Shop wisely: Fruit is a must for every shopping list

The rising cost of food, including fruit, means consumers need to educate themselves to learn how to keep delicious, healthy fruit on their plates every day.

The predictions that food costs are expected to rise is quite unsettling when you realize the need to eat is paramount to health and survival. Consumers are looking for solutions to successfully purchase adequate amounts of food, including fruit, to feed their family without causing their food budget to sky rocket out of control. Let’s take a look at a few simple ideas that Michigan State University Extension recommends so that you can keep delicious and nutritious fruit on your weekly shopping list.

Before you even make out your shopping list is important to know how much fruit an individual needs to eat each day. The Choose MyPlate website provides excellent nutrition information and includes a helpful chart that shows how many cups of fruit a person should eat, based on age, gender and level of daily physical activity.  The key message for all is to make one-half of you plate fruits and vegetables. The Choose MyPlate website also has good tips to help you eat more fruit. It is important to understand what counts as a serving of fruit when making your selections to be sure you are achieving your daily recommended servings. Rethink your snacks to include fruit rather than high priced snack products to reduce your grocery bill, and to ensure you are eating your recommended daily amounts.   

Fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100 percent fruit juices are available all year and each provides essential nutrients for you and your family. Since there are a wide variety of fruit options available, fruit can fit easily into even a tight food budget. When purchasing fresh fruit it is helpful to learn more about the different fruit seasons and the price per pound to find the best buys. Ask the produce manager at your grocery store or the local farmer at a farm market, as they are knowledgeable resources. Michigan produces a wide variety of family favorites such as berries, peaches, melons, pears and apples, which have different harvest seasons providing even more array of budget friendly fruit options.

When you write out your shopping list think about your weekly schedule to determine how much fresh fruit you can prepare and use in a timely manner. Keep a close eye on fresh produce once you get it home as the shelf life of some varieties of fruit may be only a few days. Store you fresh fruit properly as it is not a cost savings to have to toss out spoiled food.

Fruit is such an important food group. Arming yourself with the knowledge of which fruits, and in what form, are the best buys throughout the year helps to ensure that your family enjoys not only the delicious taste of a variety of fruits but their wonderful health benefits.

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