Why Is Jackfruit The New ‘It’ Food—And What Can You Do With It?

It seems like we’re constantly obsessing over a new ‘superfood’—and right now the one everyone’s talking about is the jackfruit, a ginormous, unique fruit that makes for a mean pulled pork substitute and packs plenty of nutrients. Intrigued yet? Here are all the details you didn’t know you needed to know about jackfruit—and a few tips for taking advantage of this trendy food.

What the Heck is a Jackfruit?

Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. Seriously, this isn’t a fruit you’ll casually carry home from the supermarket. According to Purdue University, jackfruits can weigh anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds and grow up to three feet long. Beneath its bumpy green exterior are bulbs of yellow flesh, each with a large seed inside.

You’ll find jackfruit in specialty health or ethnic food stores in the U.S., and they’re all over markets in places like India and Bangladesh. You can find them fresh, canned, or dried. (Other parts of the plant have been used for clothing dye, animal feed, building material, and glue in these parts of the world, too.) Jackfruit is stealing the spotlight right now because it’s easier to grow and maintain than some other staple crops (like wheat and corn) and thrives in a more tropical climate—a plus for environmentalists concerned about climate change and food sustainability.

The meat of the fruit has a subtle, sweet taste and contains vitamin C ,as well as B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, and B6. (Good luck finding another fruit that contains as many B vitamins!) On top of that, its seeds contain protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. A serving of jackfruit (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) is about 95 calories, with 25 grams of carbs, two grams of protein, 21 grams of sugar, and a gram of fiber.

 

How Exactly Does One Eat A Jackfruit?

Sure, it’s a fruit, but because of its mild flavor it’s a total chameleon on the plate. Sweet, savory, main dish, or dessert, the versatile jackfruit can do it. It’s a blank canvas, ready to soak up the flavor of other foods and spices paired with it—much like tofu!

The jackfruit use you may have heard about in the U.S. is an unexpected one: vegan pulled pork. The stringy texture of the fruit’s flesh makes a good stand in for meat (just keep in mind that it’s not nutritionally equivalent to an animal protein) or even some other plant-based protein sources. A serving of jackfruit contains just about two grams of protein, while an equal serving of animal protein—like fish or poultry—packs 21 grams. So don’t count on jackfruit to be a main source of protein in your meal! On the flipside, one perk of substituting jackfruit for meat is that it doesn’t contain any cholesterol or saturated fat.

Related: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

You can enjoy plain jackfruit as a snack, blend the flesh into a smoothie, slice and bake it into chips, freeze and puree it into ‘nice cream,’ or even bake with flour made from its seeds. You can also add chunks of the fruit to your next stir fry or curry dish, just as you would add tofu or a veggie! It’s a great way to add volume to your food and really help you feel full, while gaining nutrients without a lot of extra calories.

photo: Minimalist Baker

Try the trend on for size with this BBQ jackfruit recipe from The Minimalist Baker. All you need are two cans of young green jackfruit, barbecue sauce, and a few extra seasonings like paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. To bump up the protein, I’d pair this with a serving of your favorite beans (black beans provide six grams of protein per half cup) or sautéed tofu (about seven grams in three ounces).

Related: Bump up your daily intake with a plant-based protein supplement.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., C.D.N., is an award-winning author, spokesperson, speaker, consultant, and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. She has been featured on TV, radio, and print, as well as in digital media, including Everyday HealthBetter Homes & GardensWomen’s Health, and U.S. News & World Report. She is a recipient of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Media Excellence Award.

This High-Protein Shake Will Drive Peanut Butter Lovers Wild

Peanut butter goes well with pretty much anything. We’ll take it generously spread onto apple slices, with pretzel sticks, straight from the jar, or in our post-workout protein shake. (Two tablespoons pack almost eight grams of protein, after all!)

Make your next protein shake as powerful as it is tasty with this simple recipe. It also uses ground flaxseed for a boost of healthy fats, fiber, and a smidge more protein. Oh, and did we mention this shake is plant-based? Check it out:

Related: Check out Garden of Life SPORT’s vanilla plant protein. 

It’s Hot Out There—Put Your Aminos On Ice!

Getting those BCAAs in after a tough workout is a major key for muscle recovery and growth. And with amino flavors like sour candy, blueberry lemonade, and fruit punch, we have no problem glugging down the amino acids our muscles will use to rebuild.

You may not be drinking your aminos poolside this summer, but with these fun amino concoctions, you’ll feel like you’re on a resort vacation. Muscle recovery fish bowl drink, anyone? 

Related: Make your own amino slushies with one of BPI Sports’ amino supps. 

4 Whey Protein Myths—Debunked

Whether you’re a devout protein lover or a sometimes-post-workout protein shake drinker, you’ve probably wondered whether that whey protein you’re using is the be-all-end-all of protein. You might also wonder whether or not your whey supplement is even working.

To help raise your WQ (Whey Quotient), we’ve asked the experts to debunk four of the most common myths about whey protein.

1. Myth: Supplementing with whey protein alone can help you lose weight.

Fact: Anyone looking to lose weight quickly might find themselves turning to whey protein-based shakes or smoothies. Unfortunately, the supplement by itself—unsupported by a balanced diet and exercise program—probably won’t help you shed much weight.

According to The Mayo Clinic, research supports whey’s ability to increase feelings of fullness, in addition to its ability to boost energy and promote recovery—but it’s not a weight-loss quick fix. As with all weight-loss plans, there’s no magic bullet.

2. Myth: If you’re supplementing with whey protein, you can build muscle Without Going To the gym.

Fact: Whey protein is packed with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which the body needs to build muscle but cannot produce on its own. “Whey has the most potent and ideal amino acid profile for driving muscle growth, and an abundant amino acid pool is a requisite for muscle growth, but by itself, [whey] won’t give the same benefit,” says Brandon Mentore, a Precision Nutrition Coach and board-certified holistic health coach in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In other words, whey protein and workouts need to go hand-in-hand in order for you to bulk up. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism concluded that taking whey protein while doing a resistance training program “offers some benefit compared to resistance training alone.” In fact, the study shows that when supplementing with whey, there is a “greater relative gain in lean tissue mass.”

3. Myth: All whey protein products are basically the same.

Fact: The way whey is processed can vary greatly by company and manufacturer. “There are different grades of purity and processing with whey,” Mentore notes. Looking for a clean line? Try the NSF Certified True Athlete brand.

You can also try native whey (which contains leucine and important immune-boosting proteins) or grass-fed whey (which may be higher in antioxidants, and is considered more ethical and sustainable).

4. Myth: Plant-based or other protein powders won’t give you the same results as whey.

Fact: While whey definitely has its benefits, plant-based protein sources are also good choices for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone with a dairy allergy. There are plenty of plant-based protein powders out there, too. And research published in Nutrition Journal found that both whey protein and rice protein, taken after resistance training, improved body composition and exercise performance.

Thinking of switching to a plant-based protein? Plnt’s chocolate protein powder packs 18 grams of protein in one serving, while Garden of Life’s organic vanilla protein kicks it up to 30 grams in a single serving.

15 Keto Snacks For All You Fat-Fuelers Out There

The ketogenic diet, a high-fat style of eating, has grown in popularity for bodybuilders, CrossFit® lovers, low-carb weight-loss dieters, and even Pinterest recipe fanatics.

The goal on a ‘keto’ diet: To shift your body into ketosis, a state in which it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbs, explains Theresa Hennig, R.D.N., dietitian for The Vitamin Shoppe. That means cutting way back on carbs—as well as protein—and eating mostly fats.

We’re talking a lot of fat—like 75 percent of your total calories. And carbs? You’re looking at fewer than 50 grams per day, ideally somewhere as low as 30, says Hennig. Since your body can convert some protein into glucose, that needs to be cut down, too.

Because it keeps your blood sugar levels so stable, eating keto can be helpful for losing weight or managing blood sugar issues, like type 2 diabetes, Hennig says. But since many of our go-to snacks tend to be carb-y (lookin’ at you, PB-filled pretzel nuggets), snacking while on a keto diet can be a little tricky.

Eliminate the guesswork for successful high-fat snacking with these 15 keto-friendly snack ideas—because everyone needs something to munch on:

Nuts And Seeds

Nuts are a perfect food for keto eaters,” says Hennig. “They’re higher in fat and contain a little bit of protein.” A handful of walnuts or sunflower seeds will crush any hunger between meals and are incredibly portable when you’re out and about.

Cheese Cubes

Another easy-peasy keto snack staple is the star player of any appetizer platter: cheese. A serving of cheesy goodness—whether you’re a Swiss or Colby Jack kind of person—offers a dose of fat with a side of protein. And it’s just so dang delicious. Just keep those portions in check, since cheese contains protein, says Hennig.

Bacon And Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Whether you’re keto or not, bacon always sounds like a good idea. These pinwheels combine bacon with ranch seasoning, cream cheese, olives, and deli meat for a portable snack that’s loaded with flavor. 730 Sage Street’s recipe could also be perfect for that dinner party you promised to bring an appetizer to—no one even needs to know it’s keto.

No-Bake Keto Brownies

When you’re in need of something sweet—and low-carb—this keto brownie recipe from The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Karen Cooney, R.D., come in clutch. No cooking required!

You’ll need:

Heat the cream in the microwave and add the xylitol (optional). Then stir in pieces of the chocolate until it’s melted and thoroughly mixed in. Let the mixture cool off a bit. Next, add nut butter, coconut flakes, and protein powder. Mix well. Roll batter into 15 balls and store in the fridge.

Avocado

Feel free to sprinkle a little salt and pepper onto half an avocado and dig right in with your spoon for a creamy, healthy fat-packed snack. Easily our favorite green food, avocados also contain some fiber to fill you up. You can even top yours with bacon bits if you’re feelin’ feisty.

Lemon Fat Bombs

These fat bombs (bite-sized snack that deliver a dose of fat) are sweet but refreshing! KetoDiet App’s recipe incorporates fresh lemon zest into a base of coconut oil and coconut butter. Perfect for when you need a quick energy boost.

Related: 6 Fat Bombs You Don’t Have To Be Keto To Love

Cream Cheese Pancakes

Described by I Breathe I’m Hungry as “skinny fried cheesecakes,” these four-ingredient pancakes make this breakfast treat possible on a ketogenic diet. No flour, oats, or mashed banana here! We’re willing to be they’d also make for great low-carb crepes…

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Another portable staple? Hard-boiled eggs, suggests Hennig. They’re easy to make in bulk and then stash in the fridge for whenever the snack monster strikes. If you’re not a huge fan, know this: A little hot sauce goes a long way.

Keto Coffee

When you just need a little something to satisfy your belly and perk you up, blend up Cooney’s keto coffee and you’ll be ready to conquer the day—or at least the next few hours. All you need is:

Blend your three ingredients on high for about one minute, until it’s all creamy and frothy.

Cinnamon Keto Granola

This usually-carby snack just got a fat-friendly makeover. You can nosh on Keto Connect’s granola straight out of the bag or with milk. It’s made with ground flaxseed, coconut flakes, chia seeds, chopped nuts (like pecans and almonds), sugar-free syrup, and cinnamon.

Cloud Bread

Sandwiches seem like they’re off the table when you’re basically cutting most carbs out of your life. That’s where cloud bread comes in. This recipe from Fat For Weight Loss makes for a fluffy, light bread substitute. You’ll just need eggs, cream of tartar, cream cheese, and salt. One fat fueler-friendly ham and cheese sandwich, comin’ right up!

Parmesan Crisps

Keto is basically a cheese lover’s dream diet. Get your cheese fix in an out-of-the-ordinary way with these crisps from Low-Carb Yum. All you need is Parmesan cheese and an oven to bake yourself a batch of cheesy chips.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Keto Cookies

Low-carb baked goods can be tricky, but these cookies from Karen Cooney definitely get the job done.

Here’s what you need:

Fire up your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper). In a bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and let sit for five minutes to gel, if not using a regular egg. Then, in a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Then fold in cranberries and chocolate chips. Use a tablespoon to separate dough into 12 cookies. Wet hands and roll each drop of dough into smooth balls. (Dough will be very moist.) Bake cookies for about 13 minutes and cool for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cheesy Jalapeno Fat Bombs

Who said fat bombs had to be sweet or chocolate-y? These savory fat bombs from Low-Carb Yum are super cheesy and offer up a perfect balance between salty and spicy. Bacon to the rescue, yet again.

Super Seed Crackers

Seeds, spices, and water come together to allow these seedy crackers to satisfy your need for a crunchy, dip-worthy snack. The Healthy Maven’s recipe combines ground flaxseed, whole flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds with spices like dried onion, garlic, and sea salt. Spread your mixture across a baking sheet, bake for a half-hour, and dip away.

Related: Shop a variety of spices to kick up the flavor in your homemade snacks.

5 Plant-Based Protein Bars That’ll Make You A Believer

Of the bajillion protein bars fighting for your taste buds’ attention, 99.9% are made with whey. Which is great and all—unless you have a dairy allergy or eat a plant-based diet.

It’s true, the selection of plant-based protein bars is a little more limited (although it’s growing!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right grab-and-go snack to match your fitness and nutrition goals.

Kiss your whey woes goodbye—these five delicious plant protein bars could make converts out of dairy farmers.

Orgain S’mores Organic Plant-Based Protein Bar

Lower in calories than many protein bars, Orgain’s plant-based bars make for a healthy and convenient light snack. They’re low in sugar (four grams), high in fiber (six grams), and provide 10 grams of protein from a blend of peas and brown rice. And it’s not every day you find yourself a s’mores-flavored protein bar!

Garden of Life SPORT Chocolate Mint Organic Plant-Based Performance Protein Bar

The plant-based post-workout bar, Garden of Life’s performance bar packs 20 grams of protein to refuel your muscles after going hard. It’s a little higher in calories (290) and carbs (33 grams) to help replenish your body. Plus, nine grams of fiber will help you feel full for hours. The chocolate mint is our personal favorite—it’s like a healthy peppermint patty.

D’s Naturals Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip No Cow Bar

D’s has mastered a slew of unique flavors (try their blueberry cobbler bar), but this pb classic is still one of the best. Loaded with peanut-y flavor and the perfect amount of roasted cocoa nibs, this bar gets you 20 grams of protein for 170 calories. And, since 19 of its 25 grams of carbs come from fiber, it’s a good option if you’re watching your carbs.

Related: Check out all eight flavors of D’s Naturals plant-based bars.

BHU Fit Vegan Apple Chunk Cinnamon Nutmeg Protein Bar

Made with actual chunks of dried apples and just enough spice, BHU Fit’s vegan bar contains just a single gram of sugar and 20 grams of protein—but packs all the flavor of grandma’s classic pie. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world of super-sweet protein bars.

Garden of Life Fit Chocolate Fudge Organic High-Protein Weight Loss Bar

These 200-calorie bars from Garden of Life provide 14 grams of both plant protein and prebiotic fiber for a satisfying, waistline-friendly snack. Plus, it also packs a few unexpected goodies, like green coffee bean extract (to support your metabolism) and ashwagandha (to support vitality). The chocolate fudge flavor is brownie-level good—but saves you the blood sugar spike.

Related: 6 Fat Bombs You Don’t Have To Be Keto To Love