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Is Instagram making us healthier?

healthy eating recipes

When Ali Maffucci quit her corporate job to start a recipe blog in 2013, she was just a woman with a spiralizer in her Jersey City kitchen. Maffucci, 27, loved how spiralizing (AKA making noodles out of vegetables) made healthy eating less expected than, say, salads. So she took a risk and bet on it, but she didn’t have any huge goals—and didn’t really know where her site, Inspiralized, would take her.

Now, she has nearly 63,000 followers on Instagram, her own branded spiralizer, and her first cookbook debuted earlier this year.

Maffucci is one of a number of bloggers using the platform to inspire healthier food on your plate. Others like Ella Woodward, Danielle Walker, McKel Hill, Sarah Britton, and many with more humble followings, are doing the same, sharing their healthy journeys and recipes on Instagram—but making healthy living more accessible. Next to the juice bar, Instagram could be the healthiest place on the planet.

“Instagram is so visual, and part of living a healthy lifestyle is continually being inspired to make good choices,” says Maffucci. “What keeps me going every day are the followers who say, ‘You’ve helped me become healthier.’”

So how is Instagram making us all a little healthier? We spoke to some of these super popular healthy bloggers to find out what they’re up to. (Don’t even think about stepping away from those hashtags now.)

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Instagram makes healthy recipe hunting a little—okay, a lot—easier. Instead of clocking an hour on a recipe site searching for something (anything!) that looks good for dinner, on social media, the ideas come to you. Searching a hashtag, getting inspired by the so-often ridiculously gorgeous photos, and seeing if you have the ingredients lying around in your fridge, is simple. Period.

“There’s a huge demand for healthy recipes,” says Woodward, 23, who’s based in London and released a cookbook earlier this month. “Eating healthy makes you feel so amazing, it’s not totally surprising we’re all so excited about it!”

Maybe that’s why there are so many options: #CleanEating has nearly 15,000,000 posts on Instagram and #GreenSmoothie has almost 640,000, meaning it’s easier than ever to instantly find a nutritious recipe.

It makes peer pressure not such a bad thing. “If you’re thinking about eating a bag of chips and you see someone on Instagram eating frozen grapes instead—right away you think about how you can do that, too,” Maffucci says. “It’s an instant way to get inspired to be healthier on a daily basis.”

Sarah Britton is the founder of My New Roots and she agrees with Maffucci. “Seeing so many delicious-looking, healthy ideas motivates me,” says the 32-year-old based in Copenhagen, whose cookbook is being released next week. “And I think the more that nutritious food becomes part of our daily conversation, the more mainstream it will become.”

healthy eating recipes 3There’s a strong sense of community, too. In one of Woodward’s recent posts, she shared a photo of chia pudding and a side of green juice. Commenters immediately started asking, “How do you make chia pudding?” and “Where do you buy frozen acai?” Woodward says she tries to respond to every question, and commenters chat with each other, too.

“We are finally in a time of embracing real food,” Britton says. “Everyone is becoming savvier when it comes to what they’re eating and their health. It’s obvious that this is a trend. And it’s the most positive trend I’ve ever witnessed.” —Molly Gallagher

(Photos, from top: Instagram/deliciouslyella; Instagram/inspiralized; Instagram/mynewroots)