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3 Healthy, Protein-Rich Meals on a Budget

Read Time: 5 minutes 

 

If you're looking for cheap and healthy protein-rich meals that you can make ahead, look no further! In this blog post, we will share five of our favorite recipes for meal preps that are both affordable and nutritious. 

Protein is an essential nutrient for so many different bodily functions, including healthy muscle mass, brain function, and building your body’s tissue, so it's important to include plenty in your diet. These recipes are all packed with protein and flavor, so you'll be sure to enjoy them!

 

Spicy Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

The first protein-rich recipe is our Honey Garlic Chicken. This dish is made with chicken thighs, which are a great source of protein and very affordable. The honey and garlic give the chicken a delicious sweet and zesty flavor. Add steamed brown rice and your favorite veggies as sides, and you have an easy-prep dinner. 

 

You’ll Need: 

  • 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s aminos
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
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    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
    2. Take the skin off the chicken thighs if you don’t have a skinless option.
    3. Mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
    4. Coat the chicken thighs evenly on both sides.
    5. Season with salt and pepper, then place the thighs in a greased, oven-safe baking dish.
    6. Mix honey, soy sauce, or Bragg’s aminos, and minced garlic cloves in a separate bowl, then pour over the chicken. Turn each thigh over if needed to coat evenly.
    7. Cover the top with foil and bake for around 25 minutes, then take the foil off and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
    8. Top with fresh parsley, serve with veggies and rice, and enjoy! We like mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, and steamed brown rice as sides.

      

    One-Pan Salmon Teriyaki & Bok Choy 

    Next up is our Salmon Teriyaki Bowl. Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega-three fatty acids, making it a great choice for meat-eaters and pescatarians alike, while crunchy, crisp Bok choy is a popular Chinese cabbage full of vitamin C. This recipe also includes brown rice, so you'll get plenty of complex carbs and fiber as well.

     

    You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb of farm-raised salmon cut into 2-3 pieces 
  • 4-6 baby Bok choy, cut into two halves lengthwise
  • ¼ cup scallions (green onions), chopped fine
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup soy sauce (or Bragg’s aminos)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger OR 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  •  

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
    2. Mix the soy sauce or Bragg’s, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
    3. Marinate salmon in the bowl, coating evenly, for 1 hour — overnight max ahead of time. 
    4. Toss the sliced baby Bok choy with olive oil on a nonstick or lined large baking sheet and toss with olive oil directly on the sheet.
    5. Take salmon out of the fridge and carefully place pieces around Bok choy so that it is one even layer.
    6. Bake the salmon in the oven for about 17-20 minutes, or until the bulbs of the Bok choy are tender and slightly brown and crispy.
    7. Once the Bok choy is done, use tongs to remove it from the sheet pan and set it aside.
    8.  Turn the broiler on high and place salmon under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until cooked through and slightly crisp on top. It happens very quickly, so watch closely.
    9. Remove sheet pan from the oven. Place the Bok choy back on the pan with the salmon. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
    10. Serve with steamed brown rice or jasmine rice and enjoy!

     

    Chili Lime Chickpeas

    For the veg-lovers out there, we’re sharing our super simple Chili Lime Chickpeas recipe. This dish is vegan and packed with protein. The chickpeas are roasted in a chili lime sauce, giving them a zesty flavor that goes great with rice or quinoa.

     

    You’ll Need:

    Chili Lime Sauce

    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp lime juice
    • 2 tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • Salt and pepper to taste

     

    Chickpea Bowl

    • 2 cups cooked/roasted chickpeas
    • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
    • 1 tomato, diced (about 3/4 cup)
    • 1/3 cup cilantro, minced
    • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
    • Salt and pepper to taste

     

    Directions: 

    1. Set oven to 325 F.
    2. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Bake chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil on a lined sheet pan for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Place in a large bowl.
    3. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
    4. Dice tomato and red onion, mince the cilantro and add to the bowl with chickpeas. Mix well with a large spoon. 
    5. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl for the chili lime dressing.
    6. Pour the dressing into the large bowl over the chickpeas and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. 
    7. Spoon into medium bowls and serve with a cilantro garnish and a lime wedge if desired. You can also add ½ cup of salad greens to each bowl, then spoon chickpeas over it for an extra filling, eye-catching dish. Enjoy!
       

    We hope you love these recipes as much as we do. If you're looking for more healthy, delicious meal prep ideas, be sure to check out our other blog posts. Happy cooking!