I love summer, but sometimes it can provide challenges when trying to feed the family healthy, enjoyable meals while staying within a budget. As my children have grown over the past few years, so have their appetites and food preferences. The one thing that has stayed true and that I can count on is their love for beef’s great flavor, which thankfully pairs well with many fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In my quest not to break the bank on groceries, I’m going to share some easy tips to keep the family happy and healthy with beef’s saving value.
Here are a few basic suggestions when shopping for beef.
- Consider cost-per-serving ratio. One serving of protein is equivalent to 4-ounces of raw or 3-ounces of cooked beef. On average, one pound (16-ounces) of beef is about $4. That yields about $1 per 3-ounce cooked serving. Beef is packed with 10 essential vitamins and minerals and that makes a lot of delicious nutrients in $1. Now that’s value you can count on.
- Purchase family-size packs/bundles. Look for family packs or bundles in the meat case that have a variety of items for a lower price-per-pound. If you can’t use all the items at one meal then simply freeze them or use the cooked leftovers for sandwiches, salads or stir-fry the next day.
- Go small. If you don’t need a full pound of beef then only purchase the amount needed. Simply visit the meat case to find perfectly portioned steaks and roasts. You will get high-quality beef at just the right size and just the right price.
- Buy in bulk and cut your own. By purchasing larger cuts of beef and slicing them into steaks at home you will save at least $1 or $2 per pound. You can then freeze individually or use for your next meal.
- Hunt for bargains. Every week your local grocers will offer specials on beef. Watch the paper for coupons and deals. When you find a good deal be sure to buy enough to stock your freezer. Uncooked ground beef can be properly stored in the freezer for approximately 3-4 months. Uncooked steaks and roasts can be frozen for approximately 4-12 months.
- Ask for help. Talk to your local butcher or meat counter clerk. Their job is to help you find the most appropriate cut of meat to suit your needs. You can also look for corner recipe labels on packages of beef for helpful information. Or, if you have a smart phone, you can visit www.beefitswhasfordinner.com, even while shopping, to find helpful information regarding cuts, nutrition and recipes.
For more healthy beef recipes and information contact Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, at 605-224-4722 or visit www.sdbeef.org.