Stretch Your Meat Dollar

Are you looking for ways to stretch your dollars when buying meat?  With the price of meat going up and up at the grocery store, it can be a challenge to buy those cuts your family has come to enjoy. Here are several tips to help you meet your meat budget challenge.   
Plan
Before going to the store, make a weekly meal plan. Look for sale specials and in-store ads to help save money. In your meal planning, include uses for leftovers to get the best bang for your buck.
Shop
Buy meat in bulk and when it is on sale. Compare prices. Family value packages are usually great buys. Purchase whole pieces of meat like chickens and roasts rather than smaller pieces, which can be more expensive. Learn to cut your own meat. For example, cube a beef roast for stew, rather than buying stew meat.
If you prefer the ease of buying smaller pieces of meat, select cuts that are lean and flavorful, and don’t cost a lot of money. These “value” cuts usually have the words “loin”, “round”, and “leg” in their names. Good buys in pork are a loin roast, picnic ham and Boston butt cuts. Consider buying beef cuts as an eye of round roast, flat iron steak and lean ground beef. When selecting ground meat, aim to choose those that are lean, or lower in fat. Lean ground turkey can be substituted in a variety of dishes for ground beef and saves fat calories.
Freeze
what is extra. Package meat in servings sized to your family’s needs. Wrap meat in freezer safe paper, foil, or plastic. Remember to label with name of contents and date. Most meat can last for 9-12 months in the freezer.

Cook
Often inexpensive cuts of meat are tough. Learn to tenderize these cuts by marinating, braising, or using a slow cooker (crock pot).  
Use a little less. Stretch your ground meat by using only ¾ lb. when a recipe calls for 1 lb. Add a vegetable to complete the recipe. Chopped onion and peppers can add great flavor to meats.
Combine your favorite meat cut with vegetables and whole grains to get even more out of your meat dollars. Visit www.eatsmart.umd.edu/recipes/main-dish where you can find main dish ideas for your family meals such as Beef and Cabbage and Chicken Corn Chowder.
Be creative with leftover meats. Add them to tacos, stir fry and soups. Offer enchiladas the second night made with cooked pork, salsa, cilantro, and cheese. Add left over chunks of beef to canned or Garden Vegetable Soup. Crumble an extra hamburger and add it to spaghetti sauce or Italian Baked Lasagna.
Follow these tips to manage your meat budget and still enjoy your favorite meat cuts.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall