The amount of buzzy and trendy foods that are littering store shelves as 2016 wraps up share a common theme: plant-based everything.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as a growing number of people are turning to foods that are organic, green, and healthy nowadays.
To get you a comfy spot on the bandwagon before it crowds, check out some of the healthy eating trends that should play prominent roles in 2017.
Seaweed is the new super veggie that’s leaving its fellow plants green with envy.
It’s been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries; today, you’ll see nutrient-rich and “sea”-stainable wakame and kelp salads on restaurant menus outside of Asian eateries. Supermarkets are similar, adding crispy seaweed snacks which have been impossibly popular, poised to exceed the sales of kale-based snacks, according to data from Mintel.
Seaweed is the bee knee’s because it’s low in calories and fat, and provides several essential nutrients: vitamins A and C, B vitamins, fiber, iron, iodine, zinc and magnesium. New, preliminary research even suggests that compounds found in seaweed can curb hunger.
Your 15 minutes of fame are over, quinoa – it’s the time of ancient grains now.
Ancient grains are being aggressively tried with by chefs, using hard-to-pronounce grains like amaranth, millet, kamut, sorghum and spelt in their dishes.
“Whole-grain flour made from ancient grains is being used in baking to make breads to desserts,” says Sanna Delmonico, a registered dietitian and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America.
While different grains will have fluctuating nutritional values, all ancient grains are minimally-processed. For the most part, they’re all good sources of protein, fiber, B-vitamins and iron, as well gluten-free (minus spelt and kamut). Diets rich with whole grains are said to reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and specific types of cancer, too.
Rigatoni (and other Pasta)
We know what you’re thinking – rigatoni isn’t a new, trendy food, since I’ve heard of it before.
Well, after slumping during the low-carb craze, pasta is making its long-awaited comeback. Data from Google shows consumers are buying and preparing more rigatoni, tortellini, penne, fusilli and linguine than seen in a long time. Top chefs are starting to feature light pasta dishes on their menus, too.
Pasta is ideal for health-conscious eaters, as the food is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, long considered the gold standard of healthy & sustainable eating. The low glycemic index common in all pastas also helps you feel full for longer, making it less likely you’ll seek post-pasta snacks or overeat.
Technology you didn’t know existed is being used to manufacture plant-based protein and fats, in order to replace the usual meat and dairy ingredients. The process yields ingredients that are nutritionally superior, and more sustainable than animal-based goods.
Algae is one such plant made through a resource-efficient fermentation process. Lipid-rich, whole algae is booming with monounsaturated fat, yet low in saturated fat, making it the perfect substitute for eggs, cream and butter in baked goods, as well as sauces, dressings and ice cream. And that’s without affecting the taste or texture.
You Might Also Like: The 5 Best Superfoods You’ve Never Heard Of
Found in abundance at your local supermarket, algae offers essential nutrients, carbohydrates, and fiber in addition to the protein and good fats.