By: Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director, Health & Well-being, FMI

Today, shoppers are more interested than ever before in making healthy choices at the grocery store. They seem equally interested in saving money at the grocery store. Truth be told, it seems like we all have aspirations to eat a little better and save a little more money. Is it possible that those two goals can actually go hand in hand?

With many consumers leveraging food for better health with a cost-conscious approach, there’s a new tool available from USDA, premiering as the first of its kind. With the tagline “Healthy food choices don’t have to cost a lot” the Shop Simple with MyPlate tool is ready to help! Shop Simple with MyPlate is a web-based app designed to help Americans save money while shopping for healthy food choices.

Easy for consumers to access:
  • Shop Simple is optimized for use on a smartphone (so it looks and feels like an app).
  • It is available directly at
  • There is nothing to download from the App Store or Google Play, and no login required.
  • For users without access to a smartphone, it can be used on a desktop, laptop, or tablet.

Recognizing the common barriers to eating healthy, especially when on a budget, Shop Simple was designed to keep things simple, use familiar and accessible ingredients, provide preparation tips, meal ideas, recipes, menus, new ideas for cooking, along with ways to add some variety. No other site or app focuses on healthy eating on a budget. In developmental research conducted by USDA, consumers indicated use of similar methods to keep costs low and to find healthy recipes. To shop on a budget, consumers polled were relying on digital coupon apps, store memberships, online deals, and bargain hunting. To find healthy and varied recipes, consumers were turning to apps, dedicated recipe websites, and other online resources. For the first time, a solution exists to help consumers find healthy eating tips and budget-friendly ideas all in one place.

Key feature #1: Discover new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods

Suggestions – including tips, serving ideas, recipes and nutrition information – are specific to 25 budget-friendly foods (five from each of the MyPlate food groups) chosen based on a variety of factors to include cost, commonality, and variety of forms available (canned, frozen, fresh). 

Key feature #2:  Quickly find local area SNAP savings

When a zip code is entered, links to local cost-saving opportunities appear to include SNAP rewards, SNAP retailer stores in the area, online SNAP stores, and farmers markets incentive programs.

USDA plans to add more foods and recipes that represent all Americans; more reward and incentive programs as they become available; locator tools for additional food support resources; and possibly making the tool available in other languages. As a registered dietitian, I can attest that some of the most nourishing foods are also some of the most affordable foods, it’s just a matter sharing this concept with consumers as they push the cart down the aisle or build an online order, perhaps now with the Shop Simple tool in hand!

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