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Last night, I popped into Whole Foods to swing by the pay-per-pound salad bar to create a veggie-centric dinner. Since I haven’t been spending too much time cooking at home, keeping fresh vegetables around my apartment is generally a bad move for me. So Whole Foods is counting on its convenience factor to lure me in. I know it’s more expensive, but the quality is better. What about value?

Last week, The New York TimesNate Silver dissected the value of the Whole Foods salad bar, noting that for many ingredients, the salad bar price is on average 70 percent more expensive than the same product on the shelves. That’s not a huge surprise, necessarily.

But if you’re trying to get more bang for your buck, Silver notes some things to stay away from and other items to seek out: Skip the romaine lettuce and get baby spinach or mesclun instead. Beets, one of my favorite vegetables, are among the worst values, unfortunately. Silver instead suggests indulging with sun-dried tomatoes.

What strategies have you used to keep your trip to the Whole Foods salad bar relatively affordable?

Photo of a Whole Foods salad bar by Flickr user taberandrew using an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license