Yes We Can: Eating Healthy on a Limited Budget

Karen M. Jetter, Jennymae Adkins, Susie Cortez, Gesford Kane Hopper, Vicki Shively, Dennis M Styne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: This study determined how people who live in low-income households can consume an affordable, nutritious diet. Design: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) project was completed that developed and priced 2 weeks of healthy menus that met US Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Prices were collected from a market basket survey of 13 stores in the city of Chico during October, 2010. Initial menu development began in 2011–2012. Menus were reviewed in 2017 and reflect current guidelines. Setting: Chico, CA. Main Outcome Measures: Macro dietary objectives including the caloric content and servings of fat, sugar, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. The cost of purchasing the market basket of goods for a family of 4 that achieved those objectives was determined. Results: The 2 weeks of menus all met dietary objectives on average. The daily cost varied from $19 to $31 when food was purchased from a bulk supermarket, with an average daily cost of $25. Average monthly cost was $756 in 2010 dollars, or $838 in 2015 dollars. Conclusions and Implications: People living in low-income households can afford to eat healthily. Using CBPR principles, daily targets, and technical support, public health partners can partner with community members for member-defined solutions that are affordable and meet dietary guidelines. Access to stores that sell low-price bulk items is important to being able to afford a healthy diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-276
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • cost
  • healthy eating
  • low-income
  • market basket study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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