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  • Food budget or...Skinless boneless chicken breast...

    I've really loved the process of going Primal. I feel so much better...but my budget has just taken too large a hit. There is no other "meat" that I CAN cut from it (bad pun).

    I am thinking that skinless boneless chicken breast from Trader Joe's is probably the least offensive I can find - I don't want fat or skin if it isn't pastured poultry - and then use good quality oils when I cook it. Not that I am going to replace all of my grass-fed beef and pastured poultry with it but I've got to find some way to bring my food budget back into the real of reasonable. I already know which fruits and vegetable I can purchase that are non-organic.

    I hate to do this - but I don't see another way around it. How have others dealt with this? I am thinking that more poultry, canned fatty fish, lean pork chops, and focus on marrow bones/less expensive cuts of grass-fed beef (which I am doing anyway) should bring my budget back under control.

  • #2
    Well I think this would really depend on the person and how much they eat. You already know the basic so what I do is I make sure that nothing goes to waste. I used to buy more variety of meats but less so now that I switched to Paleo. I found a local farm that sells hormone free meat and grass bed beef. I finish everything that I have stocked up before I buy any new cuts of meat and only replenish my fruits and veggies once a week.

    My grocery is still a bit expensive however I found that I need to do less shopping this way. Also I should mention that budgeting your money in general keeps you inline with how much you can spend in a month in food. If you want to eat healthier there are just somethings that have to go that you don't need to spend money on. Priority is key.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cayla29s View Post
      Well I think this would really depend on the person and how much they eat. You already know the basic so what I do is I make sure that nothing goes to waste. I used to buy more variety of meats but less so now that I switched to Paleo. I found a local farm that sells hormone free meat and grass bed beef. I finish everything that I have stocked up before I buy any new cuts of meat and only replenish my fruits and veggies once a week.

      My grocery is still a bit expensive however I found that I need to do less shopping this way. Also I should mention that budgeting your money in general keeps you inline with how much you can spend in a month in food. If you want to eat healthier there are just somethings that have to go that you don't need to spend money on. Priority is key.
      I budget carefully and I've cut it to the bone, and sadly I still need some room. I like your approach of not buying any more before you have finished what you have already - it is so easy to want to "stock up" every time you go to the store. I am limited to the small freezer on my fridge so I can only stock up so much, but I probably don't have to buy more until the freezer is empty since it is just me. I've also been trying to cut back a bit on the amount of protein I eat so that should help...assuming I am not trying to cut it back TOO much (I am very active).

      Any other food-budget-saving tips out there?

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      • #4
        that kind of chicken is utterly flavorless to me so it would be a waste of money. same with pork loin. yuk. they are also far more expensive than other cuts of those critters so while i understand wanting to avoid potential issues with cafo fats, it seems just easier and more budget-wise to not eat those meats at all.

        ask a local grass-fed farmer about his/her off-cuts -- tongue, heart, oxtail, etc. i can get them for $4 pp.

        eat more eggs.
        As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

        Ernest Hemingway

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Catrin View Post
          I've really loved the process of going Primal. I feel so much better...but my budget has just taken too large a hit. There is no other "meat" that I CAN cut from it (bad pun).

          I am thinking that skinless boneless chicken breast from Trader Joe's is probably the least offensive I can find - I don't want fat or skin if it isn't pastured poultry - and then use good quality oils when I cook it. Not that I am going to replace all of my grass-fed beef and pastured poultry with it but I've got to find some way to bring my food budget back into the real of reasonable. I already know which fruits and vegetable I can purchase that are non-organic.

          I hate to do this - but I don't see another way around it. How have others dealt with this? I am thinking that more poultry, canned fatty fish, lean pork chops, and focus on marrow bones/less expensive cuts of grass-fed beef (which I am doing anyway) should bring my budget back under control.
          My husband and I are doing our darnedest to save money. We are both in our mid sixties. I hear your pain. For us, I buy a whole chicken rather than labor intensive parts. There are good whole chickens at Trader Joes.

          What I do is roast it or rotisserie it outside if it's too hot to have the oven on. The day we roast it, we eat the legs, thighs, wings, etc. and I save the breasts for another meal. Takes a bit of discipline not to eat them, lol. Starting out with a big salad helps.

          The breasts I shred and use in casseroles or faux enchiladas. That gives us another meal, and generally has enough left over to have for lunches the next day.

          Once I have cut off the meat, I generally make broth with the carcass using my crock pot. I add some carrot, celery and white onion plus salt and pepper. After straining it, I freeze in half pint jelly jars. I pick any meat left off the bones, and use that for chicken salad. A $10 - 15 chicken is a bargain, but to my old fashioned way of thinking, plain breast meat is a luxury.

          If you are ambitious you can cut up the chicken when it is uncooked and then proceed from there. I have a food lovers kitchen recipe that uses red palm oil. It's amazing. I cut the chicken in half, removing the back, which I will put in a ziplock in the freezer. Once I have a dozen or so backs and other pieces, like maybe wings (these would be raw) I make serious stock. Which I also freeze.

          The only time I buy breasts is if I get a really good deal on them, and I either bake or grill them following a marinating or brining period, and then cut them into strips, and bag them up in 4 or 5 oz. bags to use in salads. Or for something Mexican / Southwestern. We do not care for stir fry dishes, so I tend to not do that with the bits and pieces. There are only two of us, but if we still had kids around I would just buy two.

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          • #6
            this is a great plan! buy the boneless & skinless chicken breast. if you're at TJ's, they also sell kerrygold butter, and coconut oil. add the fat like that. or replace some of the fat calories with carbs; trust me, you won't turn insulin resistant and die.

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            • #7
              I forgot images have to be approved




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              • #8
                I finish everything that I have stocked up before I buy any new cuts of meat and only replenish my fruits and veggies once a week.

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                • #9
                  How about the wonderful incredible egg? Breakfast-for-dinner even one night a week might save some money for you.

                  Also -- Snauzoo talks about using up every last bit. I treat my roast chickens the same way. I eat the drumsticks and thighs while that bird is still piping hot, and then pull off bits of the breast for snacks or use them to make chicken salad or eat them with regular salad on the following days... Once I've picked that bird clean, I'll combine it with any other poultry bones I've accumulated and make a batch of broth. When I strain my and have more bits of meat, instead of making the chicken salad as Snauzoo does, I use that meat in a chicken-based soup. Unless I'm feeling generous and my hound is looking really cute, in which case I might give her a couple of nibbles.

                  Good luck bringing your budget into a more reasonable level...

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                  • #10
                    They have to pay someone to remove the bones and skin. You can save money getting a whole chicken. You can get about 6 meals from a whole chicken. You can make soup with the carcass.

                    The other thing you can do is search around for a meat market in town that has real butchers. Probably be an ethnic store. With real butchers they will be cutting up whole animals and will have off cuts. There will be organ meat and lots of it is pretty good. Not all of it is cheap. Gizzards are pretty cheap and if you cook the hell out of them they're not bad at all. I get stuff like pig tails or pig's feet. There's a little bit of meat and skin on these you can make a nice lunch with. The bones can go in your broth to give it gelatin. Do that first, then save the meat and skin for your lunch.

                    I get soup bones from my ethnic market. They take a big knuckle from a cow and leave a lot of meat on and marrow in the bone. I get a lot of marrow fat for cooking, good broth for soup and I save the meat and tendons and put that on salads for lunch. I'm surprised that I actually like to eat tendons. I like the crunch. I may try pig's ears someday.

                    They always have chicken feet which are good for making broth. I guess they make pho with chicken feet. Pork belly is pretty cheap. I still can't make a decent pork belly but I keep trying. They also have cheap steak. I can get rib-eye or T-bones for a fraction of the grass-fed stuff at the fancy organic markets. You're still coming out ahead even if you eat CAFO beef. I eat it all the time.

                    One last tip: I have observed after a year of shopping at my local expensive organic market that most of their fancy, expensive meat goes unsold. Eventually it's all ground into ground beef or sausage. So if I'm feeling poor, I get the lamb sausage or the italian sausage or the ground beef instead of the steak. We'll be dining on lamb sausage in a couple days. The chops were 3x the price.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                    • #11
                      Lean meats are easy to make taste great...

                      Cook them up in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, butter, or ghee in a frying pan to boost fat content. Drizzle cheese over them. Make marinades that involve coconut milk or cream. Bake in the oven plain and then dump olive oil on after you take it out.
                      Last edited by Drumroll; 10-08-2012, 09:22 PM.
                      "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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                      • #12
                        I really appreciate all of the good ideas. I think there will be a percentage of lean poultry added back into my diet that I will use good oils with, at least for a time, but it won't be the sum total of my poultry. A package of 5-7 frozen skinless/boneless breasts from Trader Joe's for $7 will certainly help my budget while I find other sources. A pastured chicken costs me over $20...The breasts may not have much flavor, but the good oils will help with that. I've a good source for frozen chicken necks and backs for broth, and I really like the idea of finding an ethnic grocer. That hadn't occurred to me and may finally give me consistent access to decent marrow bones. I find I REALLY like bone broth

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                        • #13
                          Canned fatty fish is excellent, I would definitely recommend it. I might recommend frozen vegetables if you're having trouble with fresh stuff going bad. I don't know if that would save much money. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are actually a bit more expensive than the ones with the skin on, last time I checked. You could buy the skin on ones and peel the skin off yourself.
                          Out of context quote for the day:

                          Clearly Gorbag is so awesome he should be cloned, reproducing in the normal manner would only dilute his awesomeness. - Urban Forager

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                          • #14
                            Not sure if you like boneless, skinless thighs, but they are usually a little less than the breasts. I have also found pork loin very inexpensive on sale on occasion, and since it is an amazing source of protein, I can only guess that most people's preparation of it keeps it tough. With loin, either cut it small and use for stir fry, or cook it low and slow covered in the oven.

                            Lean cuts beef or pork + liquid (water, tomato sauce, etc.) + a tablespoon of an acidic liquid (lemon juice, vinegar, and not needed if your liquid is tomato sauce) + 300-325 degree F oven + covered + over an hour cooking time = general instructions on cooking "lesser" quality meats.

                            There are also slow cooker stews.

                            To find out if whole chickens are really less inexpensive for you, weigh what you eventually throw out, and see what the per pound price comes to for the actually eaten product. I used to buy a turkey per month because it was so much less expensive than chicken January-October. Then one month, I weighed what I threw away, and went back to chicken.
                            "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                            B*tch-lite

                            Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                            • #15
                              I hadn't thought about chicken thighs, I like those as well....mmmmmmm bacon wrapped thighs

                              The only place I know with affordable skinless boneless chicken breasts is Trader Joe's - and they don't shrink when cooked, and are not those huge puffed up things you get at the regular store. I doubt other sources would be much less than my pastured chicken - but 5-7 breasts for $7 is pretty darn good. They have comparably priced thighs as well, so I will check it out. I will still get pastured chicken, just not so much of it. I like the idea of weighing what I toss and seeing which way really is less expensive. AND I am certainly going to look for an ethnic butcher. There is a huge market not too far from where I live that caters to many different ethnic communities - it might be a good place to start.

                              I go organic for certain veggies, but not for those things that I peel. I won't skimp on my greens though, just too much of a surface for pesticides/so forth to hide.
                              Last edited by Catrin; 10-09-2012, 12:02 PM.

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