Selection and Preparation of Foods Management of the Food Budget*

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1 Selection and Preparation of Foods Management of the Food Budget* Healthy meals on a limited budget! How can you serve healthy meals on a limited budget? It takes some time and planning, but you and your family can eat better for less. This presentation can help you save money as you prepare healthy meals. It contains tips for planning, shopping, and cooking healthy meals on a tight budget. Re-published with permission from a presentation prepared by the Ogden-Weber CAP-Head Start, Ogden Weber Area Technical College, Dec. 16, 2009

2 WHY PLAN MEALS? 1. To help you and your family be healthier When you plan meals, you can ensure you include enough foods from each food group. Pay special attention to serving enough vegetables and fruits in each family meal. 2. To help you balance meals. If you are serving a food with a lot of fat or salt, you can accordingly plan low-fat or low-salt foods to accompany the entree. 3. To save money. If you plan before you go food shopping, you will know what you have on hand and what you need. Also, shopping from a list helps you avoid expensive "impulse" purchases. 4. To save time and effort. When you plan meals, you have a variety of foods on hand and tend to make fewer trips to the grocery store. Planning also helps you make good use of leftovers, which can cut your cooking time and food costs. Do "batch cooking" when your food budget and time allow, divide meals into family size portions, and freeze some for meals later in the month. Plan snacks that give your family the nutrients they need. For example, buy fresh fruits in season. TIPS FOR SHOPPING When your food budget allows, buy extra low-cost, nutritious foods like potatoes and frozen orange juice concentrate. These foods keep well. Compare the cost of convenience foods with the same foods made from scratch. "Convenience foods" are products like fancy baked goods, frozen meals, and vegetables with seasonings and sauces. Most of these cost more than similar foods prepared at home. Also, by making your food at home you can use less fat, sugar, and salt. WHILE YOU SHOP T ry store brands. They usually cost less than name brands, but they taste as good and generally have the same nutritional value. Prevent food waste Buy only the amount that your family will eat before the food spoils. Look for the unit price to compare similar foods. o It tells you the cost per ounce, pound, or pint, so you'll know which brand or size is the best to buy. HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET Many factors influence what people choose to eat, including what they like, what their family and friends eat and what is available. The cost of food can be a very important factor in food choice. When money is scarce, it may be that the amount spent on food is reduced first. People with low incomes often eat a narrower range of foods than people with higher incomes. This can affect the quality of their diet. The type of food bought varies with incomes: Spending on different varieties of food increases with income Households with the lowest incomes consume much less fruit and fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes), and less low-fat milk Households with lower incomes consume more cereal products, meat and meat products, but the amount spent on these is less: possibly because cheaper cuts of meat are bought

3 Households with lower incomes consume more fats, oils, and eggs Households with lower incomes tend to spend less on food and drink outside the home Households with higher incomes drink more coffee and alcohol in the home and those with lower incomes drink more tea LOW INCOME AND HEALTH Obesity, and illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, tend to be more common among low income groups. This is probably due to a variety of reasons. For example, this group is more likely to smoke cigarettes, which increases the risk of heart disease. Diet may also play a role. It has been suggested that the lower consumption of fruit and vegetables in low-income groups may be particularly important. COST OF A HEALTHY DIET People with lower or below-average incomes often mention cost as one of the reasons or barriers as to why they do not choose a healthier diet. However, cost-efficient and healthy must be planned carefully if they are to be balanced and affordable, but not monotonous or difficult to follow. : People on a limited food budget often eat fewer "healthier" foods such as wholemeal bread, lean meat, and fruit. The cost of fruits and vegetables is said to be particularly important. Lack of knowledge about these foods is not necessarily the problem. The key to healthy eating for all income groups is to increase consumption of basic food stuffs such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, etc. Money is not the only factor which affects the range of foods which people buy. Other factors which can affect diet on a low income include the following: Poor cooking facilities. Difficulty in traveling to cheaper out of town supermarket (e.g. cost and availability of transport) Increased use of local shops which often have less choice or are more expensive Concern that "healthier" choices will not be accepted by the family and will be wasted. STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE DIETS FOR PEOPLE WATCHING DOLLARS AND CENTS: 1. Provide advice about low-cost recipes, basic cooking skills and tips 2. Increase awareness of entitlement to benefits, e.g. free school meals 3. Establishing community 'co-operatives' for buying large amounts of staple foods and fruit and vegetables. 4. Provide practical dietary advice which can help people eat a balanced diet at little cost.

4 Menu Planning and Shopping Food Sense Nutrition Education Utah State University To save time and money, budget food dollars, plan menus and shop wisely Plan menus based on MyPyramid Use a shopping list to help stretch food dollars Read Nutrition Facts labels to help you get the best nutrition for your food dollars. Use unit pricing to compare the cost of different packages. Go directly home and store Mini-goals groceries properly BUDGET FOOD DOLLARS Decide how much you can spend on food each month. Include food stamps, WIC vouchers and money. Try using the envelope method so your food dollars will last through the entire month. Utah State University Extension. This material was funded by USDA's Food Stamp Program. The material was developed and written by Utah State University Extension by Kay Evans and Paula Scott, EFNEP Supervisors, edited/designed by Judy Wilde, EFNEP Support Staff and modified by Meagan Wade and Debra Christofferson, RD, for the Food Sense Nutrition Education Program. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture's policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion

5 MENU PLANNING TIPS Schedule time to plan Use MyPyramid as a guide Read ads for store specials Plan the evening meal first Use leftovers as planned-overs for lunch Plan a nutritious breakfast Include nutritious snacks Evaluate meals on flavor, texture, shape, color and temperature Prepare a shopping list Save your menus SHOPPING TIPS Shop once a week or less Use a shopping list Shop when the store is not crowded Leave children at home Do not shop when hungry Compare quality Read labels Compare prices Use coupons if they make the items you need cost less Buy in bulk for a lower price Replace staples when on sale Preparing a Budget + Planning Menus Consider unadvertised sale items Separate raw meats from fresh produce Get refrigerated and frozen foods last Watch for mistakes when checking out Go directly home and store foods properly + Shopping Wisely = Nutritious Low-Cost Meals

6 Food Sense Nutrition Education LABEL READING Reading food labels at the grocery store will help you make nutritious food choices. Nutrition Facts labels contain information on: Serving size Calories Fat and cholesterol Sodium Key nutrients, vitamins and minerals Percent of daily value Ingredients Calories per gram UNIT PRICING Comparing prices can help you save money, Many stores offer unit pricing. It tells you how much food costs per ounce or pound. Unit pricing stickers are usually displayed on the shelf below the food item. Which box of cereal is the best buy? Example: Snappy Rice Cereal Unit Price: 13.0 cents per ounce. Total Price: $2.29/18 oz. Example: Crackly Rice Cereal Unit Price: 16 cents per ounce. Total Price: $2.49/16 oz.

7 WEEKLY MENU PLANNER 1 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Breakfast Lunch Evening Meal Snacks

8 Fresh Fruits & Vegetables: Shopping List Milk, Cheese, Yogurt: Canned Fruits, Vegetables, Other Canned Goods: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Legumes, Eggs: Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta: Frozen Foods: Staples: Miscellaneous:

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