Spend Less Money on Food - Protein


3 minutes - Article

You can eat healthy and on a budget!

Article adapted from Alberta Health Services Publication, Tips to Spend Less money on Food:

The best fuel for your body each day is:

  • a piece of protein – like meat, fish, eggs, beans or nuts
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables - each meal should have some type of fruit or veggie
  • One or two helpings of whole grain foods - breads, buns, pastas and cereals – Look for ‘whole’ on the bread bag or the food wrapper

Drink lots of water every day! Teas and milk are also good. Avoid pop and sugary drinks.

Eat these Protein foods

Milk Milk has a lot of protein and it’s usually not that expensive, especially if you by it in big sizes. If you hate drinking milk, you can hide it in a smoothie or in soups. Eating it with cereal usually isn’t too bad.

Cheese Try to choose cheese that is lower fat (20% M.F. or less), as it is better for you.

Yogurt Yogurt is good with cut-up fruit, seeds or granola. It can taste good on its own or in a smoothie. Try to choose yogurt with 2% M.F. or less. If you buy it in a larger tub, rather than a bunch of small single-servings, you can also save some cash.

Eggs Eggs are cheaper than meat. You can open the egg carton in the store to check that the shells aren’t broken, so you don’t pay for eggs that you can’t use.

Fresh Meat Ground hamburger comes in a bunch of different varieties depending on how much fat they have. The price between regular and extra lean hamburger is huge! Is it worth buying the extra lean stuff? Definitely buy the lean stuff if it is on sale. It’s up to you, but the leaner hamburger does have less unhealthy fat.

Lunch meat & hot dogs So spam and hot dogs and other type so lunch meats are actually not that good for you. They have a ton of sodium and unhealthy fat. You can choose some ready to eat meat slices though that are better for you. You have to read the packages. Choose the ones that are lower sodium and leaner if possible. They will probably cost more. Turkey is usually better than ham. You can also try mixing up the more healthy ones with the better tasting ones when you make a sandwich.

Frozen fish Buying frozen instead of fresh fish is usually cheaper. You can choose between plain fish filets or battered ones. The battered ones can taste better, but they are not as good for you. Also, watch out for bones and skin when buying plain filets. You may want to buy fish filets that are already boneless and skinless.

Canned fish Canned meats like tuna and salmon can be cheaper than fresh fish. Try to pick the ones that are packed in water not oil.

Peanuts, nuts, and seeds You can buy peanut butter or the ‘no nut’ fake peanut butter. Try to pick peanut butters with less added salt and sugar. There are also other types of ‘nut’ butters that have a lot of protein, like almond butter.

Beans, peas, and lentils Dried beans, lentils, and split peas are less expensive than canned beans or using meat. If you have time to cook beans, they’ll cost less. If you buy canned beans and lentils, look for brands with no salt added, or rinse regular types under water to remove some of the sodium (salt).

(photo credit:

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