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Posted: February 10, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Eating healthy on a budget

As the economic crisis continues, Americans continue to closely watch their budgets, including what they spend on groceries. Farm Bureau is helping consumers become more aware of how to stretch their grocery dollars during Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 21-27.

Eating healthy food within a budget does require smart shopping, but the good news is that, according to a recent study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of eating healthy hasn’t changed as much as the cost of less-healthy alternatives. A March 2008 USDA report 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.

“It’s important to use your grocery dollars wisely to ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” said Nancy Mitcham Women’s Committee Chairman, Newton County Farm Bureau. “Knowing your food budget, planning balanced meals, making a list and shopping at competitively priced grocery stores are just a few strategies dieticians recommend to achieve better nutrition with less money.”

A healthy diet includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts within daily calorie needs. Anyone interested in learning more about making healthy food choices should visit www.mypyramid.gov to consult the USDA food guidance system.

To celebrate our country’s safe and abundant food supply, Newton County Farm Bureau is participating in a statewide Food Check-Out Week event. From Feb. 22-26, Newton County Farm Bureau will be accepting cash donations to assist the hungry in our county and to provide food assistance for the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta.

“As we celebrate the efficiency and productivity of our farmers in Georgia and the United States, we want to share that bounty with others less fortunate in our community and be a part of the statewide effort to provide assistance for one of the Ronald McDonald Houses in Georgia,” said Mitcham. “With the current economic situation, we realize our local food bank is experiencing an increased demand for its services, and so we are asking our local community to join us in collecting donations for the food bank and to help feed families experiencing a health crisis.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation of nonperishable food items is welcome to do so by visiting the Newton County Farm Bureau office at 10386 Highway 278, Covington, Ga. 30014.

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