Inflation strikes again – this time setting its sights on Australia’s favourite meat: chicken. Supermarket chooks, fast-food meals and restaurants are all set to raise their prices –here’s why and what to put on your plate instead.
Adding to already high meat prices and with inflation at its highest in 20 years, chicken producers warn the worst isn’t over – it’s just beginning. One of our largest producers, Inghams, has revealed they’ll have to bump up costs – this retailer supplies chicken to the big players like McDonald’s, which comes as bad news for chicken nugget lovers.
This comes as a surprise to shoppers, considering Aussie chicken is usually the most affordable meat available, but a number of factors are turning the table on this expectation. These factors include:
- A wheat shortage caused by the war in Ukraine
- Cost of feed used for chickens rose over 45 million dollars
- Labour shortages and flooding
Freezing your store-bought chicken is one of the easiest ways to extend its use and make your dollar go further. It’s especially useful when you know you won’t be using a lot in one meal, but don’t want to throw money down the drain. But even with these storage techniques, it can still be hard to justify those prices – and with meat prices up by 10% from last year, chicken’s not the only meat shoppers are struggling to afford – with many choosing to keep chickens off their plates altogether.
If you’re pinching pennies given the current financial climate, there are a few simple swaps you can make to ensure you’re getting your fix of those high-protein, satisfying foods – minus the hefty price tag.
What to eat instead.
We’ve collated a few highly nutritious and satiating options to load up on while chicken prices soar through the roof. These are cheap, accessible and tasty alternatives which add density and flavour to your meals. Of course, they’re not nutritionally identical – chicken has more B6 and vitamin B12 than the below foods, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting these nutrients elsewhere in your diet, for instance in eggs, nutritional yeast, fermented foods or cheese.
Legumes: High in iron and protein, these hearty powerhouses make the perfect addition to any meal, from curried chickpeas to lentil soup or a kidney bean chilli. They’re satiating, easy to season and have a competitive nutritional profile, beating out chicken for fibre content. They’re also better for your gut and a good source of complex carbs – these are less likely to spike blood sugar, and they provide more stable energy. This is because they take longer to digest, which balances blood sugars and keeps you fuller for longer.
Tofu: With a similar consistency to chicken, a strong protein profile and cooking versatility, tofu makes for an exceptional substitute. Some brands of tofu may even pack as much calcium as a glass of milk. You can make roast tofu, fried tofu, stir fries or even replicate your favourite chicken nuggets.
Seitan: Seitan is a satisfying, nutritious food with a meaty texture – it’s also high in protein, iron and calcium. It’s low in calories and fat, yet still makes for a filling meal. It also happens to have incredibly few ingredients, meaning you can make it yourself and save even more money. The 2 ingredients you’ll need? Flour and water. Yep, that’s all – try it for yourself.
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