About Us

About the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion

The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) was established in 1994 to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans. Toward this goal, CNPP focuses its efforts on two primary objectives:

  1. Advance and promote dietary guidance for all Americans, and
  2. Conduct applied research and analyses in nutrition and consumer economics.

CNPP's core projects to support its objectives are the following:

CNPP is a program of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and both make up the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

About What's Cooking

What's Cooking provides recipes and resources to support building healthy and budget-friendly meals. The site includes recipes from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs including the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Food Distribution Division (FDD).

What's Cooking features are designed to encourage key behaviors emphasized in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and include the following:

  • Detailed nutrition analysis provided on recipes to help consumers choose recipes that meet nutrition goals
  • Comprehensive search filters such as program area, equipment, cuisine as well as nutrition-related messages to help users find recipes according to personal interest
  • Cost ranges for recipes as available
  • A personal cookbook builder as well as ready-made cookbooks
  • User-friendly options such as star ratings and sharing on social media

Nutritious recipes and menu planning serve as the building blocks for healthy meals and overall diet. Healthy meal patterns that meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are achieved by considering total food intake of a variety of healthy foods over a period of time. While individual recipes may not meet all of the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, collectively they can contribute toward meeting the recommendations and improving lifelong eating habits.

About Recipes on What's Cooking

  • Recipes are “MyPlate-inspired” and emphasize nutrient-rich options from the food groups including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and fat-free and low-fat dairy.
  • Total calories per serving will not exceed a reasonable proportion of an average person’s daily calorie needs.
  • Recipes minimize the use of ingredients that provide/contribute added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.
  • Recipes can be used in the context of a total diet to build healthy meals when paired with other meal components, such as serving a fruit or vegetable side dish along with a main entrée.
  • If a range amount is provided for an ingredient, the smaller amount is used in calculations.
  • When a recipe lists a choice of ingredients, the first ingredient listed is used in calculations.
  • The nutrition information does not include optional ingredients; salt is included in the nutrition calculation only when an amount is specified.
  • Cost calculations for recipes are based on the CNPP 2009 Food Prices Database. The costs presented for recipes are estimates based on national average prices derived using the 2009 Nielsen Homescan Panel. Though the average includes regional price variation, the price estimates may not reflect prices paid by individuals. The costs are updated as they become available.