This paper examines links between the way in which a household spreads their food expenditure over time and the dietary quality of the food they purchase. I find that households who make more frequent, smaller food purchases buy healthier foods than households who make fewer, larger purchases. These households are more likely to purchase foods with a lower share of total calories from fats, saturated fats and a larger share of calories from fruits and vegetables. The analysis is extended using quantile regression. The effect of expenditure dispersion is found to be largest among households with poor diets i.e. those households with diets high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.