Balancing the Budget and Your Protein Intake: 10 Satisfying Meals

Meal prep is hard enough when you aren't on a tight budget. So, how do you ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet without breaking the bank?

Members of an online forum recently shared their favorite protein-packed meals that won't destroy your wallet.

1. Cottage Cheese and Fruit

Woman eating fruit
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Some people stick their noses to cottage cheese, but it can be delicious when paired well with another food. Many commenters said they like eating cottage cheese with fresh apples, berries, pineapple, cantaloupe, mangos, and tomatoes.

2. Cottage Cheese and Salsa

Detox Water
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Someone else mentioned they love their cottage cheese with salsa, sometimes adding hot sauce to the mix.

Others chimed in with similar answers. One loves eating cottage cheese, black pepper, salt, and bacon bits mixed for an easy, high-protein snack.

3. Lentils

Frozen Vegetables
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Lentils are a fantastic, tasty and cheap option to help add protein to your meals. But how do people prepare lentils to make them mouthwatering? One user suggested dicing carrots and onions, frying them, and adding lentils and broth. Simmer the mix for about half an hour and add some chicken towards the end of the cooking time.

4. Canned Sardines and Jasmine Rice

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One person said they love sardines topped with Thai peanut sauce—other users like other canned fish like Tuna instead of going on their rice. One can of tuna can cost less than $2 and fills you right up.

5. Chickpeas

Roasted spicy chickpeas on rustic background
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You can roast or sauté chickpeas with any seasoning to match the cuisine you're going for. Get some good herbs and experiment.

Canned chickpeas cost around $3 per can.

6. Wild Rice

Beef Fried Rice
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Wild rice is high in protein. One commenter recommended cooking wild rice with green peas, onions, and chicken broth.

This delicious meal is both delicious and affordable. Wild rice costs around $4 per pound, which makes at least one meal's worth.

7. Eggs

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Many commenters lamented that eggs cost more than they used to. But they still make the list. Omelets and frittatas reheat well, and you can always add egg whites to increase the protein while lowering the fat content.

8. Bone Broth

Instant Pot Chicken Soup
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Adding bone broth to your rice or risotto dish can add much protein without you even realizing it. Most cartons of broth cost less than $3.

9. Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chickens
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Did you know you typically find a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store for $4.99 to $7.99? Even if you want to cook your whole chicken, you can purchase it for a similar price to cook it yourself. Remember to make broth from the leftover bones!

10. Tofu

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You can prepare tofu in many ways: soups, as a main dish, or fried rice. While it may get a bad rep, it's all about the preparation.

Source: (Reddit).