Monday, September 12, 2011

Cut Down Expenses by Cutting Down on Meat

Many folks in today's world know that meat is expensive. But let's take a serious look at just how these prices break down, and then look at small changes you can make to trim down your grocery budget without losing real value -- nutritional value, that is!

According to MSN Money, these are some average prices of popular meats by the pound in the U.S.: 

Cheapest Ground Beef                       $3.00
Boneless Chicken Breasts                   $3.40
Canned Tuna                                      $2.00

Compare this to their price estimates for non-meat protein items: 

Dried Beans and Lentils                      $1.00
Rice (tasty mixed with beans)              $.69
Tofu                                                   $1.80

So, what are we supposed to do with this information? Not everybody wants to become a Super Vegan or something, right? (OK, well, I sure don't.) But here are some ways even meat-eaters can benefit:

  •   Challenge yourself to eat just one dinner per week without meat.  Try black beans and rice (basic recipe here), red beans and rice (basic recipe here), or eliminating meat from a dish you already cook (for instance, making spaghetti without meat, or making tacos with pinto beans instead of ground beef.)
Ham and bean soup, courtesy
of New Gourmet
  • Let meat share protein duties with non-meat. Choose a meat protein and then find a recipe that mixes it  with  a plant-based protein. This will require less meat overall, and will save you some money in total costs. For example, you could make chicken chili or red beans and rice with sausage.
  • Keep in mind that completely "going vegetarian" (depending on what a complete vegetarian diet entails) isn't always a money-saver. Be sure to check prices and to look at different options! 
...Here's to another happy week for your wallet -- and your stomach! 


  1. If you want the meat flavor ask for a ham bone, they sell them real cheap. Add to the cooking beans and simmer

  2. That's a great idea! Thanks for the tip, Anonymous!

  3. The ham bone is a great way to go!! My trick for getting a little meat flavor into otherwise veggie dishes is bacon. I buy 1 pack of bacon, divide it into packs of 2 strips and freeze. Then when I'm making a veggie soup, casseroles or chili I just cook and crumble a couple strips of bacon into it. Small amount of meat, but very big flavor!