4 Budget-Friendly Foods With Protein

Last updated: August 2022

Protein is an important part of nutrition. Protein helps the body to perform many important functions, such as repairing tissue and building muscle. When you live with type 2 diabetes, protein is an important aspect of balancing your eating plan. Incorporating protein in your meals can help manage blood sugar levels.1

Higher protein, lower price

The main challenge with consuming enough protein is that it is often the most expensive item in your shopping cart. Here are a few examples of excellent sources of protein that are more cost-effective if you're on a budget!

Eggs

With just over 6 grams of protein per egg, these protein powerhouses can help you feel full after a meal. Try not to get too hung up on the color of the shell; all eggs offer great nutritional benefits.

If you prefer to eat egg whites only, separating the egg yolk right after cracking the egg is simple. Use the shell to shift the yolk back and forth to release the egg whites. Eggs boast a low carbohydrate profile and only approximately 70 calories per egg. The best part is that you can get a dozen for under 3 dollars. Some recipe ideas for adding eggs to your eating plan are making hard-boiled eggs for a snack or topping on salads, scrambled pesto eggs for breakfast, or even omelets with vegetables for dinner.

Cheese

One slice of Colby jack cheese provides about 70 calories and 5 grams of protein. A 12-ounce package of cheese costs around 2 to 3 dollars. Cheese is a great ingredient to add to meals and bulk up snacks. Try accompanying sliced apples with chunks of cheese, eating cheese with multigrain crackers, or sprinkled on soup to give your snack or meal some extra protein pizzaz!

Canned chicken and fish

Canned chicken and fish are great budget-friendly protein options, averaging a cost of about 2 to 3 dollars per can. Canned chicken or canned fish can be simple and shelf-stable additions to one-pot recipes such as casseroles or soups and are also great in salads.

Canned chicken provides a whopping 15 grams of protein per serving; canned tuna averages at 20 grams of protein per serving! Choosing these protein sources to complete your plate will help give you the energy to make it to your next meal. Some recipe ideas are tuna or salmon melts, topped on salads, on top of pita or crackers.

Canned beans

Canned beans are a great plant-based protein option to meet your needs without spending too much money at the grocery store. With all of the varieties of beans, it can be a bit daunting to determine which type of beans will work for a recipe or your preferences. Spend a little time in the aisle reviewing the nutrition labels to get a feel for which beans may be best in your diet.

Some popular options are chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, and pinto beans. In a half cup serving, black beans offer 7 grams of protein. Beans are high in fiber, a significant part of every diet. Add beans to soups and stews, roast them to top salad, and mash beans to make vegetable burgers. Be aware that beans also contain carbohydrates, which should be accounted for when you plan diabetes-friendly meals.

Whether plant-based or not, these budget-friendly protein sources contain essential nutrients to power your body and help manage your type 2 diabetes.

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