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Helpful tips on eating well on a budget

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

You can enroll in a free class that will help you and your family with tasty nutritious meals that are easy on your budget.

Classes are also available for schools and community groups interested in nutrition issues and weight loss.

The Family Nutrition Program, an outreach of Purdue Extension, provides free, fun, informal programs and classes in homes or in a community setting for groups.

Participants see live cooking demonstrations, sample the food prepared, participate in hands-on activities, and take home easy low-cost recipes.

They also learn how to invest food dollars in the best nutritious food choices, stretch food dollars to last the whole month, make healthy choices when eating out, protect the family from food borne illnesses, and plan meals the family will love.

Rewards, including beautiful cookbooks and kitchen supplies are available for completed series of classes.

Donna Black, the Family Nutrition Program Assistant for Clay and Owen counties, works with many local organizations and families to share information related to the following lessons:

* Small Steps to Good Taste,

* Understanding Food Labels,

* Small Steps to a Great Star,

* Side Dish and Snacks,

* Calcium-Rich Foods,

* Going Lean with Protein,

* Figuring out Fats,

* Safe Food for Your Family,

* Small Steps to Great Meals,

* Ins and Outs of Getting Through the Month,

* A trip to the Store: Comparison Shopping and Impulse Buying,

* Saving Money and Meal Planning, and

* It All Adds Up, and more.

For the past four years, Donna and I, the Purdue Extension health and Human Sciences Educator, have worked with school programming in Clay County.

Partnering with Lynn Stoelting, Clay Community Schools nurse, and the school district Physical Education program and teaching staff, we have presented "Tools for Healthy Eaters," a program targeting the prevention of childhood obesity, to all fourth- and fifth-grade students in the county.

The program emphasizes enhancing lifelong health by selecting nutritious foods and snacks and deciphering food labels for better health.

In addition to scheduling groups and individuals in their homes, some additional community agency contacts working with the Family Nutrition Program include WIC, PMPACT, Step Ahead, Head Start, Healthy Mother-Healthy Babies, HUD, Family Services, Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens, Commodity Foods, Senior Citizens Center, Alternative Schools and the LEAAP Center, in addition to the Clay County Justice Center.

You can call us at the Purdue Extension offices in Clay and Owen counties for more information or to talk about other issues that affect your home and family.

Your Health and Human Sciences Extension Educator specializes in information related to families, food, finances and fitness and health.

In Owen County, call 812-829-5020. In Clay County, call 448-9041.