Forget rainbow foods, move over quinoa, so long kale. The newest heart-healthy, gut-good food trends are important for you and for the planet. Here’s what's breaking big in the food world this year.
Ancient grains such as quinoa and freekeh were huge last year and now here comes a few more. Sorghum is the latest grain to be gaining popularity thanks to its gluten-free and non-GMO status, and it's the next big thing. Sorghum, like any other whole grain, can be used in a variety of ways and is similar to Israeli couscous. Then there’s teff. Higher in protein and fibre than some other grains, teff looks and tastes like a cross between flaxseed and quinoa. Also look out for einkorn, Kamut and faro, along with barley and buckwheat – all super nutritious whole grains to incorporate into your diet this year.
Seaweed and Sea Vegetables
Goodbye kale, hello seaweed. Not only is it incredibly low in calories, seaweed is also rich in nutrients that it absorbs from the sea, and it imparts that wonderfully rich umami flavour to dishes so beloved of chefs the world over. Stir it into your favourite savoury meals and you’ll be adding much needed trace elements like calcium and iron plus iodine, important for thyroid health, to your diet. Other on-trend nautical greens include kelp and spirulina, a blue-green algae.
Coconut. Coconut. Coconut
Well, this is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. We’ve already gone coconuts for coconut oil, coconut water and coconut milk, but this health food-favourite comes in many other forms— like coconut flour and coconut sugar. Coconut flour is gluten-free, high in protein and fibre, and more easily digestible than regular white flour. Coconut sugar is an alternative to agave and honey and, while no better for you than other sugars, it’s a nice alternative to your regular sweeteners.
We’re not kidding – this is a trend that is being embraced by food producers, retailers and chefs everywhere. We’re all guilty of beauty bias when picking out the best-looking produce in the market, but all the misshapen fruits and veggies go straight into the trash, contributing to an estimated 40 per cent of food waste. It’s time to get those ugly fruits and veggies back onto your plate because “ugly” produce items are just as nutritious and tasty as their good-looking counterparts.
Purple broccolini, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, rice, cereal, and other foods are appearing in stores and markets everywhere. Not only do these look gorgeous when plated, but aside from aesthetic value, the rich colour comes from anthocyanins, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers. Oh, and there’s also purple bread, which can be filed under the "Amazing New Superfood" category. It is digested slower than regular white bread, and it's pumped up with antioxidants extracted from black rice -- which gives it that unnatural purple hue. Keep an eye out for it.
Think miso, kimchi and sauerkraut. Fermented foods are used all over the globe from Japan to Germany and are chock-full of probiotics, beneficial bacterial that can help boost gut health. Pickling and fermenting are gut-friendly so foods like kombucha and Yucatan pickles are believed to help with irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, fertility, immunity, low energy and libido.
While beans, lentils and peas are nothing new, a fresh take for 2017 are chia and hemp proteins. With more and more research suggesting that eating plant-based proteins and less meat can help you live longer, vegetarian protein sources are bigger than ever. Not only that, but they are more sustainable and affordable too. From vegan protein powers to burgers, legumes like broad beans which are high in fibre and protein, will be showcased in restaurants, supermarkets and at home too (lentil bolognaise, anyone?). Look out for vegetarian butchers, the next big thing in plant-based gastronomy.
Let’s face it. Most of us are Instagram crazy. Statistics say that 40 per cent of millennials have posted photos of their food on social media channels and this trend isn’t diminishing anytime soon. If anything, it’s on the up in 2017. While boring photos of standard dishes don’t cut the mustard here, as long as it is beautiful, interesting or unusual, it’ll probably go viral. Instagram is where we found blue algae coffee, sushi burrito and rainbow bagels.
Photo credits: Thinkstock Photos
Photo captions (from left to right):
1. Buckwheat is one of the ancient grains that you should incorporate into your diet this year.
2. Other on-trend nautical greens include cuisines with kelp.
3. Coconut sugar is a nice alternative to your regular sweeteners.
4. “Ugly” produce items are just as nutritious and tasty as their good-looking counterparts.
5. The rich colour of the purple produce comes from anthocyanins, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers.
6. Fermented foods like kimchi are chock-full of probiotics, beneficial bacterial that can help boost gut health.
7. Eating plant-based proteins like chia seed and less meat can help you live longer.
8. As long as the photos of the dishes are beautiful, interesting or unusual, it’ll probably go viral on instagram.