How to stretch your food budget - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How to stretch your food budget


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - The Iowa Department of Human Services is reporting that the number of Iowans on food assistance is rising, and in harsh economic times, it's important to know how to stretch money on a limited budget.

"The numbers have been going up steadily for the past five years really," says Roger Munns, Public Information Officer. He says many people on fixed food budgets tend to purchase pre-made or easy meals. But those products tend to be high in sodium and fats. Pound-for-pound, they usually also cost more than fresh foods, which dietician Amy A'Hearn says should make up the bulk of your shopping cart. She says it's about going back to the basics of the food pyramid.

"Your fruits, your vegetables, your greens, your meat and beans, and also your dairy," says A'Hearn. She says it's a common misconception that fresh produce and other foods are more expensive than something that comes prewrapped. But that's where closely examining price cersus portion pays off.

"If you would price out and compare a candy bar versus a banana, your banana's going to be cheaper," she tells us. And she adds, savvy shopping is key.

"Choosing fruits and vegetables that are in-season will help to decrease the price. Also, staying away from the ones that are pre-packaged or pre-bagged, because they tend to be a little more expensive and spoil faster. Buying in bulk will also help decrease the price."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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