Protein is an important part of an athlete’s nutrition, primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise but also to help optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. *Science lesson over* Also, it’s yummy. But ALSO, it can be expensive. Even more so now that some parts of the US are being hit with a friggin’ creepy bird flu that is wiping out MILLIONS of chickens and turkeys. The flu is regional, so as of this post, it is only affecting egg laying birds, as laying hens and “meat birds” are raised in different parts of the country. This means the cost of eggs is going to jump, which was a super affordable means to chow lots of protein.
So what’s a muscle building, glycogen storing, cheap person supposed to do? Hit up some of these high protein affordable alternatives to meat:
1) Rice & Beans
There is a reason rice and beans are so often served at the same time. Together they form a complete protein, which means they contain all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for our dietary needs. I think that’s pretty neat, consider rice and beans is easily vegan AND a complete protein. How about that?!
Dairy is actually some of my favorite protein. Did you know that on average, half a cup of cottage cheese has 13g of protein? Get out, I’m serious! Dairy is a fun protein too, because between cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, you can take protein into the dessert realm and away from the grill. And sometimes, don’t we all need a break from grilled chicken?!
While you load up on carbs, might as well have some protein too! Grains like quinoa, farro and spelt all have considerable amounts of protein. Definitely a great option for affordable protein, not to mention a nice way to add in variety.
I am totally going to try this quinoa porridge recipe because I love my morning oatmeal. This looks so good!
Soy has such a negative connotation, most of the time. I’m not going to lie, I’m guilty myself. I always thought of tofu as something you would only eat if you have to, ie if you’re vegetarian. I work in the food industry and lately I’ve been a little sad about how much we MEAT consume and how many animals are farmed just for our consumption. I have done some research…did you even know that SOY is kind of controversial because it can act like a hormone inside your body? I am not an expert so I’m not even going into it, but whoa…and I still think it is a good option for 1) protein 2) sustainability 3) affordability. If you have a go to tofu recipe, PLEASE share with me! I want to love it!
Hope this quick list helps you save a buck or two or at least brings some variety to your meal planning. Cheers!