When grocery shopping, you’ve probably noticed meat and poultry to be one of the largest budget busters in your cart. Beef, poultry, pork and fish rarely (if ever) have coupons, but most entrée recipes center around them. So how do we reduce the grocery bill and still get our protein fill?
Here are 5 quick tips for stretching your budget in the meat department:
Buy On Sale & Stockpile – One of the best ways to save on meat is to watch the sales. When, for example, your store has ground beef at $2.00/lb – grab it. And lots of it! Meats freeze and without losing their flavor or tenderness, so grab what you’ll use until the next sale, usually a few months or so.
Substitute Cheaper Cuts/Alternatives – Do you prefer to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts? As this is the most expensive form of chicken you can purchase, why not consider using chicken thighs for your next meal, or perhaps a whole chicken which can be used for several meals. Are you a fan of fish tacos? No need to purchase expensive Halibut or Cod when Tilapia will do. Always consider ways to substitute what you may be accustomed to, and in many cases, the difference at the register will be greater than the difference in taste.
Add Fillers – Using items such as beans and rice in meatloaf, tacos, and casseroles can cut the amount of meat used in half while still providing a filling and hearty meal.
Make It Bite-size – Chop, dice or shred your meat into smaller portions to stretch it out over the course of the dish, doubling a recipe doesn’t always require you to double the meat.
Have a meatless meal once a week – Not every meal requires a meat. An easy way of reducing your protein spend during your shopping trip is to plan one vegetarian meal per week. Entrées such as Stir-Fry, Rice Stuffed Green Peppers, and Eggplant Parmesan will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites sans a trip to the butcher.
Do you have any other tips for stretching your meat budget?