Great buy number 1: A slow cooker
Sounds simple, but slow cookers are a wonderful piece of kit. We used to work 9-5 (or later) and once we got home we 'didn't have time' or couldn't be bothered to cook properly. We ended up slinging some frozen packet dinner (pizza, quiche, kievs, nuggets etc) into the oven and wait for it to cook. That was our 'cooking'.
Since widening our horizons in terms of nutritional knowledge we have made a big step to change that and actually cook for real. The only difficulty there is it doesn't eliminate the feeling of being too tired to cook when you get home from work. Enter the slow cooker... Our slow cooker has changed the way we eat. All it takes is 15 minutes in the morning, whilst jostling for some time in the bathroom, to prepare your meal. Chop up some veg, add some juices, throw in some meat and some seasoning. Then, just put the lid on and go to work. When you get back home 9 hours later the food is beautifully cooked, tender and the house is full of the aromatics of the spices used. Lovely!
Not only that, but slow cooking can actually help improve the taste and nutritional values of food when compared to other ways of cooking. (To do with exposing the nutrients to excessively high temperatures).
So that's great buy number 1 - a slow cooker (and maybe a recipe book to go with it)
Great buy number 2 - a spice rack
This probably sounds even more simple than the slow cooker but the moment we purchased (and installed) a spice rack our attitude to food and cooking changed once again. Having a few rows of various spices all staring at you each time you enter the kitchen applies some pressure, but at the some time entices you to experiment, and gets you cooking from scratch.
Alongside an easy to follow recipe book to start with you can plan your meals for the week ahead and make sure you've got all the ingredients you need. Once you've tried a few different meals (some in the slow cooker and some not) that you've created from scratch yourself you won't want to go back. A favourite in our house is our home made cheesy chicken enchiladas. We used to love the ones that came in a packet, but not anymore. They pale in comparison!
Anyway, get yourself a spice rack and fill it up with spices. Follow some recipes for a while but then once you have a handle on how the spices work together you can ditch the recipe book and go solo! Experiment with different spice combinations and different ingredients and cooking methods. It's great fun! On that note, get your family involved. Get your children or other half to cook with you. Make it a family event. Your food will taste much nicer as a result and you'll know exactly what you're eating (no hidden processed chemicals).
There you go. 2 great buys to help improve your nutrition, lifestyle, knowledge, skills and family life. Give it a go, and see the results for yourself.