Grocery shopping can be a challenging chore.
You want enough staples on hand for meals that are quick and good-tasting but also nutritious and reasonable in cost. You want foods that are a good value, all things considered.
Thats why I think youll like a new shopping guide from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.
You know Im a big fan of EWGs Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The consumer group has refined it to create Good Food on a Tight Budget. Its a list of 100 foods that rank best when considering nutritional value, cost and level of environmental contamination. You can use the list as a starting point for shopping with confidence.
The list breaks foods into seven categories including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, cooking fats and oils, and staples and spices. The online resource includes shopping tips and recipes, or you can order a printedbooklet at ewg.org/goodfood/index.php.
Best buys foods highest in nutrient density and lowest in cost include many of your favorites. In many cases, conventional varieties are fine. In others, youre better off buying organic.
The cheapest best foods are usually those you can buy in their conventional forms. Examples include:
• Bananas, domestic nectarines, pears, watermelon and orange juice. Adults should hold juice to not more than a cup a day less for children to control calories
• Broccoli, parsley, carrots, fresh tomatoes, cabbage and onions
• Puffed corn, toasted oat cereal and barley
• Squid, whiting or silver hake, dried beans and lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds and walnuts
• Nonfat plain yogurt, cottage cheese and ricotta
• Corn, soybean and sunflower oils; buy organic if you want these to be GMO-free
To save the most, plan meals ahead and cook at home as often as possible. Take leftovers to work or school.
Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, dried beans and lentils into meals, and cut back on packaged and processed foods such as frozen entrees and commercial desserts and snacks.
Plant an herb garden and raise your own vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, and red or green bell peppers theyd rank highly on the EWG list if you bought organic.
If you find it hard to eat well on a budget, simplify your effort by using this guide.
Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor in the departments of Health Policy and Management and Nutrition in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.