There are a few things that I can guarantee (with absolute certainty) will happen in the early days of this new year.
- I will not be able to successfully write 2019 on the first try — until at least April.
- I will continue to tell everyone I know that "I am going to get a gym membership when the crowds die down."
- I am going to resolve to eat better and save that money.
To help me get a jump-start on that third one (for real this time!), I consulted seven different registered dietitians for their best tips. Honestly, a lot of these seem doable. Bring it on 2018 — I mean 2019 — I'm ready for you!
1. Meal prep lunches.
"To eat better and save money in 2019, I am meal prepping on Sunday to have lunches that I can bring to my office during the week. I work downtown in a big city, so it's easy for me to order lunch out — but it's not great for my wallet! Making lunches at home saves me a ton of money and feels good too." — Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, owner of Kara Lydon Nutriton and blogger at The Foodie Dietitian
2. Make a grocery list.
"Planning meals ahead and making a grocery list before going to the grocery store is so important for both saving money and eating healthier. If I go to the grocery store without a plan, I'll end up buying random things that I don't know what to do with, which could lead to waste!" — Rebecca Elbaum, MPH, RD, CDN, CDE
3. Use an Instant Pot.
"I'm going to use my Instant Pot and slow cooker to make more beans. Though canned beans work, it's cheaper to buy pulses dry. Pressure cooking is quick and easy and allows me to add the flavors I want to the recipe — and beans freeze well. With just a little work on the front end, I can easily enjoy high-fiber, plant-based proteins throughout the winter." — Marissa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD and founder of Marisa Moore Nutrition
Buy: 6-Quart Instant Pot DUO, $98
4. Turn to the pantry.
"In 2019, I'm planning to be more conscious of the pantry meal options on hand. I was really busy this year, and spent a lot of money going out to eat because I was getting home late and didn't have anything I could quickly prepare. Having a pantry and freezer full of things — like frozen vegetables, canned beans, and pasta — means I can quickly throw meals together." — Rachael Hartley, private practice dietitian at The Joy of Eating
More on Stocking and Cooking from Your Pantry
- 10 Smart Pantry-Friendly Recipes for Lazy Cooks
- 10 Essentials to Have in Your Pantry for Better Meal Planning
5. Eat less meat.
"I'm going to eat less meat this year and more plants than ever before. Of course I still love me some turkey, steak, and chicken, but I'm going to balance it better with legume-based meals. Plant-based proteins are less expensive than animal-based ones, and they make me feel amazing. I still need to try cooking with tempeh, though! 2019 is my year to do just that! — Abby Langer, RD at Abby Langer Nutrition
"I'm going to eat mostly plant-based meals with lots of lentils, beans, and veggies! I feel a lot more energized after having a plant-based meal most days. I also plan to be more mindful of food waste, by making sure I use up fresh ingredients in a timely manner." — Nazima Qureshi, RD and founder of Nutrition by Nazima
7. Cook at home.
"Home-cooked meals are the real MVPs for anyone wanting to eat well and save money. When you're the one cooking, you're able to control which ingredients make their way into your dishes to best fit your taste preferences and nutrition needs. It's also a creative outlet and a great way to foster your culinary skills. What's better than diving into the fruits of your labor when you've finished cooking? I'm about to find out!" — Tessa Nguyen RD LDC, and founder of Taste Nutrition Consulting
What are you going to be doing this year to eat better and save more money?