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Old 11-13-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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What percentage should meat be?

Recently, I found out that my health is suffering because of how little meat we eat and how much I hate beans. DH has been trying to get me to eat more meat for years, so he is very excited that I've finally relented and agreed to buy more meat.

I'm trying to decide how much of our budget I should limit meat to. We currently have a $600 budget for all food, cleaning supplies, etc. I was thinking of around $150 of that for meat. What percentage of your budgets do you spend on meat? Is this too high for a family of soon to be seven?

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Old 11-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

Meat is the most expensive thing in my grocery budget. We eat alot of chicken, pork and ground beef. I try to limit more expensive cuts of beef such as steaks and roasts to once a week at most. I myself eat more meat and less grains because of my cancer surgeries. I just don't tolerate alot of grains anymore. $150 is 25% of your grocery budget and a reasonable place to start budgeting meats. Shop the sales. I make my menu out every sunday after looking at the ads. If something is a great deal, I buy extra and freeze. I also buy meat when it is close to the sale by date and marked down. I have a deep freeze and it's a good way to stockpile meat at a reduced price.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

Meat is close to half our grocery budget now. I am gluten intolerant and we eat an almost paleo style diet so we eat more meat than the average.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

We eat a lot of meat (i hate beans too!) I actually try to avoid buying most of our meat from the grocery store since it tends to be more expensive that way. I buy our chicken from zaycon (they came thru our area last month and I bought 80lbs), our beef we get from a local farmer, and my dad gives us salmon from his fishing trips to Alaska. I do buy our pork from the grocery store and will pick up turkeys and whole chickens when they are at rock bottom prices. The best way to save money buying meat is going to be investing in a deep freezers....we have 2 uprights in the garage and they are worth every penny!
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

I spend about 10% of my food budget on meat. We eat mostly chicken with a small amount of pork or ground beef

There are many different ways to prepare a wide variety of beans, maybe you can find one that appeals to you. I puree them in soup, marinate and roast them for tacos, mash for burritos, bake for baked beans, hummus etc... I think the key is in the spices you add.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:04 PM   #6
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

I have never broke it down to a percentage of the total budget, but I generally try to spend between $2-3 a pound, and our family of five (kids 4, 6 and 8) usually eat a pound of meat at dinner, 5-10 slices of bacon or links of sausage at breakfast, and then packed lunches usually have lunchmeat, hot dogs, or little smokies in them.

I do buy pork and sausage on sale or when they are reduced because they are close to the expiration date, because the only way to get organic or grassfed pork here is through local farms and they are very expensive. Chicken I usually buy organic from Costco for $2.29/lb (whole chicken). If you don't care about organic, there are usually some sort of chicken parts on sale for $2/lb or less in most parts of the country. Beef I only buy when marked down as it is expensive here, but I do always have a bag of Costco meatballs on hand for quick/easy dinners. Seafood is also expensive here, but I keep a bag of Costco fishsticks or breaded tilapia filets (which are significantly higher quality than say, Gorton's or something from the grocery store) and cans of tuna and crab on hand. The only other convenience items I buy with meat are ravioli/tortellini and potstickers.

If your issue is lack of protein (as opposed to iron and other minerals), there are a few other ways to get that in your system other than beans. Eggs are relatively inexpensive and a good source of protein. Instead of buying regular pasta, get the multigrain, which is made in part with bean flour but doesn't taste like beans or like whole wheat pasta. Nut butters, as well as nuts in general, will also supply protein. Tofu is also an option. If you make your own bread, you can experiment with different bean flours on the market. Dairy products also contain protein, but some more than others so read the labels.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

We buy our meat in bulk, so it's higher quality (we know the farmers & their policies) but still reasonably price. 1/4 of a cow will last us about a year, we pay $3.25/lb. Whole chickens are about the same per pound. In a month, we do 3 weeks of ~3 days of beef/1 fish, and one week of chicken (I roast a whole ~7lber and we eat a variety of chicken dishes that week).
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:14 PM   #8
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My problem is unfortunately iron. I found out I am very anemic again, and I also have a blood clotting disorder, so being anemic could become life threatening very quickly. I've taken to eating lots of spinach and other plant sources, but it isn't changing things enough, and I'm going to have a baby any day (started showing early signs of labor yesterday, so I'm guessing in the next week or so ), so I've been eating beef every day.

Typically we buy whole chickens at the "cheap store" (Winco) for 96 cents/pound. I try to stick up when I find them cheaper. I buy frozen chicken breasts from Costco, they are about the same price as Zaycon and my husband was not happy about how long it took him to cut the fat off and freeze all the breasts the time we did get it through Zaycon. These I mostly use for crock pot meals, as it is easier to toss them in and let them cook in whatever I am making.

The beef is where I need to figure stuff out more. We are trying to eat less pasta (my kids will pick the noodles out and eat nothing else, sigh), and trying to use the crock pot most days to eliminate "easy" meals that are less healthy. Only problem is most beef crock pot meals call for more expensive cuts. We found with our huge meal prep for when baby comes that stew meat works well instead of many of the more expensive cuts, and we can get that about $3.28/lbs verses well over $4/lbs for other cuts. Even ground beef is pricey here! Hoping to buy a freezer and a half, maybe whole beef some time next year.

I'll check with the meat departments where we shop to find out when their mark down days are, we have a separate upright freezer, and once our meals are gone, I can start stalking up on cheap meat.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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Re: What percentage should meat be?

If it's red meat you need, look into buying direct from a farmer. We spent about $3 a lb for our half a beef and that is for all cuts, roast, ground, and steak. We also just sold a lamb and with processing they paid about $3.75-4 a lb, which is cheaper than you can get beef at the store, for lamb. A whole lamb is about 60-75lbs of meat. It's for sure something to look into.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:41 PM   #10
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I dont really have an answer to your question, sorry, but on a side note have you looked into having your placenta encapsulated? It is rich in iron and could help along with more meat consumption.
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