Save money buying protein

There are some ways that you can save money when buying your protein at the store.

Those of you who bagged a deer last season may not have to worry much about how to get your protein intake with limited food dollars. Congratulations! Those of us who rely on the grocery store may have to think of how to provide this important nutrient on a limited income. One may choose to do one of the following:

  • Use legumes as a substitute for meat. They are inexpensive and a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • Use less tender cuts of meat. Chuck, round and flank can be cheaper than rib, short loin or sirloin cuts. Grilled marinated flank steak is fantastic, as is swiss steak using round.
  • Tenderize toughter meats by:
  1. Using a commercial tenderizer – There are various kinds on the market.
  2. Physically pounding or cutting the meat – Swiss steak is an example.
  3. Marinating in a sauce that contains a little wine, lemon juice, tomato or vinegar, or using a dry rub before cooking, can tenderize even the toughest cuts.
  4. Simmering in a stew – Moist heat can make things tender.
  • Purchase meats in bulk when on sale, then freeze in meal-sized portions.
  • Try eggs as a main dish sometime during the week. They are inexpensive and a great protein source.

Remembering portion sizes can also help you save some money on protein. Below is a chart from MyPlate.gov. which shows our needs for the day. We don’t have to eat a half-pound burger for lunch and an eight ounce steak for dinner to get our required amounts. If you choose to use the USDA’s recommended daily requirement, vary your sources of protein, and buy cheaper cuts of meat, you may not have to sacrifice your protein requirements in your family food budget.

Daily recommendation*

Children

2- to 3-years-old

2 ounce equivalents**

 

4- to 8-year-old

4 ounce equivalents**

Girls

9- to 13-years-old

5 ounce equivalents**

 

14- to18-years-old

5 ounce equivalents**

Boys

9- to 13-years-old

5 ounce equivalents**

 

14- to 18-years-old

6 ½ ounce equivalents**

Women

19- to 30-years-old

5 ½ ounce equivalents**

 

31- to 50-years-old

5 ounce equivalents**

 

51+ years old

5 ounce equivalents**

Men

19- to 30-years-old

6 ½ ounce equivalents**

 

31- to 50-years-old

6 ounce equivalents**

 

51+ years old

5 ½ ounce equivalents**

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie

If you are interested in saving money on your monthly food bill, you can contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for nutrition and food-dollar saving tips.

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