Is there such a thing as a healthy crouton?

Organic Croutons made from Quinoa

Healthy CroutonsFinally, a healthy crouton we all have been waiting for! Or wait, should I say Crounon? Why a crounon instead of a crouton? I found this brand Carrington Farms and they offer organic crounons in a cracked pepper and sea salt, garden herb and garlic and parmesan (yes it is all vegan). And the ingredients are super simple, which makes this product even more enjoyable. Most of these crounons have simply these ingredients: organic crispy puffed quinoa, organic tapioca syrup, organic quinoa flour, organic refined coconut oil, pea protein, banana powder, roasted garlic, natural flavor, sea salt. Everything is USDA organic, non gmo and gluten free as well. Literally add these to your salad for a totally guilt free addition. Why is it that by adding croutons to your salad it literally amplifies how enjoyable the salad is by like three times – at least in my book anyways! That crispy/crunch adds a whole new sensory quality to the meal plus some additional carbohydrates is hard to beat. However, whenever I add croutons I am generally worried that they are not vegan and it takes away from the fact that I am trying to eat something healthy. My thought is if you don’t enjoy salads and need to load up on croutons you might as well just enjoy a sandwich at that point. However the ingredients in standard croutons are a bit alarming – who would have thought to take a look at the ingredient list? Oh yes a vegan of course and super health conscious individual. Croutons are definitely not just “baked stale bread” take a look at the ingredients – I am sure you will be alarmed.

Wait, is a regular crouton really that bad?

If you buy packaged croutons – which I would say the majority of salad bars are packaged – it is absolutely horrifying what is in them. At least from a nutrition standpoint the extra ingredients gross me out and they are definitely not vegan. An average store bought crouton contains the following ingredients:

Bread (Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Yeast, Sugar, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid), Canola and/or Sunflower Oil (with Rosemary Extract and Ascorbic Acid [Tt Preserve Freshness]), Seasoning (Whey, Maltodextrin, Garlic Powder, Salt, Hydrolyzed Corn Soy Wheat Gluten Protein, Dehydrated Parsley, Romano Cheese Solids from Cow’s Milk [Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Corn Syrup Solids, Caramel Color, Paprika [Color], Extractive of Paprika [Color], Natural Flavors).

Salad with Healthy CroutonsIf the whey, corn syrup, canola oil and fake colors don’t bother you well then have at it then. Realistically, so many of these ingredients do NOT need to be in here – so why do companies add them? You can see with Carrington farms they opted for a healthier variety so why can’t larger corporations do the same. We all know the generic answers of cheaper ingredients means higher profit margins and cheaper ingredients can taste better and be more addictive to the consumer but in the end doesn’t YOUR health matter most to you? In my opinion the taste of something scrumptious is not worth jeopardizing your health. Especially when you are already trying to eat healthy by having a salad so then why would you add an ingredient that is completely contradictory to that and not healthy for your body?

Who made the healthy Crouton or should I say Crounon?

Salad and Healthy CroutonsJust recently I was introduced to Carrington Farms and I love finding a new brand that I can trust to purchase quality, delicious, non gmo and organic foods from. So what is the deal with the name crounon? Crounons are the non crouton. I think their recipe is so far different from a standard crouton how can you even call it a crouton? Obviously it has the same use as a crouton but the ingredients are so much healthier for you. At Carrington Farms their love of food is real and they believe that eating delicious food that is good for you should be a priority with any food company. That is why they made an organic puffed quinoa, with special seasonings and baked to perfection. You can use these “croutons” for salads, soups or even just to snack on. Upon research I did not really find a decent competitor to this unique product besides making your own croutons from scratch. There are alternative crunchy salad topping options if you are not a crouton fan such as: apple chips, pepitas, zucchini chips, roasted chickpeas, slivered almonds, coconut bacon, kale chips, cubed veggies and so many more. You can also always try to make your own crouton if you dare to mix something up in the kitchen. Anyways, finding a healthy crunch alternative for your salads could not be easier these days – so there is no excuse in keeping your salads healthy.

Author: Tessa Mini owner and trainer of Bare Health