4 Practical Tips for Buying Meat

I spend a lot of time groaning and griping in the meat department of the grocery store. It isn't because of the cuts of meat, it's the prices that keep me down. Even though my children have long since grown up and I don't feed them anymore (except for the grandchildren that visit) I still think very much like I did when they were in the household. I never believe that paying more for the same cut of meat makes it taste better nor do I believe you are always getting the best deal when you buy the cheap meat. So where does that leave us? Somewhere in the middle where we really have to think about the purchases.

My favorite tips for the meat dept.

  1. Ground Beef: Never fall for the cheapest meat on the shelf. This is FULL of fat and while it is quite tasty it's not saving you any money. Check for the fat content in the meat. You will see things like 75% lean, or 80/20 (80% lean). The leaner the better for you and you will get the most out of the meat you buy because it won't cook away. Be warned when choosing the absolute leanest mean such as ground sirloin, there will be a little bit of a learning curve because it is dry compared to the fatty grinds.
  2. Chicken Breasts: WOW! Have you seen the size of some of these breasts in the family packs? I bet you say to yourself that the chicken must have been a monster. The next time you shop check out the package details on these bad boys. They will tell you that are enhanced with broth. That's right! They pump up your chicken to make it look like there is more. Do yourself a favor and choose all natural chicken. Even if the package is more expensive it will be better for you. Extend it by adding pasta for an Alfredo or such. Also check for frozen breasts in the grocer's freezer. Sometimes there will be sale prices that make it just as affordable to eat better!
  3. Pork: Don't get me started on how many bad things that can crop up from under cooked pork. Frankly it's gross but not only do I digress on the subject but I am here to tell you that I do indeed eat pork. I eat processed pork only. It's bad for you anyway and if you are going to eat it just the same, I say get processed. Bacon, ham, and smoked sausage are our favorites and you can almost always find a sale on this stuff.
  4. Seafood: Always ALWAYS be careful with seafood. It is NEVER okay to get marked down fish or shrimp. I am sorry. It just isn't. You could be saving your own life or your family's by sticking to the rule of fresh or frozen seafood. What I find to be very affordable are the large bags of peeled and veined shrimp. You make a nice meal or two out of a small bag.
  5. All Meat except Seafood: My favorite time to buy meat is when it is on the mark down. Stores typically mark down items first thing in the morning so get there early! Try to keep freezer space for these items because you will want to freeze them for food protection. Also on regularly priced items that need sliced (like a loin or ham) your grocer will do this for you. Most of the time it is a free service but occasionally they will charge 50 cents or a dollar.
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