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Spend Smart

      You can eat healthy and stick to a tight grocery budget. With a little planning, savvy shopping and tasty recipes to cook at home, you'll be well on your way. The Spend smart! Eat smart! Team is here to help!—Iowa State University Extension
      A wealth of useful and enjoyable food and nutrition-related information is to be discovered when you tap into this Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Web site. Scroll the home page to find organized categories of recipes and prompt links to friendly instructional videos. The user will also be immediately invited to start planning to eat healthy and stick to a tight family grocery budget.
      The Plan tab includes an easy to use budget calculator, a menu planner for 5 days of meals, and tools for grocery shopping (a printer is needed to create the planner, grocery lists, and worksheet to track food expenses).
      The Shop tab offers an aisle by aisle link that guides the user through the grocery store, organized by food groups. The unit pricing section is an interactive refresher to compare prices between 2 food products based on serving size, servings per box, price, and unit price.
      The food labels section reviews label definitions (natural, organic, made with whole grain, etc). In addition to the definitions, a link is provided to the Label Reading for Better Health lesson that offers an audio-guided, 20-slide presentation on the different parts of the food label.
      The Cook tab includes the following links: Organize Your Space, Food Waste, Cook at Home, and Produce Basics. Highlights of these areas include how to arrange your refrigerator, storing and managing leftovers, using a recipe for success, and a detailed section on how to store, clean, and prepare various fresh fruits and vegetables.
      In addition to the information already described, users can tap into and comment on a Blog site to which registered dietitians contribute weekly. Topics vary and include slow cooker basics with recipes, childhood nutrition issues, and recipe ideas. The blog is indexed in detail.
      All of the recipes are indexed as Desserts, Appetizers, Salads, Freezes Well, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Snacks, One Pot and Slow Cooker, and Soups. Videos include Easy Recipes, Food Preparation, Food Safety and Storage, and Food Shopping. Videos are around 2 minutes long, so they are not time-consuming but offer brief and useful tips on each topic.
      Overall the Web site is impressive and colorful, which makes it inviting for consumers looking for credible nutrition information and guidance to help create healthy meals on a budget.
      Cite this article as Fishman L. Spend Smart. Eat Smart [New Resources for Nutrition Educators]. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017;49:710.