Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Finding affordable meat for keto

Lately, as you may have noticed, I've been trying to figure out ways to eat well while spending as little as possible.  I'm convinced there have to be creative ways to create meals that basically everyone is able to afford, and still enjoy the benefits of maintaining keto eating principles.
It's easy to overlook important factors when pricing meat.  For example, most people believe it's always cheaper to buy the whole chicken instead of buying a boneless, skinless chicken breast.  While I'd agree that sometimes that's true, often a boneless chicken breast will be the better value.  There's a great article that covers the true cost of several different meat options.  In that article, the author concludes that a whole chicken's true cost, without bones, is 1.76 times the price you pay at checkout.  If you remove the skin as well as the bones, it jumps to 2.39x your purchase price.  That means, if we take a whole chicken priced at $1.49 per pound, the real price we're paying is actually $2.62/lb for boneless, or $3.56/lb for boneless and skinless.  Last week, my local grocer was carrying boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for $1.98/lb, which is a dramatic 45% discount over what the whole chicken in this example provides.

This evening, I went to two stores to look around and see what sort of deals I could find.  While none of the sales were noteworthy, it was fun to look around and I did find something new to me; a stew chicken for only $1.19/lb.  I'm hoping this will work well in a crockpot soup or maybe just for a broth.  I'll come up with a recipe and keep this blog updated with my findings.





One last thing to note is when you have a bone-in chicken costing roughly the same as a boneless piece.  For example, I just finished looking through the weekly ads for two grocers that I didn't visit today and I see one store has boneless skinless chicken breast for $2.29/lb and the other store has whole chickens for $0.99/lb.  Using the above numbers, we know whole chickens are about 2.39x the price if we don't eat bones and skin.  Using that calculation, the whole chicken and the boneless breast are within 3% of each other in price.  For me, I treat these as equal numbers and it comes down to what do I want to make with the chicken.  If I'm going to be stir frying something, or if I want to make some pork rind 'breaded' chicken tenders, I'll go with the boneless breast.  If I want to make a soup, or if I want to make a twist on classic fried chicken, substituting coconut flour, I'll prefer to buy the whole chicken.

Don't be afraid to get lost in the store and look at stuff you may otherwise never see.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had fun reading labels and seeing what my local stores have available.  I usually know what I'm going to shop for, so I very rarely visit more than the fresh produce and fresh meat sections.  Of course, I found this frozen stew hen in a section I never visit, near the frozen vegetarian/natural foods.  Like Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."  Take a shot at finding something new.  What's the worse that could happen?


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