Find out how the tacro, croissushi, and the classic cronut stack up.
The Croissant-Style Garlic Knot
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Let's just get it out of the way: We know that croissants aren't exactly nutritious. "None of these are health foods, but I'm certain everyone already understands this when seeking out a croissant hybrid food," says Amanda Baker Lemein, a registered dietitian. "Overall, I recommend choosing one dessert or indulgent food you truly love, enjoying it, and moving on with your regular routine."
To help you do exactly that, we decided to rank the croissant hybrids we've seen over the past few years (both wacky and mainstream) in terms of health. First up: the croissant-style garlic knot, which we're pretty sure originated at Roberta's in Brooklyn. "I would say this may be the least unhealthy option, mostly because it's one item," Lemein explains. "A garlic knot is still just a refined carbohydrate, with or without the croissant feature. In both cases, it is a simple carbohydrate, but not much else to it, unlike the other options." In other words, this hybrid's simplicity is its biggest asset.
Photo: Instagram / @robertaspizza
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Oh yes, there is a taco-croissant hybrid. "The croissant, given the amount of butter and refined carbohydrates, cannot be made healthy," says Jackie Arnett Elnahar, a registered dietitian and founder of TelaDietitian. "But if you fill it up with veggies and lean meat like in this taco, then we have a fighting chance of creating a nutritional kick." Of course, a regular taco is still healthier, but hey, sometimes you want a crazy croissant hybrid, amiright?
Photo: Instagram / @tastingtable
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This is a taco-sushi mashup, courtesy of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in California. "Rice or croissant; pick your carbohydrate for sushi," Elnahar says. "Given that the croissant is smaller in portion size and filled with omega-3–rich fish and veggies, croissant sushi can be a healthier croissant alternative."
Photo: Instagram / @meggie.j
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While this croissant tortilla might have more butter than a traditional tortilla, it's got the fact that you can customize your fillings going for it. "It's a great idea to use a crotilla at home and be creative in filling it with healthier foods, from something sweet like dark chocolate and strawberries to something savory like avocados, radishes, and watercress," Elnahar says. The best part? You can find it at Walmart, which makes it the most easily accessible of the bunch.
Photo: Instagram / @junkfoodguy
The Croissant Dog
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Who doesn't love hot dogs wrapped in pastry dough? "Although it isn't guaranteed this protein will be totally lean or of high quality, the protein in the hot dog will help slow the absorption of the simple carbohydrates from the croissant," Lemein says. Bonus: You can totally make these at home, because really, why not?!
Photo: Instagram / @kitty_kitster
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We've got the rainbow unicorn bagel, so why shouldn't we have a croissant bagel? "Bagels are notorious for being caloric bombs, so combining this with a croissant is definitely not the best, but the cream cheese may provide a small amount of protein," Lemein says. "Plus, bagels have less added sugar than the below pastries and desserts." (BTW, here's why the rainbow unicorn trend is the pick-me-up you need.)
Photo: Instagram / @aliciafoor
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Croissant muffin, comin' at ya. "Muffins pack calories, but unlike cupcakes, they do not have a sugar frosting that adds unnecessary carbohydrates and refined sugars," Elnahar says. That's pretty much all this has going for it, though.
Photo: Instagram / @mrholmesbakehouse
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To be fair, this cupcake/croissant combo is pretty much the same thing as a muffin, Lemein says. "But with the added frosting, this makes for a pastry combo with even more sugar."
Photo: Instagram / @cupcakesbysonja
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While this might rank near the bottom of the list in terms of health, here's a pretty compelling reason to try it: "As a registered dietitian I shouldn't say this, but definitely try the original cronut and then pretty much stop there," Elnahar says. "Cronuts have more butter and fat than a traditional doughnut, but cronuts are fried in grape seed oil, a healthier oil than traditional doughnuts." #themoreyouknow.
The Croissant Ice Cream Cone
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Taking the very last spot, we've got the genius ice cream cone made out of croissant dough. "Assuming you have your choice of flavors, ice cream calories can vary," Lemein notes. "However, in this case, it is a pastry topped with another dessert, almost always with extra sugary sauces and sprinkles, which makes this the least nutritious choice." Lucky for us, there's room for indulgence in every healthy diet, so having a super-decadent treat like this one every once in a while is NBD. (For more on that idea, scope why we seriously need to stop thinking of foods as "good" and "bad.")