How might we encourage single mothers in Los Angeles to cook healthy meals for their families?

Vision Video | Yena Kim
Illustrations | Audra Walker


An impactful mobile app that helps food insecure families by delivering weekly groceries from LA food banks, accompanied by recipes and games based on those groceries.


16-Week Project

UX Research, UX/UI Designer, Graphic Designer



The Los Angeles Food Bank estimates that 1 in 4 people in Los Angeles County experience food insecurity.

The pandemic has dramatically increased food insecurity and strained an extremely stressed supply. Loss of employment and income continue to increase demand for charitable food delivery and meal offerings.

There are resources for people experiencing food insecurity, but there are not enough. Many people do not know what is available for them, and if they do it can be confusing to apply and know if they qualify.


During our research we discovered that single mothers need our help. The poverty rate for single mother families in 2019 was 31% compared to 5% for married couple families, and almost one third (28.7%) of single mother families were food insecure. Through our interviews with single mothers we found that getting their children to eat healthy foods was one of the biggest obstacles, along with lack of cooking knowledge and time. One of our users found a way to get her son to at least try vegetables, by involving him in the cooking process. We knew we needed to find a way to save time and money for single mothers, provide knowledge on how to cook healthy foods, and all the while involving the children in an engaging way.


Fun with Food: A mobile app for low income families that delivers weekly pantry provided foods with recipes and games based on the groceries. The app lets users set food preferences and preferred delivery times. These features save busy parents time and money, creating more opportunities for quality family time. With options to sort recipes by difficulty, number of ingredients, and cooking time, parents can learn how to cook at their own level. While children learn to cook alongside their parents safely through the app's compatible cooking games.




The first step was learning more about the people:
Who are the families that deal with food insecurity?
There is not one single face of food insecurity and families all over Los Angeles are struggling. Although, the research showed single mother led families are the most prevalent.

Out of the 28.7% of food insecure single mothers, only 11.7% use food pantries. Why are these parents in need not using resources available to them?


Majority of single parents families are headed by women.
female-headed households are significantly more likely to be food insecure than male-headed households, (32% to 22%).
Only a small about of food insecure single mothers are using free resources available.


Meet Maria

Maria, a hardworking single mother of two, Alyssa and Connor, struggles to provide nutritious meals for her family despite working full-time as a grocery store employee and receiving food stamps from CalFresh. Limited by her lack of time and transportation, her meals often consist of takeout and frozen foods.

“I know the amount of take out food I feed my children can’t be good, but I can’t find the time or money to grocery shop for healthier foods.”

User Persona | Audra Walker


The lack of access to transportation makes it difficult for people to access food resources.
When there is a lack of time, takeout and frozen food is a common alternative.
For a mother working full-time, finding the time to prepare meals or search for resources can be a significant challenge.


Meet Scarlett

As a single mother of one, Scarlett juggles two jobs, working full-time as a server and part-time as a sales associate. Despite her love for cooking, she often struggles to get her son, Elliot, to try new foods. She found a solution to this problem by involving him in the process of choosing vegetables at the market. By giving him the opportunity to pick out a vegetable that he likes, she found that Elliot was more willing to try new foods.

“I definitely feel like I never have enough time with my kid, but I understand that it's my responsibility to be able to financially support myself and my son.”

User Interview | Audra Walker


To be able to support herself and her son, Scarlett works two jobs.
To encourage Scarlett's son to eat more vegetables she involves him in the cooking process.
Scarlett shared that while the process of reapplying for food stamps is not overly complex, the lengthy wait for an interview can make it challenging to maintain a nutritious diet.

Meet Lee

Lee juggles her responsibilities as both a florist in a family-run business and a nurturing parent to her children, Rylee and Hayes. Despite her busy schedule, Lee prioritizes the health and well-being of her family. Initially, she found it challenging to introduce Rylee to new and healthy foods, but with time and effort, she has gained the confidence in her cooking skills through the use of meal kit services. Now, she is able to confidently prepare meals without them.

“Recipes are something that’s made cooking a lot easier. Hayes’ dad and I used to get Blue Apron meal kits, I learned a lot of skills.”

User Interview | Audra Walker


During her marriage, Lee had the financial means to use Blue Apron's meal kits. These kits not only taught her how to cook, but also helped her gain greater confidence in the kitchen.
Lee used a creative approach to expand Hayes' palate, she encourages him to at least lick new foods he doesn't want to try. This has made him more willing to try new foods.
To save time, Lee preorders her groceries.



Our discoveries led us to to an idea—an app based around all 3 of our users needs:
saving time and money by delivering free groceries, offering recipes using those grocery items, and cooking games based off the recipes to involve children.

Low Fidelity Wireframes | Audra Walker


Prototyping Video | Yena Kim
Keeping the children entertained proved difficult.
Due to Covid-19, all of our user tests were done through Zoom. It was hard enough to keep a child's attention over Zoom, but asking for feedback on a game that was not fully developed and responsive was very difficult. We realized the game would need to be captivating for kids.
The purpose of the app wasn't clear.
Immediately after opening the prototype, users were asked a series of questions ranging from food preferences to family information without giving any context. Users had no idea what they were signing up for, and commented on not being able to skip the signup to see what the app was about.
Users were getting lost in the app.
We gave our users multiple scenarios, one being "Where would you go to find reviews on the taco recipe?" A few of our users were unsure where they were in the app. Once they found the reviews, they didn't know how to get back to where they started. The icons were also unclear, we used a spoon and fork to represent recipes but that didn't translate to everyone.



UI Design | Team Effort


Game Design | Masha Volodkina

Making the game entertaining and interactive was a major aspect, it took resourcefulness to make a game through Figma, an application for prototyping, not game design.


This project was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to the widespread issue of food insecurity in Los Angeles. It's truly heartbreaking to see so many people struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families. And it's become all too common in our city.

Narrowing down our target audience was tough, and it held us back from getting more one-on-one time with them. In retrospect, I think the project would have been even more impactful if we had interviewed more single mothers dealing with food insecurity. Finding willing participants who fit our target audience was a challenge, but I'm so grateful for the mothers who shared their experiences with us. Without their insights, this project wouldn't have been possible.

My team and I were also faced with the added challenge of working remotely due to the pandemic, but we were able to make it work and I couldn't be more proud of the work we've done.

Now, looking back, I realize that our solutions were based on just two users and one persona, and though we did our research, I know to truly understand what could help food insecure families, we need to speak to more people. I would love to continue working on this project and gather more insights and testimonies from single mothers. It's the only way we can truly understand what needs to be done to help these families feel more secure.

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© Audra 2022