4 Food Hacks for Health

These cold winter days can bring a handful of negatives to a person’s health and physical activity. Maybe even more so for us who work in education where physical activity is minimal. It is easy to stay inside where it's nice and warm, order take out, not go to the gym/exercise, sit on the couch and eat warm high-calorie meals that can pack on the pounds. As a self-proclaimed food critic, I understand the importance of eating foods that ignite the taste buds. Eating healthier doesn't have to be bland and boring, so let me lend you a hand on some of my favorite food hacks that help cut the calories and provide nutritional substance during these cold winter months (and beyond) and also deliver on the flavor profile.

Food hack #1: Substituting ground beef with ground turkey. This is one of my favorite and easiest food hacks in the cooking realm. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than a nice grilled cheeseburger. However, if I am able to substitute ground turkey for ground beef without ruining the flavor of my dish—I’m game. Ground turkey is generally leaner than ground beef--which is a nutritional advantage and is also better for your heart! According to the USDA, a 93% lean patty that is 3-ounces contains 163 calories while a fat-free ground turkey patty contains 117 calories. Ground turkey also offers less saturated fat compared to ground beef. Consider substituting ground turkey in your chili, tacos, whole wheat spaghetti, soups, and other dishes that carry a heavy flavor. You won’t be able to tell much of a difference.

I stumbled upon food hack #2 on my own and it has become a favorite game changer for me. “Ole Extreme, Wellness High Fiber Low Carb Tortillas wraps” are 100% whole wheat and made out of flaxseed. According to the package, it has only 50 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 39% of your daily fiber needed in one tortilla. They are soft, chewy, delicious, and versatile. You can use the wraps with your ground turkey tacos, healthy deli meat wraps with veggies, almond butter and banana with honey wrap (don’t knock it till you try it), and I have even gone as far as using this tortilla for flatbread pizzas. Put your low sodium marina sauce, favorite pizza topping, low-fat mozzarella, and all the veggies you want. Cook in the oven for seven minutes and enjoy low-calorie, high-protein pizza. Some of my favorite uses for these wraps include peanut butter and jelly wraps, buffalo chicken wraps/pizza, ground turkey tacos, enchiladas, and any of your favorite foods where a wrap is utilized.  These can be found at your local Hy-Vee or Fareway, and I have even spotted them at Dollar General for approximately $4 per pack.

Food Hack #3 was revealed to me as a Secret Santa gift this past holiday season. Innofoods “Coconut Keto Clusters”. These Keto Clusters are Keto-friendly, organic, vegan friendly, and non-GMO. The Coconut Keto Clusters are made with coconut, almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. I was hesitant to try them as someone who doesn’t like eating seeds or nuts, but this nutritional snack has delivered. Seeds and nuts are a great source of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and also contain healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These Keto-Clusters are a great office snack as well as awesome additions to deserts, Greek yogurts, and cereals. If you are like me and don't particularly enjoy eating nuts and seeds, give this snack a try.

I can give thanks to TikTok for Food Hack #4 - Overnight oats. This protein-packed breakfast/snack is a blank canvas of different flavor  combinations and foods that takes your traditional boring oatmeal to a new level. Simply add oats to a glass, add in a liquid of some sort (i.e. almond milk, skim milk, coconut water, sugar-free maple syrup, etc), then add one scoop of your favorite protein powder and let your creativity begin. Some ingredients to kickstart your creativity can include peanut butter, greek yogurt, cinnamon, strawberries, coconut, apples, berries, nuts, raisins, flaxseed, chia seed, honey, chocolate chips, and so much more! The possibilities of flavor combinations are endless. Once you have your concoction mixed, cover the glass and let everything marinate together overnight. Wake up the next morning and enjoy your nutritional breakfast packed full of flavor to keep you full and energized all morning. This also makes for a quick healthy snack. Need some ideas on overnight oat recipes? A quick Google search should do the trick. Overnight oat recipes range from carrot cake, almond joy, brownie batter, pumpkin pie, peanut butter and jelly, and much more! Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.

oatmeal in a jar

(Editor's note: Craig says his Blueberry Birthday Cake Overnight Oats shown in the photo is "delish!")


Share this post:

Comments on "4 Food Hacks for Health"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment