The idea of buying grass fed beef, or even just a healthier option than the irradiated, feed-lot beef at your local grocery store can be intimidating. Isn’t that stuff really expensive? Well, yes, but even our family, during our tightest budgeted seasons have been able to afford grass fed beef or better quality meat with these 4 tips:
How to Afford Grass Fed Beef
1. Choose the cheapest cuts.
Bone-in is cheaper than Boneless. (And you can make nutritious beef broth with those bones!) Ground beef beats steak every time. Short ribs are delicious with this recipe, and are usually the cheapest item the butcher offers. Steak is not a ‘must’ for special occasions. There are plenty of company-worthy meal ideas made with ground beef:
- Salsbury steaks
- Cheeseburger soup
- Taco Bar
Cost to you: fewer steak dinners.
2. Buy the meat un-seasoned and un-formed.
Pre-made meatballs (if you can find them without junky additives and fillers) are going to be more expensive than buying ground beef and forming your own meatballs. Pre-formed burgers are more expensive, again, than just the ground beef. You save by shaping and seasoning the meat yourself. Cost to you: a few more minutes in the kitchen.
3. Buy in bulk.
Always choose the club pack over the smaller package. I know that much meat can be intimidating, but you WILL eat it all eventually, so go for the club pack of 5 Lbs., and divide it up into meal-sized portions yourself when you get home, freezing what you won’t eat this week. You’ll also save yourself additional trips to the store because you can grab meat for dinner out of the freezer. Cost to you: a few more minutes in the kitchen.
4. Buy the whole cow.
Or a half. Or even a quarter. What I mean is, go straight to the source–your nearest butcher and order a portion of meat straight from him. (Yes, local butchers still exist, but you won’t find them next to Target. You’re gonna have to make a few phone calls or do a little internet search) Many times the price of meat straight from the butcher is not much more than what you’re paying at the store. If even a quarter of a cow (30-50 Lbs.) is too much meat for you to buy or store at once, find a few friends to split it with you. Cost to you: A few phone calls and a trip to the butcher.
For me, the biggest challenge to feeding my family better meat has been sourcing it, and then changing my buying habits. But usually the sourcing is a one-time effort comprised of a little detective work, all from the comfort of my couch on my smart phone. Learning to make an extra stop each month at the butcher instead of getting all my groceries at the one-stop-shop supermarket is a new habit that nevertheless become routine. And then, suddenly, I’ve formed a real food habit and taken another successful step in my real food journey.
Learn more about the importance of making better meat choices for your family:
- Nuclear Lunch: The Dangers and Unknowns of Food Irradiation
- Why Grassfed Animal Products are Better For You
Tomorrow we’re talking bone broth!
Do you know of a local butcher in your county? Even if it’s not certified organic or %100 grass fed, the local, fresh beef they’d be offering is better than what you’d get in the typical grocery store. Are you up for the challenge of finding them and ordering some beef in bulk? How about making your meatballs from scratch? That’s not a huge step, right? But each little step is progress on the journey!