Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. A free course funded by the USDA teaches low income families how to cook nutritious meals on a budget.

ID=18822401

"I really enjoyed it, I hate that it's coming to an end," said one of the students, Lakedria Garrett, after receiving her certificate.

It's called the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, or EFNEP. The course is a series of 8 nutritionally-driven lessons.

Students learn how to improve their diets, while stretching their grocery dollars further.

"We use brown rice, not the white rice, and it's healthy for you," said Garrett.

Several counties in Central Georgia participate, including Bibb, Houston, and Laurens County.

Course instructor Lakeshia Levi uses games like Jeopardy! during her lessons. She says it helps her class digest information better.

"Which food can help decrease your blood pressure because they are high in potassium?" asked Levi during a game of Jeopardy!

She includes health boosters like whole grains, fruits, and yogurt in her recipes.

Quick meals like ramen noodles, she makes healthier.

"We use the same noodles, we just remove the seasoning packets. We use Italian seasoning, you can add Mrs Dash, pepper, add some vegetables," said Levi.

The benefits keep rolling in. Director Rebecca Creasy says in the past, the course has played a major role in employment.

"They included that on their resume and it helped them get a job at a restaurant," said Creasy.

All of the program's long-term advantages are why Garrett says her home, body, and mind are replenished.

"It has helped me out tremendously," said Garrett.

According to surveys, 42% of graduates say they're less stressed about their budgets.

To enroll in the free course, contact your local UGA Extension office.

Bibb: 478-751-6338. Houston: 478-987-2028. Laurens:478-272-2277