Rethink your shopping list with these tips for dishing up a nourishing meal.
Problem #1: "Healthy foods are too pricey."
Cut back on organic. Just buy it for foods on the newly extended "Dirty Dozen" list—produce with the highest levels of pesticide residue, including apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, potatoes, green beans and kale. But don't stress if you can't afford organic, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian in Saint Petersburg, Florida: "The fact that you're buying fruits and veggies is more important."
Chill out. Produce is cheapest when you buy it in season, so pick up those blueberries on sale in the summer and freeze them for up to six months. Another way to enjoy pineapples, asparagus and more in the winter: buy frozen. They're time-saving too, since no washing or chopping is needed.
Buy bulk. Save almost 90% on pantry staples by shopping the bulk bins. Lentils, oats, nuts, pastas, spices and dried fruit are available in grocery stores like Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Wegmans and more. Scoop, bag and buy only what you need to cut down on waste and spend less.
Problem #2: "Takeout is all I have time for."
Simplify. Start building a repertoire of 20-minute throw-together meals like stir-fries and salads. Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, considers this one of her go-to dinners: Broil frozen salmon in the oven, microwave sweet potatoes and open a bag of prewashed dark leafy greens to toss with store-bought vinaigrette.
Bring kids into the kitchen. A mom of three, Krieger suggests asking children to wash produce and toss salad with dressing, stir omelets and sauces, or even season vegetables with salt and pepper. An added perk: less pickiness. "They want to eat what they make," she says.
Buy ready-cooked. Bust out of your white rice rut and speed things up with packaged precooked brown rice, lentils, polenta and other hearty sides.