High protein / lower carb snacks on a super strict budget??

sunnishine22
sunnishine22 Posts: 15 Member
edited May 22 in Recipes
I'm struggling with getting enough protein.

I'm not vegan or vegetarian, but pretty close. I don't eat much meat and prefer not to eat more processed foods than necessary (both a personal preference and a budget thing). We eat a lot of meals with eggs and beans, but I'm more of a grazer than a meal eater - always have been. I'm also disabled so I need things that I can prep ahead of time that will keep for a bit in the fridge or are shelf-stable.

I've discovered that my actual diet isn't as problematic as I thought (mostly because of the meat and processed foods things), but I'm aiming for more protein and fewer carbs. My daily base calorie goal is 1820, and most days I've had a problem hitting that with my usual eating habits now that I've cut out Sprite (my weakness).

If anyone has some ideas for finger foods that I can prep ahead of time and keep on hand, I'd be grateful. I already keep boiled eggs in the fridge and celery with peanut butter, but I'm looking for some variety that's preferably lower in sugar without having sugar substitutes.

My budget for all food (2 adults) is $200 USD/month, so the more budget-friendly the better. I do have access to a local farmer's market for in-season things (Arkansas US) and a little bit of a budget to fill out my pantry (I just moved so have next to nothing).

I'm also new here, so if anyone would like to add me as a friend and share tips/recipes/motivation through messages, I'm definitely open to that.

Replies

  • KWebb84MFP
    KWebb84MFP Posts: 10 Member
    There are pouches of seasoned tuna, shelf-stable meat/cheese snacks, and snack packs of nuts that you can get in dollar and discount stores. I also like Laughing Cow cheese snacks, but they are a little pricey and are not shelf-stable.
  • Susanna527
    Susanna527 Posts: 371 Member
    Hmm...I wrote a long post last night on this thread and for some reason it's gone. I'm vegetarian, g/f, d/f and on a budget. One thing I really like, which is quick, easy and fairly inexpensive is cubing a block of extra firm tofu, coating it with seasoned cornstarch, baking it on a sheet pan, then serving it with peanut sauce, topped with scallions I'm growing in my kitchen. I usually serve with a side of steamed or roasted broccoli (I buy that frozen, too, when it's on sale). Two sources of protein in one dish. Edamame beans, bought frozen, in bulk, and sunflower seeds, are also good snackable proteins. I make a vegan "cheeeze" spread from sunflower seeds - great on homemade crackers (which cost a TON less than storebought). And for a quick, fairly healthy dessert, I make vegan brownies. They don't call for any super fancy ingredients and all my friends who can eat "regular" brownies love them, too: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/#wprm-recipe-container-36227
  • kirstyblundell90
    kirstyblundell90 Posts: 1 Member
    Cottage cheese on rice crackers are a go too. I also like nutrigrain cereal with high protein greek yoghurt. Both high in protein 😊
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 802 Member
    Why not just eat more of your regular meals in small portions throughout the day?

    There's no need for your "snack" food to be any different from your "meal" food.
  • sunnishine22
    sunnishine22 Posts: 15 Member
    Xellercin wrote: »
    Why not just eat more of your regular meals in small portions throughout the day?
    There's no need for your "snack" food to be any different from your "meal" food.

    Because we don't own a microwave and with the exception of very few meals (usually beans or soups, things that can be easily reheated on top of the stove, in the crockpot, or in the toaster oven), we don't make enough for leftovers because that is how it works best for our budget and having as little waste as possible. Even casseroles are made in the smallest baking dish and are just enough to feed me and a 22-year-old man with a super high metabolism and high calorie needs to maintain his weight.

    Generally, actual "meals" (besides beans/soups which are eaten every day until they're gone or frozen to reheat in the crockpot) are things my son likes and cooks for us like toasted egg sandwiches and pasta. Neither of which tastes good cold or solves the whole "I prefer finger food" thing. I'm specifically looking for things that can be prepped ahead of time (with his assistance or completely by me while seated) that I can get for myself when there is nobody else home with minimum physical effort. I have to be supervised when standing for more than a minute or two because of the fall risk associated with my disabilities, I also cannot stretch or bend. I spend an average of 11 hours a day, 5 days a week home alone.

    Also, I like food. Eating the same thing day in and day out is boring and depressing.

  • sunnishine22
    sunnishine22 Posts: 15 Member
    Cottage cheese on rice crackers are a go too. I also like nutrigrain cereal with high protein greek yoghurt. Both high in protein 😊

    I love cottage cheese, that is actually one of my regular foods. I mix it with chopped up veggies (tomato, red onion, cucumber, and bell pepper), top with a little pepper and eat with crackers. Is my favorite thing ever. I really think I need to try greek yogurt, that seems to me something everyone is recommending.
  • sunnishine22
    sunnishine22 Posts: 15 Member
    Susanna527 wrote: »
    Hmm...I wrote a long post last night on this thread and for some reason it's gone. I'm vegetarian, g/f, d/f and on a budget. One thing I really like, which is quick, easy and fairly inexpensive is cubing a block of extra firm tofu, coating it with seasoned cornstarch, baking it on a sheet pan, then serving it with peanut sauce, topped with scallions I'm growing in my kitchen. I usually serve with a side of steamed or roasted broccoli (I buy that frozen, too, when it's on sale). Two sources of protein in one dish. Edamame beans, bought frozen, in bulk, and sunflower seeds, are also good snackable proteins. I make a vegan "cheeeze" spread from sunflower seeds - great on homemade crackers (which cost a TON less than storebought). And for a quick, fairly healthy dessert, I make vegan brownies. They don't call for any super fancy ingredients and all my friends who can eat "regular" brownies love them, too: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/#wprm-recipe-container-36227

    It might have been on my other thread. I realized after posting that I posted it first in the wrong place, so with the exception of my apology for doing that, it is in two places. I will check those comments too.

    I'm not really a fan of tofu, but it could be that I've never had it prepared correctly. I will try it your way and see how I feel about it.

    Could you share how you make homemade crackers or a recipe link that you've tried and liked? I'm assuming it is a similar process to homemade bread which I already make in my bread machine.

    Thank you for the recipe - I generally stay away from anything chocolate because it is a migraine trigger for me, but I will pass this on to my family member who is vegan and has a sweet tooth.
  • sunnishine22
    sunnishine22 Posts: 15 Member
    KWebb84MFP wrote: »
    There are pouches of seasoned tuna, shelf-stable meat/cheese snacks, and snack packs of nuts that you can get in dollar and discount stores. I also like Laughing Cow cheese snacks, but they are a little pricey and are not shelf-stable.

    Yes, I get the tuna packets on Amazon for around $5 for 6 of them, those are definitely a staple for me. I don't know why but I shy away from nuts (I really do love them though) -- I will have to grab some the next time I'm out, I totally forgot that they're high in protein until I read this LOL. Unfortunately, as much as I love laughing cow cheeses, they're a treat for me because of the price.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,852 Member
    KWebb84MFP wrote: »
    There are pouches of seasoned tuna, shelf-stable meat/cheese snacks, and snack packs of nuts that you can get in dollar and discount stores. I also like Laughing Cow cheese snacks, but they are a little pricey and are not shelf-stable.

    Yes, I get the tuna packets on Amazon for around $5 for 6 of them, those are definitely a staple for me. I don't know why but I shy away from nuts (I really do love them though) -- I will have to grab some the next time I'm out, I totally forgot that they're high in protein until I read this LOL. Unfortunately, as much as I love laughing cow cheeses, they're a treat for me because of the price.

    Nuts really aren't high in protein. They're high in fats, with a little protein. They still can be a great snack choice - much of the fats are the mono/polyunsaturated fats that many of us get too low a proportion of. Portion control with nuts is pretty important, because the fat content makes them calorie dense.

    Have you experimented with other mashed-up bean dips/spreads besides chickpea hummus? There are lots of recipes on the web for nice white bean dips/spreads, cold pinto bean dips/spreads, etc. Baba ganoush/ganouj type dip/spread things (roasted pureed eggplant plus other stuff) are also good. (Eggplant doesn't have a lot of protein, but many recipes will include a protein ingredient).

    I've also found that I can puree quite a surprising proportion of soft tofu into an avocado, bean, or eggplant dip/spread without much changing the texture/flavor, to add more protein. If you eat dairy, lowfat cottage or ricotta cheeses are also good as a dip/spread base.
  • Susanna527
    Susanna527 Posts: 371 Member
    edited May 29
    Susanna527 wrote: »
    Hmm...I wrote a long post last night on this thread and for some reason it's gone. I'm vegetarian, g/f, d/f and on a budget. One thing I really like, which is quick, easy and fairly inexpensive is cubing a block of extra firm tofu, coating it with seasoned cornstarch, baking it on a sheet pan, then serving it with peanut sauce, topped with scallions I'm growing in my kitchen. I usually serve with a side of steamed or roasted broccoli (I buy that frozen, too, when it's on sale). Two sources of protein in one dish. Edamame beans, bought frozen, in bulk, and sunflower seeds, are also good snackable proteins. I make a vegan "cheeeze" spread from sunflower seeds - great on homemade crackers (which cost a TON less than storebought). And for a quick, fairly healthy dessert, I make vegan brownies. They don't call for any super fancy ingredients and all my friends who can eat "regular" brownies love them, too: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/#wprm-recipe-container-36227

    It might have been on my other thread. I realized after posting that I posted it first in the wrong place, so with the exception of my apology for doing that, it is in two places. I will check those comments too.

    I'm not really a fan of tofu, but it could be that I've never had it prepared correctly. I will try it your way and see how I feel about it.

    Could you share how you make homemade crackers or a recipe link that you've tried and liked? I'm assuming it is a similar process to homemade bread which I already make in my bread machine.

    Thank you for the recipe - I generally stay away from anything chocolate because it is a migraine trigger for me, but I will pass this on to my family member who is vegan and has a sweet tooth.

    Hi :)

    I understand what you mean about the tofu. I have a friend who really disliked tofu until she started making it super crispy with fun dipping sauces.

    Also, sneaking silken tofu into a smoothie is a way to get more protein and thicken up the smoothie and the other ingredients pretty much mask the taste. I usually smoothies with cocoa powder and peanut butter powder, but since chocolate triggers migraines, maybe you might enjoy this one :): https://tofubud.com/blogs/dessert-recipes/tofu-smoothie
  • Susanna527
    Susanna527 Posts: 371 Member
    edited May 29
    Susanna527 wrote: »
    Susanna527 wrote: »
    Hmm...I wrote a long post last night on this thread and for some reason it's gone. I'm vegetarian, g/f, d/f and on a budget. One thing I really like, which is quick, easy and fairly inexpensive is cubing a block of extra firm tofu, coating it with seasoned cornstarch, baking it on a sheet pan, then serving it with peanut sauce, topped with scallions I'm growing in my kitchen. I usually serve with a side of steamed or roasted broccoli (I buy that frozen, too, when it's on sale). Two sources of protein in one dish. Edamame beans, bought frozen, in bulk, and sunflower seeds, are also good snackable proteins. I make a vegan "cheeeze" spread from sunflower seeds - great on homemade crackers (which cost a TON less than storebought). And for a quick, fairly healthy dessert, I make vegan brownies. They don't call for any super fancy ingredients and all my friends who can eat "regular" brownies love them, too: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/#wprm-recipe-container-36227

    It might have been on my other thread. I realized after posting that I posted it first in the wrong place, so with the exception of my apology for doing that, it is in two places. I will check those comments too.

    I'm not really a fan of tofu, but it could be that I've never had it prepared correctly. I will try it your way and see how I feel about it.

    Could you share how you make homemade crackers or a recipe link that you've tried and liked? I'm assuming it is a similar process to homemade bread which I already make in my bread machine.

    Thank you for the recipe - I generally stay away from anything chocolate because it is a migraine trigger for me, but I will pass this on to my family member who is vegan and has a sweet tooth.

    HI! :)

    Here's the basic recipe for the crackers - I add more water to make them thinner/crisper - makes more crackers, too:

    https://true-north-kitchen.com/gluten-free-seed-crackers-norwegian-crispbread/

    I don't use as much oil as the recipe calls for - I think it's way too much and it's really not necessary - the crackers come out good without all the oil. I use about one teaspoon.
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 604 Member
    Have you tried falafel? They might fit your criteria.

    Not sure as to availability where you are, for me they are readily available (and affordable) in supermarkets. Because of that I buy them, but understand they are quite straightforward to make.