The Beginner’s Guide to Edible Confetti

Don’t try to deny it – there’s something incredibly enticing about a bowl, be it of the smoothie variety or one composed of grains, that looks as though it’s been sprinkled with confetti. Aside from making for a nice picture, it just looks fun. Talk as we might about local, organic, simple, clean, honest (etc.) food, digging into something that looks like a piece of abstract art is exciting. But contrary to the sprinkles on a birthday cake, the colorful bits spicing up your next bowl of fruit and yogurt can be packed full of nutrients and healthy stuff – rejoice!

This guide leans sweet in flavor profile, so consult it when you want to spice up hot cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or leafy salads. But really, who am I to tell you what to sprinkle where? It’s a party. Let the confetti rain down.

Chia Seeds

You know about these guys – they’re what you get with a Chia Pet. These unsuspecting little black granules magically swell up and turn gooey when you get them wet, as you might know from seeing recipes suggesting you turn them into jam or pudding. They’re great for that, yes, but they bring their own subtle, nutty flavor to the table, and they have a light crunch. And chia seeds are impressive little nutrition powerhouses – they’re chock full of omega-3 fatty acids (that good heart-disease preventing stuff that’s in salmon), fiber, calcium, minerals and antioxidants. They’re called a superfood for a reason, after all! The only downside: they will get caught in your teeth, guaranteed. Make a swing by the mirror after eating some.

Coconut Flakes

The key here is to get unsweetened coconut – not the sugary stuff you used for baking (that would be cheating). Little ribbons of dried coconut are packed with fiber and manganese (good for metabolism and regulating blood sugar) and low in sugar unlike other dried fruit. The flakes have a bit of a toothsome bite to them, and they carry a delicate, buttery coconut flavor. I love them in recipes, like these addictively good energy bars, but they’re also perfect with your yogurt and granola or a bowl of muesli.

Goji Berries

Think of goji berries as the raisin’s cool, exotic cousin. They’re an attractive reddish-pink color, chewy, and have a deep, complex flavor. Just like chia seeds, they’re also full of good stuff – in this case, a ton of protein, amino acids and vitamin A. There’s nothing to say you couldn’t throw them in some cookies or whiz them up in a smoothie, but I love their chewy texture and flavor against fresh berries or stone fruit.

Cacao Nibs

If you’ve gotta have chocolate for breakfast, try a sprinkle of cacao nibs: they’re crushed up cacao beans, so they’re basically a sugarless pre-chocolate-bar product. You’ll find them entirely lacking sweetness, but with all that rich, dark chocolate flavor. Aside from their delightful crunchy texture, nibs are a great source of magnesium (good for everything from energy production to building strong bones), antioxidants and fiber. Combined with sweet fruits (strawberries are a favorite pairing) or a spoonful of peanut butter, you’ll get the sweetness plus the chocolate flavor and presto! It’s like eating chocolate chips.

Bee Pollen

With its bright yellow hue and a name that inspired scoffing (pollen? seriously? you want me to eat that?), bee pollen is the new “it” superfood/dietary supplement/energy booster. It boasts health benefits like fiber, vitamin C and iron, and it’s tasty, too. Each crumbly granule packs a punch of sweet, lightly floral flavor (much like honey, surprise surprise) – it’s perfect sprinkled on anything that involves fruit (like pie or chopped and served à la mode), dusted on a bowl of porridge or added to your lunchtime grain bowl for a hint of sweetness.