Holiday Budgeting: Making the Most of One Cut of Meat

Cent$ible Nutrition News • December  2021 • Volume 25 | Number 3

Price per pound, meat is usually the most expensive item on your holiday grocery list. As we sprint through the holiday season, hosting meals with family and friends can get expensive. Buying one large cut of meat, like a spiral cut ham, and making it stretch across multiple meals is a great way to cut down on costs.

Know Your Serving Sizes

A serving of meat for adults is 3 ounces. This is about the size of a deck of cards.  Protein sources are measured in 1-ounce equivalents. This includes 1 ounce of cooked lean beef, pork, chicken, or game meat, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds. Adults generally need 5–7-ounce equivalents of protein per day. Depending on your lifestyle, gender, and age, this means you may only need 2 servings of protein foods a day to “meat” your daily requirement. This means the ham you bought for a holiday dinner can easily be stretched into meals that last for the rest of the day, or over the course of a week.

Plan for Multiple Meals

When you are preparing for a holiday event, consider buying a larger cut of meat to use across several meals. Sauces, soups, casseroles, or enchiladas are some ways to make your meat source stretch further. You can save bones from the meat for soup stock or consider substituting a portion of the meat with things like rice, carrots, or cauliflower, or adding alternative proteins, like eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, or soy products. Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers and reheat them to 165°F.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Cent$ible Nutrition Program to you!

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December's Feature Recipe

Ham and potato soup in bowl

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup


  • 3 ½ cups potatoes, diced
  • ⅓ cup celery, diced
  • ⅓ cup onion, diced
  • ¾ cup ham, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • ½ cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds.
  2. Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, broth, and pepper in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then add the flour. Stir consistently until paste forms.
  4. Slowly add low-fat milk, whisking constantly until you have a smooth and thick sauce.
  5. Add cheese to the sauce in the saucepan and stir until melted.
  6. Add cheese sauce to the stockpot and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

* The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is funded by USDA SNAP-Ed and EFNEP. SNAP-Ed assists individuals and families who receive, or are eligible to receive, benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). EFNEP assists families and youth with limited resources  in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behaviors necessary for nutritionally sound diets and contributes to their personal development and the improvement of total family diet and nutritional welfare. Visit our income-qualification page to learn more. 

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program-EFNEP. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

The University of Wyoming is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

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