USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food

The Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal Food Plans each represent a nutritious diet at a different cost. The Thrifty Food Plan is the basis for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) allotments. (All files are PDFs unless otherwise noted.)
Other Current Publications
Related Websites
For information on putting the Thrifty Food Plan into practice, please see What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl -- a collection of quick, delicious, cost-effective recipes for every type of cook. What's Cooking? is an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. The site features a searchable database of healthy recipes, options to build a cookbook, print recipe cards, and share recipes via social media. What's Cooking? contains recipes for use by nutrition educators working with the SNAP-eligible population.
Archived Publications
The meal plans and recipes were developed and evaluated by The Pennsylvania State University under contract with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Four-person families with limited incomes prepared and evaluated the menus and recipes for taste and quality. Note: This publication is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 1995 and the Food Guide Pyramid and is provided here for historical purposes.


Publication Date Title
November 2015
USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food report for OCTOBER 2015
October 2015
USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food report for SEPTEMBER 2015
September 2015
USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food report for AUGUST 2015
August 2015
USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food report for JULY 2015
August 2015
Official USDA Alaska and Hawaii Thrifty Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home (FIRST HALF 2015)