Your thirties can be a chaotic time. Often this decade is filled with the dueling demands of work and family, with the result that it's tough to make time for good nutrition. Grabbing chicken nuggets from the drive-thru after daycare pickup often seems like the easiest dinner option. But it's as important as ever to pay attention to what you put in your mouth, as the cast-iron constitution you seemed to have in your twenties may develop a few cracks here and there. Your thirties are when you may first start to see the effects of a poor diet and other injustices you've committed against your body over the years. And while your body certainly is not old, it is getting older, and now is the time to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of good health.

If your life is too crazy to spend much time cooking, look for nutritious meal options while keeping things simple. You don't have to swear off the drive-thru forever, but scrutizine the menu a little more closely. Must you get that double burger slathered with sauce and cheese? Try a single hamburger, and pair it with apple slices instead of fries. You'll be doing yourself a favor and modeling good eating habits for your kids (who, incidentally, should be encouraged to eat the apple slices over the fries, too).

But are there specific nutrients you need at this age? For women in their childbearing years, folate (or folic acid) is extremely important. A lack of folate in the diet can cause neural-tube defects in babies, as well as raise your risk of heart disease. Great sources of folate include leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus. Fruits such as avocado have it, too, as do fortified orange juice, chickpeas, and many breakfast cereals. If you've got limited time to shop for such healthful fare, hit the supermarket either early in the morning or late at night, both uncrowded times. Grab a couple of bags of spinach leaves, a few cans of beans, and some frozen grilled chicken strips. Add to this a pint of prepared soup and a loaf of whole-wheat bread, and you've got several healthy, reheatable dinners for the next few nights.

Iron intake also is important at this age. Eat too little and you'll suffer fatigue and mental slowdowns. You should get 18 milligrams a day from foods such as lean beef, beans and seeds, and skinless chicken and turkey. And finally, here's a free pass to have a glass of red wine and some dark-chocolate-covered coffee beans for dessert: Scientists say that phytonutrients, compounds that contain antioxidants and are abundant in wine, coffee and dark chocolate, slow the aging process and put the kibbosh on heart disease. They also may halt changes in DNA, which could prevent cancer. So enjoy your after-dinner treat--and remember to put your feet up and relax while you do!