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Stretch your food dollars by the Farm Bureau

Farmers and ranchers helping consumers learn how to stretch your grocery dollars and eat healthy, too. During this time of economic squeeze is it possible to feed your family healthy, nutritious meals and still stay within your budget?

Farmers and ranchers throughout Utah are reaching out to consumers in their communities this week and offering tips on how consumers can stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. During this week, County Farm Bureaus throughout Utah plan to make a special effort to reach out to consumers in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock they raise. Additionally, the Utah Farm Bureau State Womens Committee recently donated $600 to the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City, recognizing the need everyone has to find solutions to feeding families healthful foods on a tight budget. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in the Salt Lake City area. The money will be used to help feed families staying at the house.

The movement highlights the safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible largely by Americas productive farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent information from the USDAs Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, about 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

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 a USDA 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.

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 Marlene Israelsen, a registered dietitian and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences department at Utah State University.

Utah'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 said Belva Parr, chair of the Utah Farm Bureau Womens Committee. 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.

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March 5, 2013
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