Everyone knows at least one health-conscious foodie. Define health-conscious foodie, you ask? That guy you see in Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) inspecting the ripeness of his avocado, the woman stocking up on her weekly fix of chia seeds from the health food store, the neighbor swapping his white potatoes for sweet ones and trying to convert everyone who steps foot in his path. Maybe you are one, maybe you know one. Either way, you know what (or what not) to cook when a healthy foodie comes to dinner. And here’s a hint: dabble with coconut oil and don’t even think about enlisting anything with refined carbs or sugar.
Thanks to the increased availability of certain foods and the rise of publications interested in reporting on the latest do’s and don’t’s of the grocery industry, more and more consumers are learning the different health benefits of the foods they are putting in their mouths, and some are listening especially closely. Here are 10 foods that you can probably find in a health-conscious foodie’s pantry, just in case you want to jump aboard the bandwagon.
All hail King Kale. Yes, this vegetable has been around since the dark ages but it’s now one of hottest greens that can be found on foodies’ plates, especially if it is massaged. Raw kale previously seemed almost unpalatable due to its bitter taste and unappetizing texture, but now that chefs and foodies have discovered that massaging the vegetable with olive oil and salt can break down its tough cellulose structure, healthy consumers are all about reaping the benefits of the greens packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, B6, and calcium.
This next one’s too easy. Another fruit you can be just to find in just about any healthy eater’s grocery basket is that of the highly esteemed avocado. This is because of two words: healthy fats, otherwise known as a foodie’s best friend. Yes, one avocado packs quite a caloric punch (what up 300+ calories), but be careful how you talk about this fruit around a foodie. Nine times out of ten, they will fight back with the argument that avocados are chock full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins K, B, C, and E, along with fiber, and they’re right — but the fruit should still only be enjoyed in moderation.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Anyone who is anyone eats sweet potatoes instead of white now, right? Jump aboard the sweet potato train and avoid those processed carbs. That’s what healthy foodies say anyway, and they have a point. You won’t find many of them dabbling in white potatoes, and they likely have the health benefits of sweet potatoes memorized. Say hello to fiber, vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. The healthy eaters have done it again with this naturally sweetened carbohydrate. Consider sweet potatoes #winning.
4. Chia Seeds
Next up: ch-ch-ch-chia — and no, not the pet. If you have ever seen a foodie suffering from chia teeth, you may or may not have already gotten a glimpse of the tiny little superfood seed that we’re highlighting next on our list. Chia seeds have (somewhat) recently taken the healthy industry by storm, and to be fair, it’s for good reason. The Huffington Post reports that the seeds not only come laden in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorous, and protein — they also help combat diabetes and improve heart health. Those seeds may be small, but they are fierce.
Chia seeds admittedly take some getting used to, but sprinkling them on your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, pouring them into your smoothies, or adding them to your meat bread crust are just three examples of easy ways to hide them in your food. That’s not to say they taste terribly — some people really like them — but the crunchy texture still turns some people off.
5. Almond Butter
Almond butter takes the fifth spot as an example of a food that foodies love to love, and we once come back to the two magic words: healthy fats. Peanut butter has long been spread on sandwiches, bananas, celery sticks, and plain old spoons, but its more hipster brother, almond butter, has recently enjoyed significant popularity, and now the fan favorite PB&J is quickly being replaced with AB&J.
So, what’s better for you? That’s a loaded question, and not one that many argue has a conclusive answer. Fit Day reports that when consumers ingest almonds or almond butter, they get vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Almonds are also good fiber source and also contain protein. They provide healthy fat not typically found in foods high in saturated fats.
On the other hand, peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fats, but also is a good source of magnesium, folate, fiber, protein, and vitamins B3 and E. In the end, two tablespoons of both butters contain the same amount of calories, and both can be healthy and nutritious when enjoyed in moderation. The determining factor between the two butters lies in their ingredients, preservatives, and preparation processes, so if you’re looking to eat clean, no matter which nut butter you choose, go for the ones which have undergone minimal heat processing and have little to no added ingredients. We’ll warn you though, almond butter is generally more expensive than its less trendy counterpart.
6. Coconut Oil
Pop quiz time: what do foodies love? If you answer contains two words: healthy fats, then ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. Taking the sixth spot is a another foodie fave that comes loaded with healthy fats, and on top of that, a fruity and buttery taste: coconut oil. Many foodies have chosen to replace their butter or olive oil with this alternative and though each fat source has its pros and cons, the pros of coconut oil include its antioxidant properties, its aiding in the absorption of other minerals, and its role as a source of medium chain fatty acids, which have been shown to have many health benefits.
Consumers have been quick to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon, deeming anything cooked in coconut oil “healthy;” however, it is important to remember that the oil still is over 90 percent saturated fat, and as with everything, should only be used in moderation.
7. Brussels Sprouts
Taking the No. 7 spot are those veggies that may be smelly, but are surprisingly addicting. There’s no fighting the fact that these baby cabbages have taken both the restaurant and grocery industries by storm, and it’s all thanks to healthy foodies gobbling them up like their candy. These vegetables may have used to suffer a bad rap, but now they’re practically the only thing customers at Whole Foods can talk about, but hey, at least these ones don’t have healthy fat.
Instead, Brussels sprouts are chock full of fiber, vitamin, iron, folate, and protein. They’re also cheapest during the winter months, which is when they’re in season, so get ‘em while they’re hot. You don’t have to be a health-conscious eater to like these little babies. Roasting them in olive oil for twenty minutes can convert just any any sprouts-hater.
Up next is another green food, but this time it’s not a fruit or a vegetable — it’s algae. Yep, healthy foodies like their algae and surprisingly, you may too. Edible seaweed is now cropping up on more and more restaurants worldwide, especially in California, and consumers are praising the fiber and protein content that can be found in the salty fare. The most popular place to find seaweed is in soup or sushi, but is also can be found roasted and marketed by your neighborhood Trader Joe’s.
9. Dark Chocolate
Taking a sharp pivot we come to dark chocolate, a treat that almost anyone can palate. You might be surprised to find dark chocolate on this list, considering the title of our report is “10 Foods That Healthy Eaters Love to Love,” but fortunately for us, even the healthiest of eaters have recently taken to recognizing the health benefits of dark chocolate, and that’s something we can all be thankful for.
So, how is dark chocolate healthy? ‘Healthy’ is a stretch, but Fit Day does report that consuming a small amount of dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and may even prevent arteriosclerosis. The redeeming quality of dark chocolate is that it has antioxidants, or that which combats the molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments, and that’s why dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. The key to dark chocolate is moderation, considering healthy foodies aren’t usually the ones to condone chocolate binges, but hey, if you’re going for the goods, ask for dark at the counter.
Last but not least, quinoa, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a foodie cookbook or blog that doesn’t have at least one mention of quinoa in it. The interesting thing about this little superfood is that it actually was popularized first in poverty-stricken regions that grew the crop because it was so cheap, but now that every foodie in the world is trying to get his or her hands on it, its price has gone up — making it harder for those cost-conscious consumers to buy the grain they essentially survived on.
That’s another story for another day, but the quinoa crop is now so popular because it is both gluten-free and high in protein. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. In addition, quinoa is useful for vegans and those lactose intolerant because it is a good a source of calcium and is considered easy to digest. So, what’s not to love? Don’t ask the foodies, because they all love it. Go on and give it a try because you never know, soon enough, it could be out of your price range.