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Shopping Trip to the Grocery Store

The parents at Gulfside Elementary had the opportunity to go on a grocery store tour this week after recently doing a trip for Lacoochee Elementary. One of the fun things about the tours is that, at the end, after going through all the five food groups on MyPlate (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy), the participants receive a ten dollar gift card at the end to apply what they just learned by buying a full meal with all five food groups for ten dollars or less (called the $10 Challenge). Here are some tips to remember when thinking of buying a healthy meal to cook at home: not all produce has to be fresh; frozen and canned fruits and vegetables count towards our daily produce intake and can be cheaper than the fresh if the item you want isn’t in season. If you’re not sure if a fruit or vegetable is in season, look at the bins in the front of the store, as those are usually the ones that are on sale because they are in season. Also, chopping the food yourself (such as produce or cheese) will save you money. Shredded cheese or shredded lettuces are usually more money because you are paying for the labor. Another great way to save money is to simply look at the sale items. Stores should have a weekly ad at the entrance that will list what items are on sale or are buy one get one free. This week at the particular store, many parents bought spaghetti for their grain item on the $10 Challenge because it was buy one get one free (and some listened to our health tips and even went for whole grain spaghetti!). Most of the participants were right around $10 total for their complete meal, and learned a lot about healthy eating on a budget. If you are interested in having the Family Nutrition Program conduct a grocery store tour for a group in a limited-resource area of Pasco County, please email Shari at Sbresin@ufl.edu to find out more.

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