A new year is fast approaching, and you know what that means — setting all those 2019 goals! Maybe you’re thinking about joining a gym, saving for a big trip, or eating healthy.
While these goals might seem simple enough at the start of a new year, life gets in the way. As soon as school and work start up again, those treadmill routines and low-carb diet plans fly out the window.
We’re here to help with a list of 10 healthy food hacks.
This includes foolproof substitutions and creative ways to sneak in those pesky nutrients — without giving up the flavor! Read on to learn more.
Food Hack #1: Cauliflower Is Your New Best Friend
This bright-white, cruciferous vegetable might not seem like the hottest thing in the produce aisle but, trust us, you need to give it a shot. Cauliflower is a versatile option for a number of substitutions in a healthy diet.
Cooked and pureed cauliflower can be used as a white sauce in lieu of fattening, creamy alfredo. It can also go into pizza crust as a replacement for white flour. And let’s not forget: riced cauliflower can easily replace white or brown rice for those low-carb diets.
Food Hack #2: Meatless Mondays
Many celebs consider themselves “weekday” vegans or vegetarians and we consider this the best of both worlds. You still get to splurge on steaks and cheese, but for five days a week, you’re loading up with fruits, veggies, and grains.
But don’t freak out about the lack of protein! There are countless plant proteins to work into your diet, including garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), lentils, and quinoa.
And a huge perk? These grains are so much cheaper than chicken and beef.
Food Hack #3: Swap Out the Sugar in Baked Goods
This is one of our favorite tips and it’s especially relevant now that we’re into cooler weather and baking all the goods. Get rid of that nasty white and brown sugar, and give yourself some nutrition!
In muffins and quick breads, sugar can be replaced 1:1 with pureed Medjool dates. Just remove the pit from the dates, soak them in hot water, blend them well in a food processor, and voil?! Work into the batter just as you would with sugar.
We promise; you can’t tell a difference!
Food Hack #4: Don’t Let ‘Em Fool You
While some food distributors, like Healthy You Vending, do care about your well-being, most big stores do not. Those big-box grocery stores have one aim, and it’s not to help your waistline. They want cash money, at your expense.
Consider packaged sweet potato chips as one example. These are loaded with preservatives, sugar, salt, and chemicals. But, you can easily make these at home with your own sweet potatoes, and a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
This will save money, too!
Food Hack #5: Coconut Milk in Lieu of Dairy
Dairy is one of those controversial topics that no one can seem to agree on. But, we do know one thing: in many people, dairy causes undesired weight gain, inflammation, and upset tummy. Why not go dairy-free and see how it goes?
There are plenty of creamy, delicious substitutions for your sauces, cereals, and coffee creamers. These include soy, almond, and coconut milk. These options are all plant-based and contain various antioxidants.
Food Hack #6: Satisfy the Sweet Tooth
If you’re like us, you feel an insatiable urge for chocolate and ice cream as soon as those dinner plates are clean. But most desserts are full of unnecessary calories and offer little in the way of vitamins and nutrients.
Dried fruit, like mango or banana chips, can put an end to those cravings while still doing something good for your body. Or if you must indulge in something creamy, consider very dark chocolate or a teaspoonful of natural peanut butter.
Food Hack #7: Whip in Some Avocado
Mayonnaise is the bane of every nutritionist’s existence. It’s fattening, contains almost no nutrition, and is loaded with weird chemicals and unrecognizable ingredients. But it’s delicious, we know.
Try this: next time you’re slathering mayo on a slice of bread, grab an avocado instead. The healthy fats in avocado will satisfy that need for a creamy texture, but you’ll also be loading up on heart-healthy omegas, potassium, and vitamin C.
Food Hack #8: Commit to a Five-Minute Pause
Science tells us that it takes our brain a few minutes to recognize that we’re no longer hungry, so this is one of those healthy food hacks you just can’t ignore.
Tell yourself that you’re allowed to get a second plate of food, but only after you’ve waited for five minutes. During this time, chat with your dinner companions or drink a glass of lemon water. Chances are, you won’t be hungry after the five-minutes pass.
Food Hack #9: Adding Bulk
There’s no reason to eliminate an entire food group, but keep quantities in check.
For example, instead of eating a pound of ground beef in a bowl of chili, try adding bulk to the chili with lentils, kidney beans, and diced peppers. By doing this, you can still splurge on the beef (which is high in saturated fat) but you’re getting healthy plant proteins, too.
Likewise, make yourself a big salad with fresh greens and seasonal vegetables. Only add a sprinkling of the “bad stuff” like cheese and meats. Adding bulk will trick your brain into thinking the whole plate is a splurge.
Food Hack #10: Last On Our List of Healthy Food Hacks…
All things in moderation, right? The last healthy eating tip is that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. We all have bad days, and sometimes a cheeseburger and chocolate cake are just… necessary.
What matters is that you don’t turn a “cheat meal” into a “cheat week” or give up entirely. Move past the guilt, drink a tall glass of water, and get after those goals.
Who Doesn’t Love Life Hacks?
For more healthy food hacks and tips on living your best life, check out the rest of our site.
Our list of life hacks is sure to keep you happy and healthy as you move into the new year!