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The Frugal Diet: is My Family Getting Enough Protein?

Rosey Dow
 


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Do you need a lot of meat in your diet to get enough protein? Vegetarians and vegans have known for decades that the answer is no.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein for an adult male is 56 grams. This is equal to the protein in 2 cups of skim milk, 3/4 cup of Cheerios, 2 eggs, 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and a 2-oz chicken breast. So, a breakfast of Cheerios and milk, lunch of an egg sandwich and a glass of milk, and a tiny 2-oz chicken patty at supper would meet the full requirement.

Compare this with an egg breakfast, a meat-and-cheese sandwich at midday, and a 4- to 6-oz. portion of beef at supper. We haven't even mentioned the protein content of any vegetables or starches. It's easy to see that we typically enjoy far more than the minimum RDA. With a mindset change about how much protein we really need for good health, our food budgets would shrink significantly.

In addition, by combining grains, dairy products, and legumes, we can create complete proteins with the same nutritional value as meat for even more savings.

I've listed some combinations with examples beneath them below:

Milk + Grains

  • cereal and milk
  • macaroni and cheese (semolina wheat, cheese)
  • cheese pizza (flour crust, cheese)
  • rice pudding (Rice, milk, eggs)
  • Italian dishes (pasta, cheese)
  • cheese sandwiches
  • rice and cheese casserole
  • cheese fondue with bread for dipping
  • potato soup or any cream soup and bread or crackers

Legumes + Grains

  • peanut butter and bread
  • rice and beans
  • beans and biscuits
  • tortillas and beans
  • beans and corn
  • cornbread and beans
  • Bean soup and bread
  • split peas and bread or cornbread
  • Boston baked beans with brown bread
  • refried beans and rice

Notice how complete protein combinations are already a staple in meals from many areas of the world? Doctors have known for decades that eating too much meat is bad for your health. Meat increases the carbon footprint and balloons your food budget. When times are tough, use these protein combinations and stretch your pennies guilt free.

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