Is Eating Meat More Expensive?

by Clara P. Triane, M.D. and Sol Ta Triane


        People often think eating a meat-based diet is more expensive than eating a plant-based diet, but that is not the case. Of course, it can add up quickly to eat $15/pound steaks every day, but there are many surprisingly inexpensive cuts of meat.

       Consider the nutrition from eating a pound of meat vs. a pound of vegetables. Imagine eating a pound of ground beef for your meal, as opposed to a pound of carrots—the ground beef will be very nutrient dense and satiating; the pound of carrots will leave you unsatisfied. How many pounds of vegetables would you have to consume in order to even come close to the nutrition of a pound of beef?

       Consider cooking a pound of meat vs. a pound of vegetables: the vegetables shrink down to a much smaller amount and are much lower in nutritive value. 

       Grocery stores vary widely in terms of their meat prices. Check your local supermarkets, as well as the stores that sell large cuts to restaurants, to see who offers the best prices. Always look for sales. 

       Meat can be pricier if organically-fed or grass-finished. If you can afford it or find a good deal, those may be preferable, but if you're on a limited budget they are certainly not critical. The nutrition you get from eating meat, regardless of what the animal was fed, will still be far superior to that from plant-based foods. Fill up on meat and eggs so you don't need to ingest low-nutrient substances. 

       Many people spend a lot of money on costly supplements, herbs and nutraceuticals to try to make up for deficiencies in their diet. One can obtain all the nutrition that one needs on a low carb, meat-based diet, thereby decreasing and in many cases eliminating the need for supplements. This is also a big money saver!


       Here are some tips for buying meat inexpensively: 

  • Always check for freshness, and freeze if needed.
  • Ground beef: often sells for $5/pound or less. If you buy a large package, e.g., five or ten pounds, you may even be able to find ground beef for under $3/pound. Ground beef preparations containing higher percentages of fat, (e.g., 80% lean, 20% fat), are generally preferable and often less expensive than leaner preparations. 
  • Steaks: shop the sales, as many grocery stores will have weekly specials on certain cuts. A cheaper steak, if properly cooked, may be just as delicious as a more expensive one. A restaurant supply store may sell large pieces of beef at a good price, and you can cut your own steaks and roasts. Make sure you have a good butcher's knife and sharpener. 
  • Chicken: frequently sells for under $2/pound. A 10-pound package of leg quarters may sell for cheaper than $1/pound. 
  • Pork: often sells for less than $3/pound. 
  • Bacon: you may be able to find one brand on sale for $3/pound. Sometimes ends and pieces may be less expensive than bacon cut in strips. Hog jowl is another alternative. Look for brands that have zero carbohydrates. 
  • Herring: a 4-ounce can sells for less than $2/can. Again, look for zero carb varieties. 
  • Sardines: you frequently can buy 4-ounce cans of sardines for $1/can at the dollar store or supermarket. Try to get sardines packed in water, never in industrial seed oils, and without flavorings and sweeteners.
  • Eggs: fantastic nutrition to be enjoyed at any time of day. Be sure to eat the yolks, too. Pastured are the most healthy because the hens eat bugs and worms. 


       Happy shopping, and don't forget the knife and sharpener!


Steak with Fat Fries

Perfect Whole Beef Tri-Tip  in the Oven

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