Many of us are struggling with the weekly cost of groceries, and meat usually forms a significant proportion of the shopping bill. With our very strong farming history, New Zealanders have a tradition of heavy reliance upon “meat & 3 veg.” at dinner time.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this – there are clever ways to reduce your reliance on meat, reduce your shopping bill and lead a healthier lifestyle. Here are some great tips & strategies on how to save money on meat.
• Reduce the amount of meat you serve at each meal – each person needs a portion about the size and thickness of their palm — adjusted for men, women and children.
• Serve less meat during the week – health professionals advise that we only need to eat meet 2 to 3 times per week. In our Western society, we eat far too much protein – increase the proportion of vegetables and carbohydrates on your plate.
• Substitute meat with other forms of protein such as eggs, fresh fish, tinned fish, and … tofu. This will give you a greater range of nutrients, especially with much needed Omega fatty acids.
• Serve one or two vegetarian meals each week – search out recipes that combine beans, legumes and grains to give you optimum nutrition.
• Buy the cheapest cuts of red meat you can find – and then cook them in a slow cooker (crock pot), or as a casserole in your oven. Cuts of meat such as chuck steak, blade steak, shin, flank and silverside will all produce delicious meals when cooked slowly with vegetables and seasonings.
• Make meat dishes go further by adding beans. Dishes that involve mince or casseroled meat will go much further if you add beans or legumes. You can quickly add a tin of beans, or prepare your own beans by soaking and cooking them.
• Consider combo meals where you mix and match proteins – one of our family favourites is omelette with tinned fish (like salmon) inside – it gives a delicious flavour and is highly nutritious.
• Shop for the lower priced red meats — cheaper cuts such as liver and kidneys are very high in iron content; only buy meat on “special” (and stock up your freezer); shop around – don’t just limit yourself to your local supermarket – speciality shops in NZ such as The Mad Butcher and The Aussie Butcher often have great deals on meat.