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Edible Engagements

What to nosh after some nasty nugs

For the past six weeks or so, I've been collecting answers to a survey about Pittsburghers' favorite healthy-ish munchies. I used a three-pronged approach: ask for answers on Twitter, ask for answers on Reddit, and then write those answers down. I've learned a lot, most notably that far more people than I expected eat frozen grapes on the reg. Not only was this a common answer on Twitter and Reddit, but I also found it elsewhere on the web in a number of healthy-munchie listicles. While it's not something I expected, it did back up the underlying trends of the overall field: cold is better than warm or hot, sweet is better than salty or spicy. So there you go: frozen grapes.

I received around 90 answers altogether, including submissions from me, my girlfriend, and a handful of friends. Since "healthy-ish" is a fittingly vague descriptor for this kind of deeply unscientific experiment, not all the answers are explicitly good for you. I think the general consensus is to define "healthy-ish munchies" as anything that isn't brazenly junky or fried. Do not judge.

Here's what people had to say.

1. Fruit (39)
Pretty much every fruit I could think of, plus some I couldn't, was mentioned here. Grapes, frozen or not, came out as the big winner, followed by apples, berries, and mangoes. One showoff submitted "figs." (While I did receive a number of votes for cucumbers and tomatoes and those are technically fruits, I have never cared for that scientific fact so I'm ignoring it and saving them under the vegetable umbrella.)

2. Vegetables (25)
A couple of weeks after I put out the tweet, I got an upsettingly tasty Caesar salad from a local pizzeria. This was nothing that could possibly squeak by as healthy, or even healthy-ish; it was more of a parmesan/crouton/dressing medley featuring lettuce than a salad. Nevertheless, it inspired me to change my submission to the survey and vowed to be more of a "salad guy" in 2021. Other popular veggies included cukes and tomatoes (because they're veggies), carrots, celery, and bell peppers.

3. Dips (10)
While No. 3 may seem far down the ladder in terms of actual votes, I noticed that the "hummus" bloc had the most enthusiasm for their candidate. Every vote for hummus seemed to autocomplete with a handful of exclamation points and emojis. Hummus inspires passion. Only one vote for salsa, which saddened me.

4. Nuts and legumes (8)
A lot of diversity among this crew, almost no overlaps: peanuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios (shelled).

5. Spreads (6)
Butters (peanut and almond) dominated this class, whether paired with a cracker or vegetable, or spooned out for a direct deposit.

6. Crunchy stuff (4)
Maybe my followers and I are getting older and wiser when it comes to sodium intake, because there were very few salty chips or junk food listed here. This is growth.

7. Some one-vote-only favorites: Milk (I disagree), omelets (meh), sorbet (oddly the only dessert submission), pepperoncini (like you get on a pizzeria salad?), roasted seaweed (of course), kimchi (gut health!), and lastly, green beans, which prompted someone on Reddit to respond, "Bro that's nasty" and "This is generally terrible advice." I feel that was an overreaction, but to each their own.

Bon appetit.

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