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Lower Income People Can Stretch Their Food Dollars By Simply Eating Healthier Foods

March 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A 34-week U.S. study finds that nutritious foods that roughly follow the Mediterranean diet are not only healthier for lower income families, they are significantly more economical. Sixty-three people from emergency food pantries and low-income housing sites attended six weeks of cooking classes, where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes based on olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. Changing the focus to fruits, vegetables, and healthy starches, and eliminating expensive items –  meats, snacks, desserts and carbonated drinks – was far more cost-effective for families on limited budgets. Participants not only cut their food spending by more than half, about half lost weight.
Mary M. Flynn et al., "A Six-Week Cooking Program of Plant-Based Recipes Improves Food Security, Body Weight, and Food Purchases for Food Pantry Clients", Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, March 20, 2013, © Informa UK Limited
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