One important part of creating a healthy home for your family starts with the choices you make at the grocery store and where you put those foods once you get them home.
It's one of those daunting tasks that just about everyone faces. "I think that it even starts before you get to the grocery store," says cardiovascular dietitian Amanda Hindoian with the IMC Heart Institute.
"It" is the weekly trip to the grocery store. Hindoian suggests "Making a list ahead of time is really helpful because then you know what you're going to shop for."
In fact, registered dietitian Hindoian believes a list is essential if you're planning to serve up healthy meals on a budget.
"A list means you are more likely to stick with it and buy those foods. It helps with saving money as well," says Hindoian.
Navigating your cart through the grocery store temptations might also be easier than you think with the right approach. Hindoian says, "Usually your healthier foods are around the perimeter of the store."
So, with that map in mind, you'll probably start in the produce section. That is where Hindoian does the bulk of her shopping. "The produce section is where you're going to find a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals. So, if you can eat a bunch of the colors they have here, you'll be getting those necessary nutrients."
Next, you should look for lean meats and low-fat and low-sugar dairy products like yogurt. Hindoian has a tip for conquering the overwhelming selection of yogurts as well. "Greek yogurt is going to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates (extra sugars)."
So, should we avoid the center aisles where junk foods tend to lurk? Hindoian says "not necessarily." Instead, she suggests, "The canned food section gets a bad rap a lot of the time."
That is often because the liquids canned fruits and veggies are packed in are chock full of sodium and sugar. But, Hindoian says, "You can actually rinse that off to get rid of most of that excess sugar or salt."
And before you check out, a trip down the cereal and bread aisles may be hard to avoid. No problem according to Hindoian who says to look for high fiber and low-sugar products and always read the labels.
Back at home, fitness and food coach Mindy Buxton, who is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, is showing a group of busy moms how to make sure the healthy foods they buy at the grocery actually get eaten.
Buxton's two biggest suggestions: placement and preparation.
Pointing to a container full of carrots divided up and packaged, Buxton explains, "Get out your serving size baggies, portion some out and then you can put it away so that it's going to be just as easy to grab as a granola bar, right?"
In Buxton's fridge, fresh fruits, veggies and healthy leftovers are all stored in clear containers so what's inside is easy to see and ready to eat.
"Mason jars are great for storing oatmeal and salads," says Buxton.
Just like shopping, food preparation and presentation at home takes a little extra time and thought, but it can make a healthy difference. "If we can get our fridge to be as easy to go to as the pantry, it will be so much easier to have our health be in check," says Buxton.
Another tip both Buxton and Hindoian agree on: checking those labels to keep the number of ingredients in any processed foods to six or less.