Now that we rolled into another year, let’s take a look at some healthy hacks to simplify your lifestyle.  From eating more fruits and veggies to cooking more at home to bringing healthful snacks and lunch with you on-the-go, there are many simple changes you can make every day that will lead to big, health results.

A healthy hack that can do wonders with portion control is to use a food scale – not only does it help control how much you eat, but it tells you if you are eating enough.  Keep in mind, under eating can be just as bad as overeating from a nutritional standpoint.

A good example is protein – are you getting enough at meals?  Recent research shows that adults, especially as we get older – need at least 30 grams for protein at every meal to build and repair your muscles.  How much protein you need depends on your age, activity level, gender and muscle mass.

How much protein is in your food?  Well, it varies.  A good rule of thumb: 7 grams per one ounce of meat, poultry or fish; 6 grams of protein in a large egg, ½ cup of beans, ¼ cup quinoa; 18 grams in 6 ounce of plain Greek yogurt.

If you weigh your food (not all the time, but when cooking at home), then you can better estimate how much you are actually eating at a meal.  In this dish, if you make each meatball about one ounce – than enjoy three meatballs  (21 grams of protein) and a serving of pasta (7 grams of protein) to amp up your protein at this meal, yet go about it in a portion controlled way!  (Bison is a lean meat and high quality protein).
Bison-meatballs-.jpgWant to amp up your meatballs? Try my Bison Oat Meatballs & Penne Marinara #recipe #simplecravingsrealfood Click To Tweet Bison-meatballs-marinara-.jpg

Bison Oat Meatballs & Penne Marinara

Makes 6 servings 

1 package of Penne Rigate pasta
16 ounces (1 pound) ground bison meat
2 tablespoons low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sriracha (hot chili pepper sauce)
2 Tablespoon old-fashioned oats, uncooked

For Marinara Sauce
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 cans (15 ounces each) pureed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional for topping)


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; set aside.
  1. Meanwhile, add bison, Worcestershire, mustard, sriracha, shallot and oats to medium mixing bowl. Mix by hand until combined. Roll mixture into balls, using 1/4 cup bison mixture for each meatball. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add meatballs to skillet; brown on all sides.
  1. To make marinara sauce, heat large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add tomatoes, oregano, oil and garlic. When mixture begins to simmer, add browned meatballs; simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat if necessary to maintain simmer.
  1. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with equal amounts of meatballs and sauce. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy with a mixed greens salad.

Enjoy eating simply,