Every Day

Monday: Let’s Talk About Protein Today

What is the most expensive foods we buy these days? If you said meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, you would be right. Proteins are so necessary for the Keto diet so that is why I am always looking for them on a great sale or at a reduced price.

I told you a couple of days ago that I organized my kitchen freezer drawers. They had gotten out of control. Something had gotten stuck in the bottom one so I had to empty the top one to be able to take some things out of the bottom to be able to open it.

The top drawer is above. I have a lot of steak, roasts, and a big bag of meatballs on the left hand side. The right side is full of hamburger, pepperoni, ground turkey, and many pork products: cooked ham packets, pork chops, a pork tenderloin, and sausages, both ground and links. There is also a small container of leftover glaze for the ham pieces. The steaks get eaten just as they are. The roasts get used for pot roast meals that I make in the crock pot or ground for hamburger. I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the grinder attachment. When I can get roasts or a brisket cheaper than hamburger, that is when I grind my own. The meatballs get used in a myriad of ways: for spaghetti, for lasagna, or just eaten with some kind of sauce, etc. The meat in my kitchen freezer drawers gets eaten first before I dig into the chest freezer. There is only one exception and that is my turkeys. They are in the chest freezer and I will take one out when we are craving turkey. That will happen later this week. When the kitchen drawers start to get empty, I move a few weeks of proteins from the chest freezer to them. We always eat from these drawers first so I don’t have to worry about freezer burn.

This is the bottom drawer. On the left are a lot of frozen vegetables and 1 large bag of strawberries for desserts, and a lone bag of tortellini which will get used up soon in soup. On the right side is more ground turkey, some reduced price seasoned steak burgers and ground turkey(overflow from the first drawer so they don’t get stuck again), chicken breasts, a large bag of blueberries that need to get used in muffins, pancakes, or waffles, many packages of haddock, and an ice pack.

I have been shopping for so many years now that I pretty much know when some kind of protein is at a rock bottom price. Eggs haven’t been at rock bottom for about a year. The only thing I have been able to do on those is look for the best price when I shop and then I buy in quantity. I used to buy the 60 count at Walmart but I haven’t seen a good price in months. I also freeze eggs. Matter of fact, when I was cleaning out these drawers, I found a bunch of frozen ones. I have many in the chest freezer so I have decided to use these up. They are now thawed and will be eaten with the bacon I cooked yesterday for breakfasts this week. I don’t like to keep eggs frozen more than 3 months so I am always replacing the ones in both freezers.

January is always a good month to buy chicken. They go on sale because everyone is on diets. The same goes for fish. I have seen chicken breasts this month for $ 1.99 a lb., chicken thighs and whole chickens for $ .99 a lb., and chicken drumsticks for $ .79 a lb. When I am low on chicken, I have been known to buy 80-100 lbs. at these prices. Right now, I have plenty of chicken. Both shrimp and fish is also down in price. I have plenty of haddock from the last sale and I have been picking up shrimp here and there the last couple of months since the price went down.

The next month that you will see a good sale on steaks may be for Valentine’s Day. If you can find a great sale on a whole ribeye roast or a whole tenderloin that is the time to buy it and cut your own steaks. St. Patrick’s Day will bring a sale on corned beef. Pork is usually the cheapest from February to April but I have seen cheap prices for pork almost all of 2022. Easter will be hams and possibly turkey breasts. Then for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day you will see hamburgers and hot dogs on a great sale along with steaks. Lastly, you will see great prices for turkeys and hams for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The best prices you will get will be these times so stock up when that happens. That way you always have the cheapest meat and you won’t have to buy it until it goes on sale again.

I took some of the pork chops out of the freezer drawers to cook in the crock pot today. These pork chops were on sale a few months ago so I bought a bunch. They were tough when we cooked them in the toaster oven or air fryer. So cooking them in the crock pot with some kind of sauce will tenderize them and make them edible.

Many of you are able to get reduced price meat that is coming up to it’s sell buy date. I rarely am able to find any which makes me wonder if my stores are repackaging it. That is a scary thought! But for those of you with Kroger stores or other stores that do this, it is a great way to save money. If you use it or freeze it right away, it should be just fine. I have only once gotten bad meat on reduced price.

I saved the best for last. Use your proteins in proper portions. That will save you the most amount of money for a meal.

How do you save on buying meat, poultry, fish, and eggs these days? We would all love to see your tips in the comments.

14 replies on “Monday: Let’s Talk About Protein Today”

Hi Precious. Great post. Loved that you mentioned the sale cycle for the different meats. One thing I would add is that in the summer, pork ribs are on sale a lot if you like them. And so are the big pork roasts to make BBQ. I think it is b/c a lot of folks use their grills and smokers in the summer.

As you and your readers know, we are fortunate to be able to buy shares of cows and pigs from hubby’s coworkers or their families. So I don’t have to buy too much marked down pork or beef. I always look, though.

Another thing I thought of was how beans and rice/cornbread are a complete protein. But I am not sure if they are Keto? We try to have them regularly in the winter. They are so good on a cold day.

Egg prices are crazy right now. One thing I thought of was that they should be on a good sale a week or 2 before Easter, so maybe stock up then. Lent is also coming, and so fish, canned tuna/salmon, etc should be on sale. I always stock up on tuna for the year then. Except last year with the supply chain I couldn’t find a good sale. Hoping this year there will be one.

Hi Chris,

Thanks! I am glad you mentioned the ribs. I didn’t think to mention them because we don’t like them. But I will bet a lot of my readers do. Pork butts have gone really high here. I will look over the summer.
You are very lucky to have a source for beef and pork. They are not on Keto but if we run out of food we will eat them. They are full of protein!

I am waiting to see if they go on sale before Easter. I don’t know with the government killing off so many chickens again. if they are, I will be stocking up. You are so right about Lent! Thanks from me and my readers. Lets hope they have some good sales then.

My husband eats a Keto diet due to a food allergy (he’s allergic to nickel, which is in basically every grain & most fruits). As a result, we buy a lot of protein as well. He eats a ton of salad to bulk up his meals, as well as nuts. Nuts aren’t cheap at all, but we buy them when on sale at Costco (rarely, but it happens) in bulk.

I find that my grocery store just has to do tiny markdowns in order to sell their meat. So, let’s say they used to do $5 off of a $7 package, the day before the best buy, now they will do $2 off the package, and it will sell. People are so much more price conscious, that they will be thrilled, even with a tiny discount.

Have you tried “Healthy Noodles”? You can buy them much cheaper than this link, so don’t let that deter you, but they are really great as an alternative for noodles. He likes them with spaghetti sauce, or with Asian style meals. I just bought a 4 pack at Costco for $10, so not quite as cheap as pasta, but close. You store them in the fridge.

Hi HP,

I am also allergic to nickel. We do bulk up our meals with salads and vegetables. I buy nuts for Hubby. They bother my stomach. Our markdowns when I see them are not very good either. Mine are like yours- just a little bit off.

I had never heard of these noodles. We will try them. Thanks!

Sorry, one other idea, have you considered edamame as another protein option? It’s high in protein, reasonably low in carbs & we have it in salads for additional protein.

May be worth trying as another cheap protein option. You can buy them in the frozen section. I like the Trader Joes shell variety, but you can also find them pretty much anywhere. They do need seasoning with them – salt for sure!

I just ordered a 40 pound box of boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.69 a pound from a local meat supplier. They have this sale 2 times a year usually. I will see how long it lasts with my family of 5 (2 Adults, a 16 yr old girl, 13 yr old boy and a 10 yr old boy– the boys eat a ton!). I haven’t seen chicken breast for less than $2.79 here lately. I always peruse the meats when I stop in a store even if it is not on my list to see if anything is on sale. Sometimes I luck out. The other day I stopped into Walmart for a pair of tennis shoes for my 13 year old and went by the meat aisle and found 3- 2.5 pound packs of angus ground beef marked down to 4.30 a pack (More than half off). I bought all 3 packs they had marked down. It went straight into my freezer when I got home. I need to find a source for fish that isn’t so expensive.

Hi Rachel,

That is a fantastic price for chicken breasts. If I had the room, I would be ordering them also. I bet the boys do eat a ton.Mine always did. Our best price lately has been $ 1.99 and I think I have only seen that twice since prices went up. That was a great deal on the ground beef too. I find that the frozen fish is less expensive than the fresh fish.

Egg prices are insane. The best deal in my area is at Kroger, even better than Walmart, BJ’s, or ALDI, which surprised me. Sometimes I get paper coupons for Kroger eggs, which also helps. It’s a good reminder for me to shop around and not assume any one store is the cheapest.

I have a similar process with moving food from my deep freeze to my kitchen freezer so I remember to use it. I definitely want to avoid freezer burn. Food is too expensive these days to waste!

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