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Are you tightening your budgetary belt and looking for more ways to save money? A great way to help those food dollars is to stretch meat. Here are some great ideas and recipes for how you can make the most of a small amount of meat without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

The easiest way to stretch meat, whether chicken, beef, pork, or anything else, is by adding grains and/or vegetables… something we’ve probably all learned about for years. But with the increase in the costs of meat—and just about all groceries and consumer goods—it may be time to get even more serious about methods to stretch meat.

Ground beef is probably one of the easiest meats to stretch. Brown it and then add any of the following:

  • Rice (or other grain)
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes or corn
  • Other vegetables

Then turn it into a casserole, burrito, or taco filling, or add lots of nutrient-dense bone broth to have a soup or stew. Speaking of bone broth, this is another great way to stretch your meat! Bone broth (made from bones that are often thrown in the garbage) is a protein sparer. Or, more specifically, it’s the gelatin in bone broth bioavailability of the protein you consume. Adding copious amounts of broth to your daily diet can really help with your meat budget.



Another thing to keep in mind as you stretch meat is serving size. Officially, the serving size for cooked meats is 3 ounces. This is about the size of a deck of cards. Portion control plates provide a great visual for the amount of protein, carbs, and vegetables for a meal. Vegetables take up half the plate. Carbs, such as grains or fruit, are one-quarter of the plate, and the last quarter is for protein.

Eggs are also another good protein option. Sadly, like other meats, eggs have also gone up in price. According to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics August release, the average price of a dozen eggs in the US is $1.83. Two eggs equal one serving, making the cost per serving around 31¢. From a July report, ground beef prices in 2022 average $4.78 per pound or about $1.20 per 3-ounce serving. Comparing cost per serving size is a good way to find the best value for your money.


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What’s your favorite way to stretch meat? Leave a comment below!

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