A very common complaint is eating healthy is too expensive. While there are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget we can very easily make it too expensive. Going all organic or buying specialty items for use in a single recipe can add up very quickly.

A great example is the “high protein” foods I see in the grocery store. Protein infused foods are extremely popular right now and not just with people trying to gain muscle. In the grocery store you’ll find everything from Protein Cheerios to higher protein Fairlife milk. More protein isn’t a bad thing in the carb overloaded Standard American Diet but these functional foods come with a bigger price tag than their conventional counterparts.

Despite a focus on clean eating and whole foods even the Team Amanda meal plan has some of these protein-boosted foods listed. I decided to skip the high protein bread but I was intrigued by the high protein peanut butter.

If you’ve ever priced high protein peanut butter you know that there are several brands but none of them are cheap. I checked everywhere from my local Vitamin Shoppe to the Amazon and All-Star Health websites to see if I could find a deal. I was hesitant to pay almost $11 for a jar of something that I normally pay about $2.50 for, especially without trying it first. So I didn’t buy any or try any of them. I knew there had to be a better way.

Speaking of whey, that’s pretty much what these nut butters are. You take peanut butter (or almond) and add whey protein.

I can do that myself, I thought.

For my first attempt at DIY protein peanut butter I used two things I already had at home; PB2 and unflavored whey protein powder. I mixed 1 tbsp PB2 with 1 tbsp of whey and added water. This is a trickier proposition than it sounds. Something about the whey makes it turn very runny with only a tiny bit of water. I needed maybe a tsp of water to get a somewhat creamy consistency. As far as taste it was okay. At about .10 cents a serving I had found a potentially less expensive solution. However I wasn’t as satisfied as I had hoped with the end product.

My second attempt provided a much tastier, although perhaps not less expensive, solution. As I was perusing the VegaSport website for dinner recipes, I saw a Featured Recipe for Protein Nut Butters! Although I own a Ninja Ultima, I have never made my own nut butter. With their basic recipes I knew I was on my way to finding an alternative to what was in stores. I made the Vanilla Sea Salt Almond Butter, which I figured to cost about .45 cents per tablespoon. This doesn’t beat the jarred version on cost but I always have protein powder and almonds on hand. I also didn’t get any other ingredients that I didn’t want, like added sugar. The almond butter was fresh and delicious in Amanda’s Magnificent Mug Cake and Super Pumped PB&J French Toast.

In the end, I didn’t end up with a lower cost product but I did come up with a delicious alternative using things I already have at home. I saved money because I didn’t have an extra cost for a special product that I only needed for a couple of recipes. How many of us of have too many of those hanging out in our cupboards? This way I can make just what I need, when I need it. The DIY nut butters can last up to a month in the fridge but I am pretty sure mine will be eaten long before then. Next up…the Mocha Peanut Butter!

Have you ever made your own nut butter or protein nut butter? What’s your favorite combination?

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