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7 Affordable Protein Sources

Smart choices for your budget and health
edamame bowl
edamame bowl

By Ashild Tessnes, PT Trainer at Surrey Hills

With the rising cost of living, we are always on the lookout for good quality reasonable protein sources. Protein is a crucial macro nutrient and should always be a priority when putting together meals.

Here are our latest tips;

• Edamame Beans – a bright green and crunchy vegan alternative. Edamame is an excellent source of protein with one cup of shelled beans (160 grams) providing an impressive 18 grams of protein. We love just boiling edamame and adding some salt and munching on them instead of chips. You can also add them to poke bowls or salad as a great protein booster. This week they are $9 a kilo at Coles in the frozen section.

• Canned Tuna – easy, versatile and packs a punch. Tuna may be a bit of an acquired taste according to some, but you can easily spruce up the plain spring water option with some low-fat mayo, spring onion and other herbs and spices. Tuna has around 16g of protein in a 70g serving. Tinned tuna sets you back between $8-20 a kilo depending on the brand. But you get MANY serves on the kilo.

• Plain Greek Yogurt – can be added to literally every meal of the day. Yoghurt and muesli, yoghurt dressing, yogurt marinade, a dash of yoghurt instead of mayo. The options are endless. The highest protein brands are Chobani and YoPro. In a 160g serve you will get an impressive 15g of protein. In comparison the Coles brand Greek style natural yoghurt has 8.5g in a 160g serve. The cost of Chobani (big tubs) is $8.70 a kilo.

• Black beans are a great way to boost your protein intake (and your fibre intake too). The canned ones are super easy to use; heat up, add some Mexican spices and use them in your tacos. If you are just starting out with beans, you can even go half half with your regular mince. A one-cup serve of black beans will give you 14.5g of protein. Canned beans start from as little as $3.50 a kilo.

• Eggs are a GREAT protein source! Eggs have so many vital nutrients and also happen to be super versatile. Boiled, omelet, mixed into a stir fry, in pancakes and my favourite; frittata, add whatever leftover, sad vegetables you have (onion, capsicum, mushrooms…), maybe some ham or bacon, a bit of cheese and milk and you have a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack ready to go. A serving of 2 eggs gives you around 13-15g of protein, depending on the size. Eggs are around $10 a kilo, depending on brand. You COULD also get a couple of chickens…

• Turkey mince is a great alternative to your lean 5-star beef mince. Turkey is generally pretty low fat in comparison to beef but still packs a punch with protein with about 34g per 150g serve. Turkey is very versatile, you can add it to any dish you would normally use beef mince, add your usual spices and whip up a familiar dish with less saturated fat and save some dollars too (*please note there is a huge difference in price on beef mince depending on the fat percentage). Currently, turkey mince is about $13 a kilo.

• Canned salmon is a great alternative to fresh salmon. Be mindful of the brand you buy, as the price differs a lot. The best option today was less than $14 a kilo – compared to fresh salmon which is often three times as much. Canned salmon can be used in all the same ways you would use canned tuna – just as a spread on rice cakes or toast, make a nice pasta salad with some added crunch from celery or capsicum, some low-fat mayo, frozen peas and corn and you have a wholesome meal with a good balance in macro-nutrients without breaking the bank.

Hope these ideas can help you in your hunt for good quality reasonable protein to feed yourself and the family.


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