Eating Healthy on a Budget Calls for Strategic Shopping - Feb. 19, 2012
Laramie—Eating healthy while on a tight budget is within reach for most Americans, provided they’re willing to invest some time in strategic shopping. During Farm Bureau’s upcoming Food Check-Out Week (Feb. 19-25, 2012), farmer and rancher members will focus on spreading the word about how consumers can stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food.
Despite a recent uptick in retail food prices, the cost of eating healthy hasn’t changed as much as some less-healthy alternatives. In fact, a recent Agriculture Department report favorably supports the economics of healthier eating. Food price data shows that prices for unprepared, readily available fresh fruits and vegetables have remained stable relative to dessert and snack foods, such as chips, ice cream and cola. Therefore, as defined by foods in the study, the price of a “healthier” diet has not changed compared to an “unhealthy” diet.
America’s farmers and ranchers share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget.
“Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” according to Perry Livingston, Wyoming Farm Bureau President.
“Fruits and vegetables – along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts – are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it’s in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar,” says Livingston.
Farm Bureau has developed Food Check-Out Week educational materials dedicated to helping consumers make healthier food purchases. Information on several topics including “Tips for Better Nutrition on a Tight Budget,” “How Much Should I Eat?,” “Understanding Food Labels” and “Understanding What MyPlate Means” is available at wyfb.org.
“Knowing your food budget, planning balanced meals, making a list and sticking to it are just a few of the tips we offer consumers,” says Livingston.
This year several county Farm Bureaus are placing reusable grocery bags in local grocery stores. The bags have an agriculture message and will be distributed to grocery shoppers.
Now in its 14th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America’s safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible largely by America’s productive farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent (2010) information from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.