Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S13, July 2013

Expanding Online Guidance: Creating a Consumer-oriented Website with Practical Solutions for Healthy Eating on a Budget


      To provide practical guidance for following a nutritious diet while on a limited food budget using web-based information and tools.

      Target audience

      Low-income families; also the general public and nutrition educators.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale



      USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion (CNPP) demonstrated that online applications can successfully impart dietary guidance to a large audience at a lower cost through its website and SuperTracker food and activity tracking tool. Creation of a consumer-oriented website focused on how to make healthy food choices on a finite budget expands and complements current CNPP online offerings. The website covers 3 themes: Get Started, Go Shopping, and Dine Healthy. Users are able to explore a number of topic areas under each theme, including meal planning and shopping strategies; low-cost, nutritious recipes; and basic cooking instructions. Content was developed for a low health-literacy population, with liberal use of itemized lists and/or bullets; positive, action-oriented language; little or no technical jargon; and a 6th to 8th grade readability level.


      Prior to launch, a content evaluation by external nutrition education experts and a usability test with a sample of the target population were completed. Website content was revised to reflect comments from peer evaluators and feedback from the usability testing.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Access to the Internet is becoming less of a barrier, with 50 to 75% of low-income households now reporting Internet access. This project builds on that transformation by providing practical guidance regarding healthy eating on a budget. This information will benefit both educators and consumers, and has the potential for further expansion.