Meal Prep Economy

(Meeping up the Science!) #1

I have been sick and stressed for several days, so I threw myself ferociously at meal prep to avoid excuses which I have fallen prey to in the past. This started me thinking about how/why I avoided eating healthy for some time.

One of the misconceptions I had before going zero carb for the first time a few years back was that it would be ridiculously expensive. As with all things, you can make it as expensive (or inexpensive) as you want.

I cooked a huge pork shoulder that I got for $1.10/pound on sale. I spent 9.58 on it. 3lbs of this was a bone, which I turned into bone broth yesterday. I used this method for the meat, and then portioned it into 4oz packets (not counting fat - I rendered the fat and divided it evenly amongst the meat packets) and froze it for quick meals. 4oz helps me because 1) it fits in my stomach, and 2) if I’m hungry I just make 2x. I drastically reduced meat waste portioning it smaller. I got 15 portions of meat this way, not including what I ate from it for my meals that day.

I also have a bunch of frozen fish. I vacuum sealed it with some butter and differing spices, and will be sous viding them for quick meals. These are tilapia from the grocery store (2 fillets, but I don’t want to waste them) and also a bunch of wild-caught salmon from Alaska I purchased on sale for $5.99/pound. This was a literal half a salmon which was huge. I made 5 portions from this. All told I spent $35 on about 10 portions.

I took a leg of lamb I bought on sale during Christmas and roasted it, sliced it, and portioned it for this week. I purchased this for 4.99 a pound. This was 3 pounds and also wound up being about 10 portions. ($15 total)

So I made about 35 portions of meat for $60 by shopping sales and being savvy. Of course, if you eat twice what I do, that’s about 17 portions, right? Even if you double the portion sizes, that’s still a considerable savings over what it costs to eat out or eat conventionally much of the time.

IF especially makes ZC economical for me. However, I want to encourage people it is quite possible to eat healthy without spending hundreds of dollars a week. I eat to hunger, so we will see how quickly I go through it. It may be gone in 1-2 weeks. Maybe not. This is all high quality protein I am eating. I am single, so having a family changes this dynamic, of course!

My next plan is to seek out local hunters and get wild game meat and offal, hopefully (livers and hearts particularly).

(Arlene) #2

I agree with you that meat can be very economical. It just takes the desire and energy to go through the steps, like you did. I enjoy gardening. Cows, pigs, and chickens love anything from the garden, then I milk the cow and the pigs and chickens get her skim milk, while I steal her cream. The chickens love to pick through everything the cows leave behind (literally), and I eat the amazing chicken eggs. When all is said and done, animals are butchered and I render fats, make healthy bacon, and fill our freezers. As far as I’m concerned, eating meat and other animal products is extremely economical. This does take time, energy, and hard work. I realize this farming life isn’t for everyone, I feel hugely blessed to get to live this way.

(Alex Dipego) #3

Ever since I went ZC I don’t eat huge calories anymore.

I used to push 3000+ and now? I’m grabbing 1500-1700 worth of meat. A lb of fatty meat, some eggs and I’m good to go, it’s funny really. But it puts me in this position where I know I’ll eat once a day. Which means if I want to be on save money mode I can cut my grocery bill to about $150 a month. $5 meals a day. Meat that’s on sale, eggs, butter and occasionally I’ll get an herb.

(Sondra Rose) #4

And for those like me who are into minimalist cooking, the Costco frozen hamburger patties make life really easy. I buy the organic at $4 a pound, so not even the cheapest option. They are 1/3 pound burgers. I eat about a pound or less of meat a day.

Add a couple dozen pastured eggs a month, plus a pound of Applegate bacon and I could theoretically spend $160 month to meet my dietary needs without lots of time in the kitchen.

(Dustin Cade) #5

The best way to be a savvy shopper is know the stores in your area, also compare with Amazon/Jet… don’t be loyal to a store, shop for the best prices, over the last few days I’ve been to Meijer, Kroger, Walmart (2 separate locations) fresh thyme, trader Joe’s, & Whole Foods… If budget is really tight look at “normal” options so the store brand butter vs Kerrygold… that sort of thing… can also use Sams or Costco but keep in mind cost per ounce, pound, item… use your calculator if need be, the bulk size isn’t always the best value, sometimes buying 2 of the normal size of something is more cost effective…