So you’re a healthy eating convert, and you want to start making sure all your meals are perfectly balanced. If you’re on a limited budget, though, you might have a problem. There’s a reason why most people get too much carbohydrate and fat and too little protein: most kinds of protein are expensive. Meat and cheese, two of the best sources of protein, are also two of the priciest ingredients you can buy.

So, if you want to eat healthily on the cheap, what’s the answer? Well, it might surprise you. What you need is beans.

Beans are a cheap crop, readily available in large tins for not very much money at all, and yet they are an excellent source of protein, and taste good too. There’s no shortage of variety, either: you can get everything from baked beans to kidney beans to butter beans, all lined up there in the same section for you. If you’re not sure of what to do with them, find some vegetarian recipes, which tend to be very bean-heavy, and give them a try.

It can even be nice to mix together a few different kinds of beans and have a bean salad with a sauce – a simple side dish, but an easy way to add protein to your meal. Pasta with a dairy-based pasta sauce containing beans is an example of an ideally balanced meal, as long as you don’t overdo it with the pasta, as is rice with bean curry.

Of course, I’m not recommending that you stick to beans for your protein all the time, as you’re bound to get sick of them eventually. If you can replace meat or cheese with beans even occasionally, though, you’ll save a lot of money without affecting the balance of your meal.

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Gavin Walsh
Gavin Walsh

A British fitness and fat loss magician that helps men and women lose the jelly from their belly pronto. Gavin is the head coach here at Body Fixers and has been featured in the likes of Men's Health, Women's Health and Men's Fitness, as well appearing on British TV several times with delightful nuggets of fitness and fat loss wisdom.