Buying organic food, which tends to cost more than conventional food, is not essential, he added.
In 2012, the A.A.P. published a clinical report that said that diets rich in organic produce, dairy products and meats might lower your exposure to pesticides and potentially drug-resistant bacteria, but there’s no evidence to suggest that organic foods provide more nutritional benefits than conventional foods.
“What’s most important is that children eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether those are conventional or organic foods,” one of the report’s lead authors said in a news release at the time.
You can also save money by buying fruits and vegetables in bulk. A three-pound bag of organic Gala apples at a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, for instance, costs $4.99. If you bought that same amount of apples individually, it would cost about $7.50.
Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian and acting director of the dietetic internship program at New York University, also suggested other money-saving tips: Sharing a community-supported agriculture (C.S.A.) membership with another family can be cheaper than purchasing one yourself. Or you can buy fruits and vegetables from companies that offer “ugly” organic produce at a deep discount.
Finally, even if your child isn’t attending school in person, check to see if their school is still providing school lunches, which are required to include fruits and vegetables, said Diane Harris, a lead health scientist at the C.D.C. and one of the study authors.
2. Provide healthy options within reach.
Keeping plenty of easy-to-access fruit and vegetable options within your home can improve the odds that your teenager will choose nutritious foods to munch on, the experts said.
“Teens tend to be hungry and are often scavenging for food around the kitchen and pantry,” said Dr. Natalie D. Muth, a pediatrician and nutritionist in Carlsbad, Calif. “If the fruits and vegetables are easy to access, they might choose to snack on them. This especially works if there aren’t a lot of other processed snack foods easily accessible.”