If you are on SNAP benefits, you may notice some changes this month! Read on to learn more about these changes and what they could mean if you receive SNAP benefits.
Beginning October 1, 2021, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will increase by 21%, which is about $36 per person per month. This is the largest increase to the SNAP benefits in the program history based on the update of Thrifty Food Plan by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What is the Thrifty Food Plan?
The Thrifty Food Plan is the most affordable of the four food plans that USDA develops. The USDA does this by estimating the costs and contents of a healthy diet. This helps to determine the maximum SNAP benefit amounts.
The Thrifty Food Plan was originally created in 1975. It has only been adjusted for the increase in prices of food over a period of time. For the first time in 45 years, the USDA updated the Thrifty Food Plan to reflect current food prices, what Americans typically eat, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), and the nutrients in food items. 
The plan will be reviewed every five years in order to determine the cost of a nutritious diet. These changes will be based on current research.
Thrifty Food Plan 2021: What to expect
Eating patterns in the United States do not meet the recommendations given with the DGA. Challenges to eating healthy include food cost and having time to prepare and cook healthy meals.
The Thrifty Food Plan 2021 will support a healthy diet for Americans in the following ways:
- The Thrifty Food Plan 2021 will meet the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For example, the plan includes more fish and red and orange vegetables.
- The plan will include foods and beverages in their most convenient forms that can be easily prepared at home.
- The plan considers personal preferences and cultural traditions across all ages.
- The plan allows for increases in calories to support an active lifestyle. 
Written by Leslie Davis, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES | Reviewed by Darci Bell, RDN, LD and the Nutrition Education Team
Posted on October 2, 2021
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