Arkansas Verdigris Valley Health Centers

Tools to Help Consumers Eat Healthy on a Budget

Nutrition is a thread that runs through all the work we do at ODPHP — because we know that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is a critical way to prevent disease and promote good health. As the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans tells us, there is substantial evidence that healthy diets can improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease over the course of one’s life. But data shows that “Americans are falling short” in this regard, and the rates of diet-related chronic disease are increasing. 

For some, a barrier to maintaining a healthy diet is cost. Nearly 34 million people live in households that are food insecure — which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), means they are “uncertain of having or unable to acquire enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.” Lower food security has direct implications on health — it’s associated with a higher probability of being diagnosed with a chronic disease such as hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.  

Fortunately, there are resources that can help address budgetary constraints that some consumers may have when it comes to putting food on the table. The Dietary Guidelines includes information on programs that can help mitigate the cost of food and help reduce food insecurity for individuals across the lifespan. These programs include:

  • MyPlate: Developed by USDA, MyPlate helps people become more aware of and informed about making healthy food and beverage choices over time. The Shop Simple with MyPlate phone application helps consumers make healthy food choices, discover new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods, and find savings in their communities.
  • Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs: Administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA) within the HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL), these programs provide grants to states to support nutrition services for adults age 60 and older nationwide.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): This USDA program provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program: This federal program provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. 
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)SNAP provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford the nutritious food essential to health and well-being. 
  • National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Through these programs, children can access nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free breakfast and lunches each school day.
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations: This program provides USDA Foods to income-eligible households living on Indian reservations and to Native American households residing in designated areas near reservations or in Oklahoma.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program: This program works to improve the health of low-income persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods.
  • USDA Food PlansThese food plans illustrate how a healthy diet can be achieved at various costs. 

With these tools in hand, consumers and professionals can play an active role in ensuring that individuals and communities have consistent access to healthy foods. 

Others have also read ...

QuikTrip and Amazon Gift Cards

We're Looking for Your Opinion!

Complete our short survey for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or $50 QuikTrip gift card!