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Stretch Your Protein Budget

Eggs, nuts and beans are great protein sourcesFoods may vary in price depending on where you live. As the chart shows, foods high in protein usually cost the most. You can stretch your protein foods with other ingredients, such as pasta, rice, beans and vegetables, in casseroles, soups and stews.  Make chili with a combination of ground or cubed beef and kidney beans. Try omelets with vegetables, cheese and cubed ham. As you can see from the chart, dry beans are very economical. Learn more about using them in the “Steps to Healthy,  Economical Meals” cookbook.

These are some examples of the average cost per serving for different types of protein foods:

Protein foodServing sizeCost per serving ($)
Ground beef (lean, extra-lean) 4 ounces 1.18
Beef (round roast, USDA choice, boneless) 4 ounces 1.16
Pork chop (boneless) 4 ounces 1.00
Chicken breast (boneless) 4 ounces 0.82
Pinto beans (canned, drained) 1/2 cup 0.19
Eggs, grade A, large 1 0.16
Pinto beans (dry) 1/2 cup 0.07

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Retrieved March 2013 from www.ers.usda.gov/data/meatpricesspreads

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This project is supported by the Rural Health & Safety Education Competitive Grant Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), grant number 2013-46100-21467.

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