Stay at Home Tips: How to include meat and other proteins for healthy eating on a budget

See more Extension Stay at Home Tips from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension

 For reliable information you can trust about COVID-19 go to


Healthy meals include protein

Most of us think of meat when we hear the word protein. Beef, pork and poultry are good sources of protein and contain important vitamins and minerals. Many of us eat meat on a daily basis. But there are many other healthy food sources of proteins, some less expensive than meat.

Think about including these proteins in your meals:

  •   seafood or legumes (lentils, beans and dried peas)
  •   dairy (milk and yogurt)
  •   eggs
  •   soy products
  •   nuts and seeds

Try these ideas to include more of these foods in your diet:

  •   Use a yogurt sauce to top a lentil dish.
  •   Have “Breakfast for Dinner” with a vegetable egg scramble, turkey sausage and a fruit cup.
  •   Canned salmon or tuna can be made into salads, patties or casseroles.
  •   Top yogurt, salads or vegetable dishes with nuts or seeds.

While the coronavirus has caused some people to question the safety of our meat supply, there is no evidence that meat products are contaminated with virus or causing illness among consumers. To prepare and eat meat:

  •   Always cook meat to safe temperatures.
  •   Eat appropriate servings: 2 oz. per person (4-6 oz. per day).
  •   Limit processed meats like hot dogs, sausage and lunch meats, and select leaner cuts of meat.
  •   Get more for your money by using it in mixed dishes such as spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken casserole or pork carnitas.

If you include a variety of protein foods in your diet, and include protein at all meals, you should be able to stay healthy even if the meat supply changes or it becomes too costly for your family.


Know the basics about COVID-19

FOR RELIABLE INFORMATION YOU CAN TRUST, about staying safe and what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, go to

What are the symptoms? Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms. Two to 14 days after exposure, people may experience:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

If you become ill, stay home and call your doctor if you feel you need medical care or advice. If you are having an emergency, call 911. 

  • Each day, write down your symptoms so you can share accurate information with your doctor. 
  • Make sure a family member or friend knows that you are unwell and ask them to check on you by phone or video chat every day. Even mild illnesses can quickly take a turn for the worse.
  • Practice good self-care. Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.

How can I lower my risk of getting COVID-19?

  • Stay home as much as possible to protect yourself and others.
  • When possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at a time to expose yourself less often.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after touching door handles, keypads, pens, and other frequently used surfaces.


  • Call the National Disaster Distress Helpline to speak to a trained crisis counselor
    • 800-985-5990
    • 800-846-8517 (TTY)
    • Or text:  TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Access information and resources to help you meet your immediate needs
    • Call 2-1-1
    • Contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center
  • For more ideas, visit the Resilient Wisconsin website.

See more UW-Madison Division of Extension Safer at Home Tips 


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