This is the first in a new blog series on how to reduce your grocery bill and still eat healthily.
It’s no secret that meat can be one of the most expensive parts of your grocery budget. If you want to eat free range, organic meat you will already be paying a premium. If like me, you’ve waved goodbye to that luxury a while back you’ll also understand that finding good value (Irish) meat is difficult.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that you should buy anything other than Irish meat, although I’m sure you can find cheaper than I already do in supermarkets and some butchers around Ireland.
If you come from a dedicated family of carnivores you may find this difficult to start with, so to begin try cutting back to eating meat with just 1 meal a day. By 1 meal a day I mean no meat with your breakfast or lunch, for example in sandwiches or wraps. The actual amount of protein that we as humans need to survive is relatively low compared to the portion sizes of the meat that we are used to eating. Take your average chicken breast for example, you can easily feed 2 adults enough protein from 1 of these alone.
There are plenty of alternatives to meat proteins that you can eat instead of a slice of ham for your lunch or a sausage at breakfast time. Some of these would be eggs, cheese, fish, beans, pulses and lentils.
When considering how to eat less meat you also need to take a look at how you shop for meat. Instead of buying individual pieces of meat and poultry for the week ahead, then plan your meals out loosely and buy cuts of meat that will last for at least 2 meals.
A whole medium chicken roasted becomes one family dinner, then you pick it for leftover meat, make stock and then have a nourishing chicken noodle soup, savoury cupcakes or cold salad in a jar for dinner the following day. By feeding the family twice from 1 purchase you’re getting value for money along with great nourishment for just 1 chicken.
1.5kg piece of ham becomes a main meal and then maybe a ham hock terrine for the following day. Or perhaps the stock from the ham can be used to make a beautiful pea and ham soup? You can even reserve some sneaky slices for those who do like a ham sandwich every now and again!
I’m a big believer in the KISS method – Keep It Simple Stoopid………
There’s no need to complicate your food or your budget. Wholesome, beautiful homecooked food on a budget is within your reach. With just 1 chicken and 1 piece of ham you can feed your family 4 dinners in one week. Both of which can be bought for under €10 (for the chicken and ham together) in your local supermarket if you’re on a tight budget.
By buying your meat in this manner you’ll also reduce your food waste.
What’s not to love?