Monday, November 24, 2014

Healthy Cents: Saving Money on Food Away from Home

What is Healthy Cents?

Healthy Cents is a program designed to help participants save money while purchasing healthy food. Healthy Cents lessons focus on teaching seniors about making healthy and affordable food choices, reducing food expenses, developing a food spending plan, planning a meal, and saving money on healthy food shopping.

On several of our class days, we have had the opportunity to assist Phyllis in presenting these different nutrition education topics to seniors who are part of the Food Supplemental Nutrition Education (FSNE) Program in Baltimore. This past Monday, we taught the seniors about ways to save money when buying food away from home. Phyllis usually starts off the class with an activity or game to get the participants and interns interacting with one another... and this week was no different! We began the class by dividing into groups of 4 or 5 and were given a basket of cards describing a situation with a price. Working together as a group, we took turns reading the card aloud and discussed how to make less expensive choices in various situations. This activity was great way to practice choosing ways to save money on food as well as share our own experiences in similar situations. 

Following the activity, we tried a banana pudding that is affordable and easy to make at home. During the tasting, we discussed shopping strategies to save money when buying ingredients and ways to substitute other ingredients to change the recipe to your liking. This snack was delicious and everyone seemed to love it! Afterwards, we compared the cost of 4 food common food items at restaurants like McDonald’s and Wendy’s with the same meals prepared at home. I think this activity was eye-opening for everyone because you may end up saving $128 a month just by making these foods once a week rather than buying them!

These classes have been a very enjoyable and beneficial experience for me because I am given the opportunity to interact with an older population. Moreover, I am able to practice tailoring nutrition messages to people from low-income communities. It is so rewarding to see how enthusiastic and happy the seniors are to be there! I look forward to our next class day activity at Healthy Cents!

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