If you’ve ever seen Food Inc or similar documentaries, it’s easy to be afraid of meat. Pumped up with antibiotics, slaughtered while sick, fed Skittles, genetically bred to the lowest common denominator…yuck, right?

Healthy Meat-Buying Options

If you’re trying to eat clean on a budget, these are your meat-buying options: Find a local farmer and join a CSA or local buyer pickup; go to a farmer’s market and buy direct from farmers; find a butcher shop that sells meat from local farmers; buy at a grocery store chain like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Kroger, and ALDI that have some healthier options; buy from another grocery store chain that carries organic meats. Last option: Hunt or raise your own animals.

In an ideal world (read: cash-flush world), we prefer to spend our money on the best possible sources for meat, such as pastured chicken and grass-fed beef from a farmer we know, and wild-caught cold-water fish from someone who actually took them out of the water (or knows who did). But we don’t always have that kind of cash. So what do we do?

Our Favorite Cheap Healthy Meat

Trader Joes Organic Free Range ChickenFor us, our best option is getting meat from our local farmers when we can (and we still get grass-fed beef from a farmer rather than a store since the integrity of that term is no longer enforced), but we also compromise. So what is our favorite cheap healthy meat? When $4-5/lb for pastured chicken from the farmer is too tight for our budget, we choose the lowest priced, highest quality meat option from Trader Joes: Their $1.99/lb organic chicken legs. We don’t use the bones for broth, though. For that, we’ll opt for the $4-5/lb whole pastured chicken fryers and try to stretch it for as many meals as possible before using the bones for stock.

That’s what we do, now do us a favor and tell us your best source for high-quality meats on a budget!

How to eat clean on a budget: Cheap healthy meat for the dollar