Brother, can you spare a dime?

U.S Department of Agriculture expects food prices to rise by 3%-4% this year!

Beef prices rose by more than 10% between August 2011-August 2012.

Pork prices are up 7.5% during the same period.


What's a brother to do in order to get some healthy, protein-rich foods?

1. Beans and Rice - there's a reason these dishes are in so many meals, world wide!

2. Eggs - they are up 15% year over year, but still much cheaper than meat.

3. Dairy - still an affordable protein option.

4. Quinoa - what did you say? not on your shopping list?

5. Soy - if cooked well, tofu can be a tasty addition.

6. Meat - yes, you can still eat meat, just buy less!


Champagne Protein Choices on a Beer Budget

1. Eggs

Loaded with high-quality protein and cheap, eggs certainly deserve mentioning. Just one egg provides 6 grams of protein (11% of the daily value). The composition of vital amino acids, branched chain amino acids and glutamic acid make egg protein the ultimate source for helping your muscles recover after a workout. Cost: For less than $2.00 you can get a dozen eggs, which will give you a whopping 72 grams of protein--now that's a deal. And for about a buck and a half more you can go organic for an even healthier protein option. Value: 36 grams/dollar

2. Canned Tuna

If you still want your meat, (and its high protein content) but can't afford the stuff behind the seafood or meat counter, here's your best option. A single, five-ounce can of tuna yields almost 30 grams of protein. However, studies have shown that mercury found in tuna can be harmful to your health. According to the FDA you can safely eat 5.6 ounces of Albacore tuna per week and 16.4 ounces of light tuna. Cost: Tuna is definitely among the cheapest of all lean protein sources. If you don't mind the chunk light (aka dark meat) you can get it for under $1.00 a can. Upgrade to the higher quality solid white tuna and you're looking at about $1.50. Whichever you choose, you'll be sure to get to your daily amount of protein. Value: 30 grams/dollar

3. Peanut Butter

According to the peanut institute, the peanut contains more plant protein than any other legume or nut. It may not match the amount of protein in a giant turkey leg, but at eight grams per serving it provides an economical way for those on a shoestring budget to get their fill. Cost: On average, an 18-oz. jar of peanut butter will set you back about $3.00. For an extra $2.00, consider almond butter. It has a higher-quality protein than peanut butter and is less allergenic. Value: 38 grams/dollar

4. Whey

Perhaps the most cost-effective method to increase protein in your diet, whey provides the body with the ideal amino acid profile for muscle building, strength and recovery. Because whey is also fast digesting, it's well suited as a post-workout nutrition source when your body needs a quick fix of protein. However, because whey protein is isolated from whey, it contains lactose--the natural sugar found in dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, your body will likely be unable to metabolize the lactose and show signs of allergies. Cost: For the average price of $30, you can get a 2-lb. container of 100% whey protein powder. It doesn't get much cheaper than that for one of the purest protein sources available. Value: 23 grams/dollar

5. Beans

Everyone knows beans are typically low in cost and high in nutritious fiber, but they're also loaded with protein. Depending on the type of bean, protein amounts range from about 15 to 25 grams per cup. So chose the ones you like and go to town. One pitfall, if you've ever seen the movie "Blazing Saddles", or have been in a poorly ventilated room with a bunch of guys after a barbecue, you know the potent effect beans can have on the digestive system. Cost: Super cheap. A can of protein-rich, black beans for example goes for about a buck in most supermarkets. Add another buck if you want to go organic. Value: 26 grams/dollar

6. Plain Greek Yogurt

With twice as much protein as regular yogurt, this European version is the smarter choice. While one eight-ounce cup of plain, low-fat yogurt will get you 11 grams of protein, the same size Greek yogurt will give you about 20 grams of protein. Plus it's richer, fattier (the good fat), more nutritious and lower in sugar. Cost: Going Greek with your yogurt is going to cost you more than regular yogurt, but for an average of $2.00 for a single six-ounce serving it's still a great deal and deserving of a spot on this list. Value: 7.5 grams/dollar

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is the most nutritious of all soy products. Just 4 ounces of this fermented food provides 41% of the daily value for protein and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. As an added advantage, the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Cost: At about $3.50 per serving it's a bit higher-priced than the other items on our list, but still a great value for a superior source of high quality protein. Value: 6 grams/dollar

And I can get two with my BOGO coupon!

Just ran across an interesting statistic about the true cost of eating meat, specifically hamburgers.

"Producing a quarter pound of hamburger requires 100 gallons of water, 1.2 lbs. of feed grain and energy equal to a cup of gasoline, causes the loss of 1.25 lbs. of topsoil and causes greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a 6-mile drive in a typical U.S. car. The average person in the United States consumes 260 lbs. of meat per year, most of it hamburgers." (Source: United Nations Population Fund)
So what does it --really-- cost each time you buy a burger for $1.99 ? And who's paying the rest of the tab?

Put aside the health implications of eating meat, from causing dozens of cancers to an untold number of different diseases, is it worth the price?

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What does feeding our protein source cost?

Hello meat eaters!  Have you ever considered what protein sources go into your food?  Beef is a common protein source for much of the population, yet most people don’t think about what their food eats.  Part of the cost that we pay for our beef is translated through to the food sources that the farmers feed their cattle.  The cattle industry closely monitors the protein intake of their animals to output larger cattle, and produce more milk.  A general rule of thumb is at least 12 to 16% crude protein as part of their primary feeding forage.  This can be achieved through using high protein sources such as alfalfa, soybean, grazing of young pastures, or even supplements such as urea or other non-protein nitrogen sources.  The leading determinate of what protein source the cattle eat is simply what that source costs.  Protein is just as important for the cattle as it is for us.  A malnourished cow isn’t happy, doesn’t produce much milk, and produces low quality meat so their diet is every bit as important as ours is and that includes protein.
So what affects the feed cost for the cattle?  A big one right now is biofuel, specifically corn-ethanol especially because corn and soybean meal are the major feed components for dairy and beef production.  This is a big enough concern that many papers have been written by many experts on the implications of biofuels versus animal feed.  It is a simple question of where are the growers of the corn going to get the most for their corn.  If the answer is in the cattle industry, then we might see the cost of feed for the animals go down and with that the cost of meat and dairy will also drop.  If the answer is ethanol, then we can expect to see the cost of meat go up due to the rising cost of feed.  The question at the end of the day that we must ask as the consumer is which are we willing to pay more for, fuel or food? 

Cheaper Protein Sources

Looking for a cheap source of protein?  According to, some of the most protein-packed sources that are also the most economical are eggs, canned tuna, and peanut butter.  Eggs are an excellent source that is relatively cheap.  For less than 2 dollars typically, you can get a dozen eggs which translates to around 72 grams of protein approximately.  Canned tuna typically goes for less than a dollar a can and typically contains about 30 grams of protein.  Peanut butter is also fairly cheap at around 3 dollars a container which provides about 114 grams total.  For a little bit more, you can upgrade to almond butter which has an even healthier protein in it.