Our dietitians love to talk about protein, and for good reason! We all train hard, and protein is important for muscle recovery. Even when you’re not at the gym, protein is important for muscular and skeletal maintenance, particularly as you age.

Specific protein requirements vary for each individual based on their lifestyle and fitness regimen. One simple way to make sure you are getting enough protein is to follow USDA’s MyPlate. A quarter of each meal you consume should consist of a lean protein. A few examples include poultry without the skin, lean fish, and lean cuts of pork or beef.

Check out our tips below to get the most protein for your buck!

  1. Store protein safely

Most are familiar with the money saving tip of “BUY IN BULK,” but it can be more difficult to buy protein in bulk due to food safety concerns. Check out the FDA’s recommendations for safe storage below.

Protein Variety Fridge Storage Freezer Storage
Chicken 1-2 days 9 months
Beef, veal, lamb, pork 3-5 days 6-12 months
Lean Fish 1-2 days 6 months


The safest way to thaw frozen meat is in the refrigerator. It usually takes about a day, so plan ahead.

Price check: Wegmans 12-piece chicken breast is $1.88/lb. Wegmans 2-piece chicken breast is $4.49/lb.

  1. Create your own flavor

Buying pre-marinated meats might seem like a time saver, but homemade marinade can be a serious money saver. If you haven’t marinated your own meat before, all the herb and spice possibilities may seem overwhelming. Here are some dietitian favorites that are quick and easy!

Beef Balsamic vinegar + rosemary
Chicken Lime juice + cilantro + minced garlic
Fish Lemon juice + ginger + parsley


Price check: Wegmans Italian marinated chicken breast is $5.49/lb. Wegmans un-marinated chicken breast is $1.88/lb.

  1. Don’t be afraid of canned protein

Did you know the USDA recommends that Americans eat fish twice per week? Fish contain heart-healthy fats and nutrients. When you don’t live near a large body of water, that recommendation may seem challenging to meet. However, buying canned fish is a great alternative. Tuna and salmon are popular options, but make sure they are canned in water to avoid any added fats and oils.

Price check: Fresh tuna steak is $25.99/lb. Canned tuna is $3.44/lb.

  1. High protein alternatives

Although meat is a common source of protein in our diet, there are other protein-containing alternatives can help you save money. Have you tried our black bean pasta recipe? It is a high-protein pasta alternative. Other non-meat sources include beans, lentils, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy.

Price check: Eggs cost $0.08 per egg, with each egg containing 6 grams of protein. This means you are paying about one cent per gram of protein.

Use these tips next time you are looking to stretch your dollar at the grocery store while packing your diet with protein!