Oats or Breadcrumbs

Depending on your region, ground beef could be expensive. But it’s actually an extremely versatile ingredient and can be stretched in tasty (and healthy) ways! If you are making meatballs, oats or breadcrumbs are great fillers. Just be careful with using too much breadcrumbs, as it can dry out the meatballs. You can also add either oats or breadcrumbs to meatloaf, or burger patties.

Grated Vegetables

When making bolognaise sauce, grated vegetables are super useful. Not only do they stretch your meat, but it’s a great way to add veggies to your dish. This works especially great if you have picky eaters! Feel free to add them to whatever dish you are making, but they work especially great in pasta sauces, casseroles, and stews. You can also use grated vegetables (such as zucchini) in burger patties.

Canned Beans

Canned beans are inexpensive, and a great product to stock in your pantry. Because they are high in protein and vitamins, they make a great filler for stews or chilies. They soak up the meatiness in your dish, making them more flavorsome – and you won’t feel like you are eating less meat! You can use canned chickpeas or lentils in the same way.


Potatoes are great on their own, but their starchiness makes them useful for stretching stews. Unlike many foods which are high in carbohydrates, potatoes are very filling, so they make a great choice to feed a family.


Soups should get a lot more attention. They’re healthy, cheap to make, and the flavor combinations are endless. It’s also a great way to make a little meat go very far. Make a beef and vegetable soup, or take a step further and add barley! Nutritious, delicious, and affordable!


Not necessarily the healthiest, but if you have mouths to feed, this option is great. Besides the popular dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise or baked ziti, you can also add pasta to your casseroles. Think of a delicious baked chicken penne, or tuna pasta casserole. Remember to add lots of veggies!

What are your tips to stretch meat? Tell us in the comments below!