Happy and healthy New Year Everyone! 2015 has undoubtedly filled our plates with exciting new food trends, discoveries and inventions. The food world is constantly evolving and helping to take our health to new levels. Today’s article shares with you some of the 2015 top food trends. And more importantly what exciting food trends 2016 will offer for all foodies to sink their teeth into!
Vegetables are the New Meat
You’re not imagining things if you have noticed the amount of menu space occupied by ‘sides’ slowly but surely encroaching upon the ‘meaty-mains.’ Due to consumer demand, more emphasis is being placed on vegetables as the main attraction. A little bit of meat goes a long way when it comes to health. In fact, adopting the belief that meat should ‘dress’ vegetables as opposed to the other way around is a healthy approach. Vegetables are often lacking in our diet despite knowing their necessity. Some ways to make vegetables the main attraction:
- Zucchini noodles with a tomato-lentil/meat sauce
- Roast cauliflower ‘steaks’ as a hearty salad
- Slow cooked eggplants as a hearty main
- Breakfast salads – kale, asparagus, spinach, broccolini with poached eggs
- Green smoothies
Whilst avocado toast was the trendiest food of 2015, the popularity of avocado is set to soar into 2016. In fact, avocado oil is about to take up position next to coconut and olive oil as a drizzling go to. Avocado is one of my favourite foods and its popularity should be considered a mainstay. If you’re not across the health benefits of the humble avocado, here is a convincing list:
- Avocadoes are a rich source of monounsaturated fat, healthy fats are vital for good health;
- Good source of dietary fibre, half an avocado boasts 5g dietary fibre;
- Strong antioxidant capacity – vitamin E and vitamin C beneficial for protecting against free radical damage and anti-aging; and
- Avocado oil has heat stability similar to olive oil, which makes it a suitable option for cooking at high heats.
Whilst 2015 saw us getting our mitts around tacos, 2016 is predicated to mark the rise in African cuisine popularity. If you’re not familiar with African cuisine, it’s famous for spicy slow cooked meats and stews using harissa, ras el hanout and sprinklings of dukkah. When cooked from scratch in the traditional way, African cuisine is a healthy option, especially when dining out. The cooking methods require minimal frying and instead there is a focus on steaming, grilling and cooking at low temperatures. There is also a high emphasis on pules, legumes and grains all which help with daily fibre intake. Interestingly, new research is emerging around the benefits of resistant starch, a type of indigestible fibre, for protection against risk of serious disease. When resistant starch is consumed it provides fuel for gut microbes. This allows microbes to produce short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids help protect the cells of the colon and wards against colon cancer. Legumes, lentils, chickpeas, cooked and cooled potatoes are rich sources of resistant starch and can be easily tossed into salads, stir-frys or made into mash for a health promoting meal.
Fruit Infused Water
Fruit infused water is set to be a popular pick for 2016. The look of fruit infused water doesn’t just wet tastebuds but it’s also a potent thirst quencher. A favourite combination of mine is strawberries, mint, cucumber and lime. Not only a refreshing flavour sensation but equally hydrating. Next time you’re struggling to drink enough H20 give fruit infused water a go, it makes for a perfect pick-me-up in the summer heat.
Focus on Phytonutrients
We are all aware of the term antioxidants but less aware of phytonutrients. These essential nutrients are concentrated in the skin of many fruits and vegetables and are where we get our antioxidants. Phytonutrients are believed to combat free-radical damage, have anti-aging effects, boost immunity and promote overall well-being. There is no excuse to leave phytonutrients off your plate in 2016 and thankfully they are utterly delicious. Some common phytonutrients include beta-carotene (sweet potato, carrot), lycopene (tomato, watermelon), lutein (spinach, kale) and resveratrol (grapes, red wine). Overcooking can reduce the activity of phytonutrients, try mixing up raw with lightly cooked.
Food and Technology
The relationship between food and technology is set to form a stronger bond in 2016. This doesn’t mean getting our daily energy intake from a pill. Instead, it’s about how, where and when we get our food and the use of online platforms for greater food and nutrition information sharing. This will allow for not only more options but greater accessibility to information and online communities. In fact, part of why I created my Falling in Love with Food Program was to promote learning and exploring of the health and food world from the comfort of home and to fit into any routine. If you’re looking to start 2016 in a healthy way and to belong to a like-minded online community, my FILWF program may be the right fit. To find out more click here.
Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year!