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Healthy Eating on a Budget

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June 12, 2019

Announcer: Farm And Family, is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about eating healthy on a budget. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm And Family. Today we're speaking with Carley Markham, dietetic intern at Mississippi State University. Carley, what makes you so passionate about eating healthy on a budget? Could you tell me more about that?

Carley Markham: I would love to. As a dietetic intern in training to become a registered dietitian, with an undergraduate degree in nutrition, I'm very passionate about how diet affects our health. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean meat is like medicine to our bodies. Most people seem to believe that they cannot eat a healthy diet because it is too expensive, however, this is not the case.

Amy Myers: I can certainly see that you are very passionate about nutrition. Tell me more specifically about what our listeners can do to help save money at the grocery store.

Carley Markham: The first step to saving money is planning. Planning before going to the grocery store is essential to getting healthy food without breaking the bank. You should first take inventory of what food is in your pantry. Next, listeners should review the in season fruits and vegetables. Buying in season will save money because produce is usually grown locally, and there's no added costs for shipping. Listeners should also clip coupons, and check the store of ad for sales and specials. The final step to planning is developing a shopping list and sticking to it. At the grocery store, you may be tempted to purchase unnecessary items which can drive up the grocery bill, therefore it is best to stick to a shopping list.

Amy Myers: Are there any certain areas of the grocery store that shoppers should purchase from?

Carley Markham: Yes, I'm glad you asked. As a rule of thumb, it's best to shop the outer aisles of a grocery store. On the outer aisles, you would typically find fresh produce, meat, seafood, dairy and frozen fruits and vegetables. These items have far less sodium and preservatives which are not good for our bodies in excess. However, if you do have to shop in the canned aisles, look products that have reduced sodium or no salt added on the label.

Amy Myers: Okay, what a great tip. Are there any other ways our listeners can save money?

Carley Markham: Yes another great way to save money when grocery shopping is to buy the store brand when available. Buying the store brand can save you anywhere from 25 cents to $2 on some occasions. If you are hesitant to try the store brand, take a blind taste test to help determine if you can even tell the difference. Most of the time, you won't notice a difference.

Amy Myers: I've heard that, we should also check the bottom shelf for less expensive items because a lot of times the higher price brand items are actually at eye level on the shelves because that's the store's way of getting customers to see it first. Is it true that we should look down if we want to find lower prices?

Carley Markham: Yes, sometimes this is true, however, this is not always true for all grocery stores. Sometimes the higher price item can be right next to a lower price item.

Amy Myers: Carley, what are your thoughts on buying in bulk, does that help?

Carley Markham: Yes. Buying in bulk actually can save you a lot of money on essential items that you need every day. The best way to save when buying as bulk is to compare the unit prices on the price tag, and you should always choose the lower unit price.

Amy Myers: Okay, and that's especially good for non-perishable items. Of course, we probably should be careful about buying in bulk if it's a perishable item-

Carley Markham: Yes, that's right.

Amy Myers: What about shopping online, like groceries online? I know places like have paper goods, all necessities that you can get online that you can save with, which also lower your grocery bill overall, what are your thoughts on that?

Carley Markham: That's a great way to save money because you can buy things like toilet paper or paper towels, stuff like that, and it'll help you reduce your grocery bill in the long run.

Amy Myers: What about apps like, smartphone apps, are there any coupon apps that we can download?

Carley Markham: Yeah, there are a ton of coupon apps on the App Store and they are great for saving money on everyday items. It's a lot easier and more convenient for buyers to clip coupons on their phone because they don't have to spend time getting the scissors out, and cutting the coupons, and making sure they have them when they go to the store, it's just a lot easier in there on the phone, ready to go.

Amy Myers: I understand Kroger has a Kroger Plus Card where you can get the Manager Coupons, and that can really cut your bill down. And, of course, other stores do have similar reward programs, how do these work?

Carley Markham: Once you become a member, you can save on special items that they have running like weekly or monthly, and it's a great way to save money.

Amy Myers: And it also saves on gas too, is that correct?

Carley Markham: Yes, that's correct, which is a great plus.

Amy Myers: Do these cost any money to be members of?

Carley Markham: No. They're free to the public.

Amy Myers: Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

Carley Markham: Just remember to plan ahead, shop the outer aisles, and buy store brands when possible.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Carley Markham, dietetic intern. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm And Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm And Family, is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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