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You Can Stretch Your Grocery Dollars and Eat Healthy, Too

JACKSON – Concern about the cost of a healthy diet being out of reach remains on the minds of many Americans as the nation continues to work through serious economic woes. However, according to an Agriculture Department study, the cost of eating healthy hasn’t changed as much as some less-healthy alternatives. Eating healthy food while on a budget does require strategic shopping.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 20-26, 2011, focuses on helping Americans learn how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy and abundant food. And they share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget.

The good news is that a recent USDA report favorably supports the economics of healthier eating. Recent food price data show 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.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop strategically to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars. “Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” according to Betty Mills, Farm Bureau State Women’s Committee Chair.

“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 vegetable when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar,” says Mills.

Now in its 13th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America’s safe, abundant, and affordable food supply, made possible largely by America’s productive farms and ranchers. According to the most recent (2009) information from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, about 10% of their disposable income on food.

 

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The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization with more than 197,000 member-families statewide.  There are Farm Bureaus in all 82 counties in Mississippi where agriculture comprises a fundamental part of Mississippi 's economy.  Headquartered in Jackson , the federation is an independent, non-profit agricultural organization and is not associated with any arm of the government.  For more information about Farm Bureau, visit our website at www.msfb.com.

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