15 November 2004


Wholesomeness, quality, cost and convenience are all factors that you should take into account when buying meat.

Wholesomeness, quality, cost and convenience are all factors that you should take into account when buying meat.

What to look out for
It is important to buy meat from a sanitary meat department. Choose a meat department that has a neat and clean appearance with neatly dressed and well-groomed sales personnel.

In the hot summer months, visit the meat department last to ensure that the meat stays cold until you get home. Choose packages that are cold and tightly wrapped without tears or punctures.

The healthier option
Meat ranks highest in protein content among all foods, but is also high in saturated fat and should be incorporated into the diet with moderation. That means that you should eat beef less often and eat only small portions when you eat it.

Use meat substitutes for some meals, but try to eat at least one serving of meat, poultry or fish per day. Meat substitutes include eggs, dry beans, dry peas, peanut butter and cheese.

Each of the following foods provide more or less the same amount of protein as 30 g of meat:

  • ½ cup of legumes (dried beans, soybeans, peas)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of tofu (soybean curd)
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 30g-60g of seeds

Wise buys
More than one third of the money spent on food usually goes for meat, poultry and fish. To get the best quality meat for the best price, you should reconsider your buying practices.

Meat buying tips:

  • Look for specials at the meat counter. Sometimes chicken may be the best buy. At other times, the best buy may be ham, pork or beef.
  • Compare meats on a cost-per-serving basis, not cost per kilogram.
  • Select the cut and kind of meat, poultry and fish that gives the leanest meat for the money.
  • Plan meals ahead. For example, buy and stew more beef than you need for one meal. Freeze it to use later for the other dishes, salads or sandwiches. Use the broth for soup. Buy ham on special and use it for meals, casseroles or sandwiches; save the bone and drippings for soup or beans.
  • Buying extra meat to freeze when prices are attractive can be convenient and economical, but buying meat wholesale isn’t always wise as it can only be frozen for a period of three to six months.
  • Advertised prices for wholesale meat usually refer to total weight before it is cut into edible portions. Some studies estimate the cutting loss to be between 25 and 30 percent.
  • Always look for cuts with a relatively small amount of fat attached to the outside.
  • A whole roast usually costs less than one that is sliced.

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.