Monica D’Agostino, a registered dietician, has become a sensation on TikTok for her series dedicated to transforming packaged meals into healthier alternatives. With a focus on convenience and nutrition, D’Agostino shares ingenious tips and tricks to elevate the nutritional value of prepackaged favorites like pizza, mac and cheese, and french fries.
In her TikTok videos, D’Agostino emphasizes that incremental changes can have a significant impact on the healthfulness and satisfaction of packaged foods, eliminating the misconception that every meal must be elaborate and cooked from scratch. She recognizes the practicality, affordability, and speed of preparation that processed foods offer compared to traditional home-cooked meals.
Rather than advocating for the complete avoidance of processed foods, D’Agostino encourages the integration of healthier components to enhance their nutritional profiles. Her TikTok series, launched in July, has garnered a following of over 700,000, underscoring the demand for her innovative approach.
One of her widely appreciated videos features a revamp of boxed mac and cheese. D’Agostino recommends substituting the butter and milk in the cheese sauce with an egg, introducing protein and healthy fats while maintaining creaminess. To add a nutritious punch, she advises pairing the mac and cheese with a cup of steamed broccoli, ensuring a balanced serving of vegetables.
Frozen pizza also receives a nutritional makeover under D’Agostino’s guidance. She advises slicing pre-cooked chicken sausage and veggies such as red pepper, red onion, and broccoli, topping the pizza before baking. This strategy elevates protein and fiber content, culminating in a more satisfying and well-rounded meal.
Inspired by fellow dietician Liv Kinkade, D’Agostino proposes a breakfast hack that involves mixing protein powder with milk and pouring it over cereal, enriching it with extra protein. Further embellishments include vitamin C-rich strawberries, hemp seeds for healthy fats, and antioxidant-laden cinnamon.
Even the beloved french fries get a healthier twist from D’Agostino. By air frying sweet potato fries until crisp, seasoning black beans, and layering them with pepper jack cheese, she crafts a nutritious foundation. Toppings like tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, and guacamole contribute flavor and fiber, enhancing the culinary experience.
D’Agostino’s philosophy centers on transforming packaged foods into balanced and gratifying meals through accessible and practical methods. Her mission is to provide healthier options for individuals who opt for the convenience of prepackaged foods without compromising their dietary requirements.