5 Ecofriendly Superfoods

When it comes to superfoods—those trendy products, like flaxseed and quinoa, that are touted as exceptionally nourishing—it's hard to separate the truth from the hype. Marketers ascribe miraculous but vague properties (body-cleansing, energy-boosting, potency-increasing) to the exotic superfood-based powders in supplements and smoothies, while skeptical dietitians advise against consuming too much of a single ingredient, however nutritious. But whether or not you believe that chia seeds cure cancer, there are some gems emerging from the superfood fad: obscure but delicious fruits and environmentally sound plants that haven't quite hit it big. If you're looking to indulge adventurous taste buds, these five products will get you your fix, and—who knows—maybe a better libido, too.

By Chelsea Leu

December 4, 2015

Naked Blues Corn Tortilla Chips from Way Better Snacks

WAY BETTER SNACKS' vibrant Naked Blues Corn Tortilla Chips are made from seeds that have already sprouted. That process, claims Way Better founder Jim Breen, removes the grains' protective outer layers and makes it easier for our bodies to get at the nutrients inside—antioxidants, protein, omega-3 fatty acids. Way Better's business practices are easy on the earth: The company's sprouting facility generates one garbage bag of waste each week. Nearly everything else is recycled, and the leftover seeds are given to local farmers as feed. $4 for a 5.5-ounce bag

Apple, Pumpkin, and Granola puree from Beech-Nut

Babies need all the nutrients they can get. So BEECH-NUT's baby foods are simple and power-packed, using ingredients that are lightly processed and stringently vetted to be gentle on small stomachs. Its Apple, Pumpkin, and Granola puree incorporates amaranth and barley—hailed by some as "super-grains"—into a mix of organic apples, pumpkins, oats, and a hint of cinnamon. $1.40 for a 4.25-ounce jar

Sea Salt Seaweed Snacks from Ocean's Halo

Growing up in Dallas, Robert Mock didn't eat much seaweed. When he moved to California, he discovered the sea vegetable during a search for a healthy, delicious snack for his kids—it's calcium-rich and a rare source of iodine. Now, as a cofounder of OCEAN'S HALO, Mock is something of a seaweed evangelist. "It's a really neat crop, and a sustainable one," he says. It doesn't need chemical additives or freshwater to thrive. The Sea Salt Seaweed Snacks are a light but satisfying alternative to potato chips, with only a touch of sunflower oil and sea salt. $1.50 for a package

Espresso Maca Mulberry Superfood Cereal from Vigilant Eats

After studying nutrition, Doug Siegel founded VIGILANT EATS to help people eat the same healthy cereal blends he fuels up with every morning. Espresso Maca Mulberry Superfood Cereal is one of his favorites: a concoction of organic oats, dried mulberries, cacao nibs, hemp protein, and maca powder. Maca, Siegel says, is a South American root that allegedly helps balance hormone levels, while some claim that mulberries lower cholesterol and improve digestion. Portable like an energy bar, but more filling, the cereal comes to life with water or milk. $3.70 for a 2.7-ounce cup

Bar-B-Que Jackfruit from Upton's Naturals

Grown in Asia and rich in fiber and vitamin B, the jackfruit is a green, spiky hulk of a fruit. Growers often toss out tender young specimens to make room for others to ripen, so Dan Staackmann and Nicole Sopko, owners of Chicago-based vegan-food purveyor UPTON'S NATURALS, buy the culled little ones and turn them into Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. Cooked and prepared without preservatives, it's got the texture of pulled pork, making it a perfect meat substitute in sandwiches and tacos. $5 for a 10.6-ounce pack

Photographs by Lori Eanes

This article appeared as "Super and Sensible" in the January/February 2016 print edition of Sierra.