Oklahoma rural women promote healthy lifestyles during national event
Oklahoma Farm Bureau members will work to educate consumers in their communities during Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 17-23. Farm Bureau members will offer tips on how consumers can stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. During this week, many farmers and ranchers also plan to make a special effort to reach out to consumers, in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise.
The price of unprepared, readily available fresh fruits and vegetables, such as lettuce, bananas, whole carrots, apples, broccoli and tomatoes, has remained stable compared to dessert and snack foods, according to USDA studies. This suggests the price of a healthy diet has not changed relative to an unhealthy one, although a healthy diet might not include every fresh fruit or vegetable currently available.
“Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget,” said Kitty Beavers, Duncan, chairperson of the OFB Women’s Committee. The OFB Women’s Committee is coordinating the weeklong event.
“Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” Beavers said. “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,” Beavers said.
Farm Bureau has developed Food Check-Out Week educational materials dedicated to helping consumers make healthier food purchases. Information on several topics including “Tips for Better Nutrition on a Tight Budget,” “How Much Should I Eat?,” “Understanding Food Labels” and “Understanding What My Plate Means” is available.
Additionally, the OFB Women’s Committee will donate $1,500 worth of food to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, recognizing the need everyone has to find solutions to feeding families healthful foods on a tight budget. The Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in the area. The food will be used to help feed families staying at the houses.
Now in its 15th 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 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.