Buy. Eat. Live Healthy

Intended Audience: Adults with limited resources (income guidelines apply).

Format: Eight 60-90 minute sessions in-person OR eight 40-60 minute sessions virually.

Buy. Eat. Live Healthy educators support individuals and families in making healthy choices on a tight grocery budget. Lessons focus on nutrition education, cooking skills, grocery budget management and active living. Program availability varies by county.

Adult and child cooking in kitchen together

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers a free nutrition education class series called Buy. Eat. Live Healthy. 

These classes show adult participants how to choose nutritious foods for themselves and their families, save an average of $50 a month on their food bill, and handle food safely. Trained educators provide practical, hands-on experience and ideas about how to implement suggestions for healthy eating. All information shared is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 and MyPlate.

The Buy. Eat. Live Healthy classes are FREE to participants and can be taught to groups or individuals. We have Spanish speaking teachers providing classes and can provide interpretation for a variety or languages upon request. Income guidelines apply.

Classes include:

  • Get Moving- Participants enjoy being active.
  • Plan, Shop, $ave- Participants plan and shop for meals and snacks that are healthy and within their budget.
  • Fruits and Veggies, Half your Plate- Participants increase the amount of vegetables and fruits they eat every day. Participants have more than one kind of vegetable and one kind of fruit every day.
  • Make Half Your Grains Whole - Participants choose at least half of their grains to be whole grains.
  • Build Strong Bones- Participants get enough calcium from low-fat or non-fat dairy foods or other foods high in calcium.
  • Go Lean with Protein- Participants have lean protein foods and keep all food safe to eat.
  • Make a Change and Celebrate- Participants limit foods high in fat, sugar and salt and celebrate new knowledge and skills to make healthy food and activity choices.

Each lesson includes information on nutrition and physical activity and includes cooking or tasting a recipe. In addition, participants are given tools to help them make behavior changes including cutting mats, measuring cups and spoons, and cookbooks. Participants who complete eight classes receive a certificate signed by ISU Extension and Outreach staff certifying they have attended the program.

For more information on how to get your family involved in Buy. Eat. Live. Healthy contact Mae McCarty, Program Supervisor, at 515-957-5773 or

For more Buy. Eat. Live Healthy information, visit the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Nutrition Education webpage.

Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.

To learn more about Buy. Eat. Live Healthy in Polk County, Contact:

Mae McCarty
Central Iowa Supervisor for Nutrition Education Programs (EFNEP & SNAP-ed)
(515) 957-5773

Stacia Sanny
EFNEP Training and Staffing Coordinator
(515) 957-5786

Star Scott
EFNEP Program Assistant
(515) 957-5784

Blanca Lopez
EFNEP Program Assistant (bilingual)
(515) 957-5775

Michelle Galvan
EFNEP Program Assistant
(515) 957-5788


Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Blog

Eat well and stick to a tight grocery budget with help from Spend Smart. Eat Smart! View the blog, check out the website, or download the app for meal planning resources and healthy (and tasty!) recipes the family will love.

Person cutting veggies and smiling