Breakfast egg-alternatives and grocery tips to beat back inflation

By Jake Goodrick, Gillette News Record Via Wyoming News Exchange
Posted 3/16/23

The past year of the highest inflation levels in decades has impacted many facets of day-to-day life. Grocery store aisles and breakfast plates have not been excluded.

A carton of eggs has had as …

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Breakfast egg-alternatives and grocery tips to beat back inflation


The past year of the highest inflation levels in decades has impacted many facets of day-to-day life. Grocery store aisles and breakfast plates have not been excluded.

A carton of eggs has had as noticeable a price-hike as any.

Once an affordable staple of a regular diet, the soaring cost of eggs has overpriced the scrambled, fried and over-easy breakfast constant and caused some to seek alternatives for their morning meals.

Replacing the high-protein, nutrient-rich efficiency of an egg is not seamless, but there are ways to do it on a budget.

Wallet-conscious local health professionals offered up a few ideas to cope with rising egg prices without sacrificing your daily nutrition.

“Eggs are very high in price right now, so some great options would be whipped cottage cheese,” said Ausencia Veinbergs, a dietetic intern at Campbell County Health.

To make whipped cottage cheese, simply add regular cottage cheese from the container into a food processor and blend it up. It’s great on toast and at 10 grams of protein per half-cup, it’s an excellent source of protein.

“If you blend it or add things like sugar-free pudding mix into it, it makes it taste really good,” said Tyla Fisher, a CCH registered dietitian. “You can mix it into smoothies with fresh berries and spinach, a sugar-free pudding packet, and it tastes like cheesecake. It’s kind of crazy.”

The simple baseline of cottage cheese offers a blank canvas for creative morning experiments, mixing in a variety of fruits, sweeteners and other ingredients to spruce the curdled milk product into a nutritious yogurt-like concoction.

“You can also add it to things like overnight oats to increase the protein and overall nutrition of it,” Fisher said.

Speaking of overnight oats, the simple whole grain concoction is a versatile breakfast item and sneakily strong source of protein.

“We actually don’t think of oats as having much protein but 6 grams of protein per half-cup is what they have,” Veinbergs said. “It’s great for overnight oats or you can add it to pancakes.”

At its core, overnight oats are prepared with old-fashioned rolled oats and milk. Other ingredients like fruit, yogurt, seeds and sweeteners can be added for flavor and nutrition, but the key is getting the ratio correct.

About 1 1/2 cups of milk for each cup of oats mixed in a container, sealed and refrigerated overnight lends itself to a nice consistency, without being too thick or soupy.

The milk used in overnight oats can vary, which also adds an extra source of protein.

Even when cooked with oatmeal or sipped with the rest of your meal, milk remains a cost-effective morning option.

When it comes to adding to that baseline mix, chia and flax seeds are affordable, high in protein and “a good source of nutrition,” Fisher said.

Frozen berries can be incorporated into whipped cottage cheese, overnight oats and a variety of other breakfast meals, while providing important vitamins and minerals. They’re just one of several shopping tips that can help stave off the impact of inflation at the checkout line.

When it comes to planning meals and maintaining healthy diets — for all meals — the rising cost of groceries has limited what many can do without stretching their budgets. But there are ways to find necessary nutrition while hedging against inflated prices.

“The nice thing about fruits and vegetables and healthy options is there’s multiple different ways to buy them,” Fisher said. “If they choose, going from organic to a frozen option is a substantial way to save money.”

Frozen fruits and meats are one way to cut down costs without sacrificing important nutrients from your diet.

“They’re also a lot more nutrient dense when you buy them frozen,” Fisher said. “Because they flash-freeze them so they hold all the nutrition. So that’s a more cost-effective way to get in healthy foods.”

Frozen meats tend to cost less and have similar nutrition to fresh meat, Fisher said. And frozen vegetables can be used in a variety of ways. They can be blended into smoothies or other recipes where they’re kept frozen, or thawed into their natural state and eaten like fresh fruit.

“It’s really important to incorporate everything in that spectrum,” Fisher said. “Everything you have access to. When we think about inflation, and budgeting, and even access where we live, in rural Wyoming, frozen fruits and vegetables — you can find so much, so many different kinds.

“They’re very affordable and they’re always nutrient dense. They give you exactly what you need.”

Early in the pandemic when supply chain issues first arose and some people were still stockpiling non-perishable and freezable foods for the event of a lockdown, the availability of meat decreased, costs rose and some considered a vegetarian lifestyle as a result.

“I don’t really see the push for the vegetarian diet as much here,” Veinbergs said. “It’s definitely beef country.”

While that phenomenon may not have taken hold in Gillette, a vegetarian lifestyle does offer cost-effective possibilities while getting all the necessary nutrients.

“It’s always great to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, higher fiber, more vitamins and minerals for sure. But it’s also important to get the good protein source. Animal protein is the only protein that has all the amino acids,” Veinbergs said.

“You can get all the amino acids in a vegetarian diet, you just have to be creative, and make sure you have a wide spectrum of foods in your diet in order to get those.”

There are still ways to save on groceries without cutting out meat.

Fisher recommends buying meat according to what the sales are at that time and complementing that with other frozen meats.

All it takes is a vegetable to pair and voila, putting together a nutritious meal on a budget isn’t so hard after all.


This story was published on Feb. 18, 2023.