Have you heard about the national meat shortage that is coming our way? With meat processing plants shutting down and farmers euthanizing animals that they can no longer sell, it is all very sad.
The news is now warning us that we may not be able to find meat in our local supermarket refrigerated cases.
But it’s not all doom and gloom!
Here is the good news! Part of eating clean is knowing where your food comes from. That means shopping local and buying from farms when possible. And the internet makes it possible for anyone, whether you are sitting in your loft in the middle of the city, or in a small rural home with limited access to stores.
We have had 10+ years of sourcing meat, and I am going to share our tips, because we are all in this together! Here is how we are preparing for a meat shortage in our home (and it’s easier than you think!)
Option #1: Buy Your Meat From Farmers Online
With a background in finance, I have inside knowledge of just how hard it is for some farmers to make a living. I’m not talking about Tyson farmers or other large industrial farms, but the small farmers who truly care about their animals and try to raise them with no hormones, antibiotics or fillers. Their margins are small and many times they are at the mercy of the larger meat processors.
That is one reason why I advocate buying directly from farmers whenever possible.
However, I have also lived in downtown Seattle for over 10 years, so I know how difficult it can be to find affordable, sustainable grass-fed beef. And, when you have a family of 4 that can eat a lot of meat, it really does need to be affordable.
Where To Buy Affordable Grass Fed Beef & Chicken
- Your local Farmer – Many local farmers sell cows by the 1/4, 1/2 or a whole cow. If you are concerned about the welfare of the animal, take a day drive to a local farm and check out the farm for yourself. Do the animals look happy and healthy? Is there lots of green grass for them to graze and rotate through? It is a large up front cost but if you eat a lot of meat, it might make sense for your family. You can find a local farm HERE
Just make sure you have the freezer space first!
- Online Meat Services – Hands down, Crowd Cow is my favorite online store. You can choose what farm you want to purchase from and buy only the cuts of beef that you really want. Don’t forget to add some soup or marrow bones for delicious homemade broth! They also have pasture-raised chicken! Crowd Cow is my favorite (use this link for $25 off your first box), but you can also try Butcher Box, Farm Foods Market or Grassland Beef
Here is one of my recent orders from Crowd Cow. You can see that the prices are higher than conventional meat but not by too much!
- Farmers Markets – Farmers markets are a great place to buy meat but you need to go early to get the best selection (you don’t want to be stuck with all the expensive cuts of meat!) Farmers markets may be closed right now, but find their vendors online (they should be listed on the farmers market website) and contact them directly. Some are offering pickups or deliveries.
2) Buy Canned Tuna, Salmon and Chicken
If I were to send you to the store to buy some meat for dinner, chances are that you would either head straight to the fresh meat department, or down the frozen aisle.
But would you think to head down one of the center aisles? The one with canned tuna, salmon and chicken? Canned protein can go a long way. And while it may not look super appetizing, it can be delicious!
It’s also a lot cheaper than fresh so if you are on a budget, incorporate it into the rotation once a week.
Here is an example of prices:
This tuna salad recipe is a favorite around our house and makes a filling meal. Also try tuna or salmon patties, sardines and noodles or chicken casseroles. I’ll share some of these on my facebook page so be sure to join us!
#3 Buy Other Proteins
There are so many other foods that are high in protein. Just think about all the foods you eat every day that you enjoy at restaurants or at home. Some may not be ideal, but they work. And some, like peanut butter, may already be a favorite in your house.
Here are just a few sources of protein other than meat:
#4 Incorporate Plant-Based Meals Once Or Twice A Week
Plant-based meals are everywhere these days and not all of them are kid-friendly. We tried a subscription to a couple of different plant-based food delivery services and I just couldn’t get on board with the meals…every dish contained some kind of shredded vegetable topped with a peanut-based sauce and after a few days I just needed a different texture!
However, there are some homemade plant-based meal recipes that are delicious! Check out my post with the Top 24 Kid-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes (Also check out my Pinterest board for Kid Friendly Plant Based Meal Ideas)
Do you ever feel like you need a break from meat for a day? Maybe you’ve been eating out too much, or you just had a huge lunch and want something light for dinner. Plant-based meals are a lifesaver for times like these. They are light, healthy and still keep you from going to bed hungry!
#5 Eat More Eggs
When it comes to conventional farming, egg chickens are different from meat chickens. Even if there is a shortage in the meat supply chain, we should still be able to get eggs.
If you have a neighbor who sells eggs…even better! You will be able to get a first-hand experience of how those chickens are being treated, what they are eating, and how the eggs are being handled after harvesting. At the same time, you help to put some money in your neighbors pocket!
Eggs are a great source of protein and can be used in all kinds of dishes! From breakfast to dinner, to dessert! When we are running low on eggs, I will use a flax egg (1 Tbsp Flax to 3 Tbsp water) for baking and save the eggs for meals.
You can buy them in bulk and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 weeks.
Prepping The Pantry And Freezer For Meat Shortages
If Covid-19 has taught us anything when it comes to food, it is that at the first sign of disruption in our food chain, people will panic and clear the supermarket shelves.
We have learned that we need to be more self-sufficient, and while that doesn’t mean growing or raising everything we eat, being more mindful of where our food comes from is more important than many realized.
What are you doing to prepare? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!