10 Ways to Stretch Meat & Save Money

Across the United States, grocery stores are starting to limit the amount of meat you can buy.  It can be A LOT to disconcerting especially when you have a growing family as I do.  So, what are some ways you can stretch your meat and get creative with your meal plan this week?  


So, how can you stretch meat and save money?


Check out this delicious and simple egg bake recipe!

Skip the Meat

I know that sounds crazy, that the number one tip when it comes to stretching meat is to skip it but there are a lot of delicious recipes you might make with meat that if you took the meat out, you might not miss it at all.  For example, soups, salads, pasta dishes, pizza, quesadillas, and sandwiches.

Check out this breakfast pizza recipe, quiche recipe, and egg bake recipe.  Just skip the breakfast meat in each of the recipes!  

50 easy meatless meals ideas

Download your free copy of 50 meatless meal ideas printable by signing up here.



Swap Out the Meat

You might be used to fresh chicken breast for your favorite dish but in this season tried canned chicken instead.  This chicken pot pie recipe and chicken salad recipe work great with canned chicken.  Lunchmeat is a great alternative as well.  Instead, of using a roast for french dip sandwiches, consider using lunchmeat instead.  I love to make chicken parmesan with chicken nuggets. 


Check out this delicious and simple corn bean salsa recipe!


Sub Out the Meat

Instead of swapping or skipping the meat, how about sub it in for another protein.  Think eggs, lentils, beans, and nut butter.  


Thin Out the Meat

If you don’t want to get rid of the meat altogether, try stretching it with a filler.  I like to stretch ground beef by adding  1 12 oz can of black beans to make 2 lbs of a meat mix.  I will also add in canned carrots for nearly no added taste and extra vegetables.  This is a great option for Mexican dishes.


Don’t Make Meat the Star

Instead of a traditional meat and side meal.  Consider, stretching that meat by making dishes that you add meat to. Dishes like pasta, Mexican, and oriental dishes. When it isn’t the star and just the supporting actor, we can stretch meat a little bit further.


Think Outside the Meat Box

When it comes to meals, we usually have a meat-heavy hitter that goes with that meal.  Tacos = ground beef but what if you did shrimp tacos or pulled pork tacos.  If you make meat for one dish, how can you reimagine that meat for another dish later in the week or freeze it and save it for another time?


Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe


Add More Sides

To stretch your meat even further, consider adding a few additional sides like fruits and vegetables so tummies are still filled but with more variety and you can stretch that meat even further.

Speaking of fruits and veggies, buy fruits and veggies with a variety of shelf lives. My kids love strawberries but they don’t last long so then I buy apples, bananas, grapes, and applesauce for later in the week. That way I don’t waste food and we still get a variety into our diet.

Don’t be afraid of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables as well so you can stretch the time between your grocery shopping sessions.


Make 1 Meal Per Seating

I know this has nothing to do with meat but many of you might feel like a short-order cook. Now’s the time to communicate with your family that you are making 1 meal. Kids will eat when they are hungry and serve some sides you know they will like to help them get excited about mealtime.  Want more help with picky eaters?  Check out this post with 15 tips to get your picky eater to eat.


Meal Planning Journal sample weekly meal plan

Grab your meal planner here!


Meal Plan

Making a weekly meal plan helps you reduce food waste and stretch your meat and your grocery budget. I record what we need at home before I go throughout the week in my  Meal plan journal.

Then, I look for simple meals we love and make my meal plan while I shop. You can download a free printable with 50 meal ideas to help you get started by signing up here.


Keep Meals Simple

We are not getting awards for how fancy or complicated are meals are right now. The other night we had grilled cheese, we have had to build your own cheese pizzas this week and everyone has never eaten better.  Snack tray suppers are another fan favorite and perfect for a night you don’t feel like cooking. 


Just Remember…

Don’t stress if you can’t find enough meat at the store, there are a lot of meatless options or meals that don’t require a lot of meat.  If you need more ideas, you can signup here and download your copy of over 50 meatless meal ideas to get you started. 


You might like these posts – 

15 Simple Ways To Save Money on Groceries

12 Items We Stopped Buying at the Grocery Store to Save Money

10 Simple Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

25 Simple Family Meals


Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.



Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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