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How to make your meat go further

With rising food prices, we’re all looking for ways to save on the weekly shopping bill. There are many simple ways to save money and enjoy healthy food at low prices.

We discuss how smarter shopping and good cooking can help lean beef and lamb remain part of a healthy, balanced and affordable diet for your family.

Shopping

Shop wisely and save money. Follow these tips at the supermarket or your local butcher’s shop:

  • Look out for specials and use catalogues, coupons, and discount cards.
  • Plan meals for the week and write a shopping list. It will stop you buying unnecessary extras.
  • If you have a freezer, buy more than you need and freeze the extra in smaller portions. A large pack of meat on special, split into smaller amounts, will be cheaper than buying lots of smaller packs.
  • Butchers are there to help you. Ask their advice on which meat is best for your recipe.
  • Mince, chops, chuck, schnitzel, topside steaks and casserole meat offer value for money, ideal for family meals.
  • Beans, such as baked beans, lentils, rice and pasta are cheap and help make a dish go further. Add a can of baked beans to pasta bakes and shepherd's pie and you'll feed an extra mouth or two.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables in season – they are much cheaper and tastier. Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables are also economical.
  • Try making your own instead of buying ready-made, eg pizza, pasta sauce. This way the kids can help too and you can choose your own ingredients.

Cooking

Cooking your own meals is very cost-effective, and using cheaper cuts of meat doesn’t mean you sacrifice taste or quality. Choosing the best cooking method is key to getting the most out of your meat.

Search the different cooking methods in our learn section to find the most suitable ways to cook different beef and lamb cuts.

A lot for a little

  • A serving of lean lamb such as a lamb leg steak or two loin chops with some vegetables provides a third of a male's iron requirements.
  • Need a quick energy boost? For less than a dollar, a slice of chopped lamb’s fry added to a cup of mince doubles the iron content.
  • A family of four will obtain around 2.5mg of iron for $2.00* each from a 500g pack of lean beef mince. This is a quarter of the daily iron needed by growing teenage boys and a fifth for teenage girls. *These are indicative prices as at January 2018.
  • The protein in a lean steak costs about the same as the protein in a can of salmon, gram for gram. Protein helps us feel full for longer, which is good for weight control.
  • One slice of corned silverside gives our children four times the amount of infection-fighting zinc as 6 slices of bread.
  • One serving of lamb can give us half the vitamin D we need each day; beef about a quarter. A tasty alternative to popping pills.

Leftovers

Make the most of leftovers. They make great, unexpected, extra meals. Try these ideas for using them up:

  • Use leftover roast lamb or beef by cutting up for sandwiches, filled rolls, soups, pies, stews, risottos, wraps, or on top of pizzas. These iron-rich meals can supply up to a third of your child’s daily iron needs.
  • Extend leftover stir-fry meat by wrapping it in filo, adding it to an omelette or toasted sandwich, combining with pasta or rice, or encasing it in a tortilla or wrap.
  • Casserole leftovers can be put in a dish with a mashed potato or kumara topping and baked in the oven, or reheated and enjoyed with rice or pasta.
  • Use leftover mince on a baked potato, in a wrap, in a toasted sandwich, on mini pizzas, in tacos, in burgers, with pasta or rice, or as meatballs. One cup of lean beef mince provides as much iron as two whole loaves of wholemeal bread or four cans of baked beans, and it’s cheaper too!
  • Put cooked meat into the fridge within an hour, covered in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. Use within 3 days. Alternatively, freeze leftovers in airtight containers and eat within 1-2 months.
  • Adding rice to leftover meat is an inexpensive and tasty way of bulking out leftovers. Simply cut up strips of leftover beef or lamb and add to a packet of cooked fried rice (available in the rice section of the supermarket), for a delicious and quick meal.

Posted by Shawn Moodie

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