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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers education courses to its participants to improve the likelihood that they’ll make healthy food choices on their limited budgets.

Although healthier foods are thought to be more expensive, SNAP instructor Bettie Miller says there are ways to counter that.

“They feel that their dollar is not going as far but it all boils down to them planning. Menu planning. I teach them how to make a menu out for maybe two weeks at a time. And then how to go to the grocery store and shop from that menu,” says Miller.

Miller is a Program Assistant for MSU Extension and teaches SNAP-Education classes in several North Mississippi counties.

“We teach them to use coupons also. Couponing is becoming the fast thing now and it’s actually helpful. You can save anywhere between $1400 to $2000 a year just using coupons,” says Miller.

Some critics of the SNAP program point out that participants allowed to buy food at convenience stores and food retailers risk not using their benefits wisely.

“When you’re going to a fast food place or you’re going to a convenience store, you’re getting a lot of empty calories, which is not good for the children and it’s not good for you. So we try to discourage them from using so much of that,” says Miller.

MDHS officials say that every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates nearly twice as much money in total community spending which benefits the local economy.

Tomorrow night the final part of the Food Fright series will focus on a local family and how they manage while participating in the SNAP program.

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