like cottage cheese go with Greek Yogurt.
- Cheese Sticks: Decent amount of protein in these, and they cost about $.25 each.
That’s about it for my usual snacks in a day, for a grand total of $1.45 per day.
So to wrap it all up…
Breakfast: 524 calories, 49g protein, 32g fat, 4g carbs for $1.50.
Lunch: 580 calories, 35g protein, 13g fat, 80g carbs for $1.60.
Dinner: 510 calories for 66g protein, 9g fat, 42g carbs for $1.70.
Snacks: 420 calories for 60g protein, 9g fat, 19g carbs for $1.45.
IN TOTAL: 2034 calories, 210g protein, 63g fat, 145g carbs for $6.25!
So as you can see, if you make sure to include protein in (almost) all of your meals and snacks, it is not impossible to get enough! Although this is a sample of one day of my diet, it does change slightly day to day… but I always make sure to get enough protein to help muscle recovery and building!
On the topic of saving money, I hope you can also see that all of these options are very inexpensive! If you were to eat this way for an entire week you would only spend $43.75… and that is a LOT cheaper than most people's current grocery bills! Go out to eat less, cook for yourself more, your wallet (and protein intake) will thank you :)
I hope this post has been enlightening! To all of you taking part in the challenge, GOOD LUCK! If anyone has questions or would like to talk more about anything from protein, saving money while shopping, myfitnesspal, goals, macronutrients, or anything in between… don’t hesitate to reach out! I am here to help!
Until next time,