Nationwide Food Consumption Survey 1977–78 data were used to study the food obtainment patterns and the nutritional quality of diets of households with di etary component returns per dollar of food above and below average. Higher nutrient return per food dollar was more likely for households of larger size and/or lower income levels. Households with greater nutrient return per food dollar allocated higher proportions of their food dollars to cereal, rice and pasta; milk and cheese; eggs, beans and nuts; and fats and oils. These households allocated smaller proportions of their food dollars to high‐cost meats and beverages. Fur ther, within most food groups (particularly milk and cheese and vegetables), households with higher nutrient return per food dollar obtained food items at lower cost with greater nutrient content. Although households with high nutrient return per food dollar had, in general, lower average total food costs, the nutri tional quality of their home food supplies was generally as high or higher than for low nutrient return households.

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