Give Plant-Based Protein a Try!

October 24, 2022 | Katy Moscoso

various lentils and beans

A few years ago, I made the decision to make 2-3 meatless dinners a week. After our daughter turned one, I was hopeful that making this change would be a great way to introduce her to new foods. While searching for meatless recipes, I came to realize there were several benefits from eating plant-based protein a few times a week! Our grocery bills are lower and the health benefits that come with swapping out protein sources is a bonus.

According to the American Heart Association, eating plant-based proteins can help lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and even some cancers. Lentils, beans, nuts, and tofu are a few of my family’s favorite plant-based proteins to use. These protein options are higher in fiber than animal-based proteins while still providing a similar amount of protein.

While the health benefits are a plus, making this change has helped my family save money. With prices on the rise at the grocery store, I have been adding more plant-based proteins into my weekly meal plans. Last week I bought one pound of lentils to make Slow Cooker Lentils. I like using lentils as an alternative to traditional taco meat. I also like to add them to salads for extra protein. I paid $1.35 for the bag of lentils compared to $5.49 for one pound of 90/10 ground beef- a significant price difference! Similarly, I can buy a bag of dried beans for under $2 to use in a variety of recipes like Black Bean Burgers or in place of ground turkey or ground beef in Skillet Lasagna. Another favorite recipe in my house is Teriyaki Rice Bowls with tofu which is cheaper than buying chicken or beef. Because I am saving money buying plant-based proteins, I have been able to offset the price increases on my other grocery staples each week. What a win for my family!

Are you interested in adding plant-based proteins into your weekly meal planning? An easy way to get started is to add one or two meatless meals a week. You’ll be surprised at how making this simple swap will benefit both your health and your wallet!

Cheers to adding in a plant-based meal (or two) this week!

Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a mom to both a toddler and a preschooler, Katy loves trying new recipes that are quick and versatile. Cooking meals that can provide leftovers to fill her fridge and freezer is a win during this busy season!

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