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      Locals learn how to keep their diets, and wallets, healthy!

      Keeping family meals healthy, yet low cost, can be a challenge these days. Unless you have a plan.

      Local residents were treated to an interactive tour Tuesday at Walmart to learn how to cook healthy meals for their families and stretch their food dollar at the same time.

      "It was a refresher from health class and personal wellness, so that was helpful. I did learn a few things," said Crystal Dilford, a participant in the tour.

      The tour, led by Walmart associates and local food bank volunteers, taught residents how to compare unit prices, purchase more fruits and vegetables on a budget, read food labels for healthier picks, and which whole grains are the best options.

      "We at Walmart are proud to support the initiative because it reaches families and helps them make better choices for food, and especially with kids, and them being able to read food labels and come up with the right choices," said Karthickeyan Thavamany, Shift Manager at Walmart in Marquette.

      In a survey done by Share Our Strength, it was found that 85 percent of low-income families want to make healthier meals, but they cited that cost was one of the important factors that kept them from doing so.

      The ultimate goal of the tour was to provide residents with a plan for grocery shopping, enabling them to make healthier choices while pinching their pennies.

      "Other people need this, lots of people need this, because people are pretty ignorant and blind about this stuff, and we may learn about it in school, but we tend to forget about it," Dilford said.

      The first 12 participants received a $10 Walmart gift card at the end of the tour and were able to apply the skills they learned to buy ingredients for a healthy meal, under the $10.

      Some say they found it easier than they expected.