I consider protein to be an essential part of every diet, esp. for kids, but I don't like spending a ton of money on it, and I don't like buying something I I feel was raised in an inhumane and unclean environment. So, I opt for the less expensive proteins for most of my meals, soy, beans, nuts and eggs. Because I get most of my proteins from them I can afford to spend the extra money on cage free eggs and free range, grain and grass fed meats. It also helps that I know I only need 7-8oz. of protein a day so, I'm not loading up on them instead of my fruits and veggies which I need 5 cups of a day.
I'm not a vegetarian, clearly, but that is one way I can save money and eat healthy at the same time.