Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food News

Nutritious Meals the Focus of Food Check-Out Week

Washington--Farmer and rancher members of many local Farm Bureaus reached out to consumers with practical information and tips on how to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars during bad economic times.

“Stretching Your Grocery Dollar with Healthy, Nutritious Food,” the new official theme of Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, reflects the fact that many Americans are feeling an economic squeeze and, as a result, are eating out less and preparing more meals at home.

“Public health experts are concerned that today’s tough economic times could lead consumers, many of whom are already overweight, to cut costs by buying less nutritious foods that lack important vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients,” said Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee.

Tips for better nutrition on a stretched budget, making sense of food labels and understanding USDA’s My Pyramid are among the topics Farm Bureau members talked about with consumers.

Gilbert and members of the national committee coordinated pilot consumer grocery store tours with tasting stations in Phoenix and Louisville. Led by a registered dietician, consumers walked store aisles learning about foods that can help them achieve healthier nutrition on a tight budget.

Themed tasting stations (whole grains, dairy/eggs, produce) staffed by committee members provided shoppers with the opportunity to sample various foods and ask questions. After completing the tour, consumers received a grocery shopping guide with information on how to make wise shopping decisions to stretch their food dollars. Pull-out cards in the guide provided concise, practical tips on stocking your pantry, refrigerator, freezer and seasoning shelf.

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