Six Food Trends for 2019

Another year has come and gone. Every new year brings new ideas, technology, fashion and, yes, food. If you’re a foodie or merely interested in finding out what 2019 has in store in terms of food-finds and healthful eating, read on for six top food trends.

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1. Plant-based milks

Plant-based “milks” (sometimes called “nondairy milks”) are nothing new. But the sources of some of these milks are. For example, peruse the dairy case in your favorite food store and you might be surprised to see beverages made from oats, peas, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and walnuts. Of course, you’ll still be able to get almond, rice and soy milks, but they’ve moved over to make space for these newcomers. If you’re curious about trying any — or all — of these beverages, check out the Nutrition Facts label first. Many of these milks contain added sugar, which bumps up the calories and carbs, so go for unsweetened varieties. In addition, be aware that protein is often lacking in nondairy milks (with the exception of soy milk and pea milk). Finally, choose a nondairy milk that has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

2. Keto diet

No, keto isn’t new, but it’s still going strong. This diet remains all the rage, and if you’ve jumped on the keto bandwagon, you’ll find it much easier to stay on this eating plan, thanks to newer products and recipes that are now available. If you’re interested in trying a keto eating plan, it’s a good idea to meet with a dietitian who is knowledgeable about it and who will be supportive of you. If you stick with it, you’ll likely find that you’ll need less of some of your diabetes medicines, so keep your doctor in the loop as to how your blood sugars are doing.

3. Cannabis-infused foods

A number of states in the U.S. have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. With legalization comes a slew of foods and drinks that will be (if they’re not already) available in stores and restaurants. While the thought of cannabis-infused foods may raise a few eyebrows and seem like a cause for concern, these products are made with CBD, or cannabidiol. CBD is a non-psychoactive, non-intoxicating extract of the marijuana plant that many believe can help with a host of medical issues, including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, pain and cancer-related symptoms, including nausea and vomiting.

Restaurants are serving up cocktails, beer, smoothies, salad dressings and desserts infused with CBD. Surprised? Results from the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 What’s Hot Culinary Survey that targeted chefs and restaurateurs revealed that CBD-infused drinks are the number one food trend for 2019, with CBD-infused food coming in as the second most popular dining trend. Something to keep in mind: CBD claims don’t have a lot of credible research to back them up, with the exception of studies on epilepsy, and because CBD isn’t regulated, the quality and quantity of CBD can vary from product to product. And, it’s helpful to know that CBD isn’t legal in all 50 states (yet), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it doesn’t have an accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

4. Bread is back

If you thought bread had been banished, think again. The Facebook 2019 Topics and Trends report boldly featured bread as making a comeback. But not just any bread. More innovative processes, such as “slow carb baking” are aiming to make bread that has a lower glycemic index (meaning, a theoretical lower impact on blood sugars). And breads will feature different types of grains (some of them gluten-free). What’s trending on Pinterest? Sourdough bread, which, when made in the traditional manner, contains more antioxidants and fewer phytates than regular bread.

5. Prebiotics

Yes, prebiotics, not probiotics. Probiotics are still a food star, but they wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of prebiotics. You see, prebiotics are food for the good bacteria in your digestive tract. These good bacteria are called probiotics, and they’re found in foods such as yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut, for example. Prebiotics are, for the most part, fiber that probiotics feast on in the gut. Good sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, bananas, oats, berries, asparagus and legumes (beans and peas). Food manufacturers have started to add prebiotics to foods, such as Happy Inside cereal, and they’re bound to show up in other products, too, such as beverages and snack foods.

6. Elderberries

Elderberries are dark purple berries that grow on European elder trees. These berries have been used for centuries as a natural remedy to treat a number of ailments, based on the belief that they boost the immune system to help the body fight off the flu, the common cold and other infections. Health-food stores and pharmacies sell elderberries in the form of syrups, lozenges, capsules and gummies. And, of course, Elton John helped to popularize elderberry wine with his song aptly titled, “Elderberry Wine.” But beyond wine, syrups and capsules, elderberries have come into their own right as a food source. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C. But beware: elderberries aren’t meant to be eaten raw, as they can be poisonous (the leaves, stems and roots are poisonous, as well). Cooking the berries destroys the poisonous substance. There are plenty of websites that provide recipes for homemade elderberry syrup and other treats — including wine. You can also purchase elderberry syrup and dried elderberries at Whole Foods.

Interested in learning about additional food trends from recent years? Read “A New Year With New Foods” and “Jump on the 2016 Food Trend Bandwagon.”

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