Arizona Farm Bureau Announces Food Check Out Week

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.

Arizona 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. Additionally, certain fresh fruits and vegetables have actually gone down in price over the last 25 years compared to the more expensive processed foods.

Arizona Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping Arizona families 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 Sharla Mortimer, Arizona Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee Chair and rancher from Yavapai County.

“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 Mortimer.

“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 Mortimer.

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 farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent (2009) 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.

About the Arizona Farm Bureau:

The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services. Go to www.azfb.org to learn more. To obtain “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and nutrition information go to www.fillyourplate.org. As a member services organization, individuals can become a member by contacting the Farm Bureau.

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About Fill Your Plate

Julie Murphree brings more than 20 years' experience in messaging, content and marketing development and management working with traditional and new media to tell Arizona agriculture’s story. That story began with Fresh Air; her book published in 2006, but continues through her efforts with Arizona Farm Bureau.
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