Are you a trendsetter? Do you like to keep up with the latest and greatest? Is your middle name “Foodie”? If so, or even if you’re merely curious, read on to find out what 2014 has in store for food and nutrition.
Recently, more than 500 dietitians were surveyed by Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications about 14 trends to watch for during the new year. “Trends” include fad diets (because there are always fad diets), top foods, and factors that influence what you buy. Keep in mind that all of the following are predictions: No one has a crystal ball to truly foresee what the future holds, but dietitians are a pretty savvy group (ahem), and chances are their predictions are right on the money. So, here are a few that may be of interest to you.
MyPlate still rules. MyPlate? Oh, the new government plate, right? Yes. Dietitians are still using that as a teaching tool and will likely continue to do so. The follow-up question to this is: MyPlate or another plate? MyPlate can work for people with diabetes, but there may be better “plates” out there.
Nutrition and food blogs are still going strong. I don’t know for sure how many food and nutrition blogs exist, but rest assured, they’re still going strong. People turn to blogs for information, advice, and recipes. And it’s not surprising that they do: Health and nutrition are booming topics.
Put the kale in the coconut. I’m taking liberty with a popular song title here. If you thought kale was so, well, “2013,” think again. This nutritious leafy green remains a hot ingredient for 2014, according to almost one-third of the dietitians surveyed. Coconut oil is another hot ingredient, followed by chia seeds (which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
Information, information, information. Consumers can’t seem to get enough information when it comes to health and nutrition. However, about two-thirds of what consumers believe to be true is often based on personal beliefs or anecdotal evidence as opposed to peer-reviewed research. There’s so much information out there, and unfortunately, not all of it is true (surprise, surprise).
Turning to doctors and celebrity trainers. Dr. Oz has become somewhat of household name. He’s likely not going away anytime soon. Expect to hear him, other doctors, celebrity trainers, and famous chefs impart their words of wisdom about diet, nutrition, and food in the year ahead. Remember, though, that just because they’re famous doesn’t mean they’re always correct.
Fruits and vegetables. It’s not all that glamorous, but dietitians wholeheartedly believe that one of the first steps to take if you’re trying to boost your health is to eat more fruits and vegetables.
What else can you expect in the year ahead? Here are some more trends and foods to keep an eye on.
Freekeh and teff. Never heard of them? You likely will be soon. Freekeh is an ancient grain native to the Middle East. It’s made from young wheat (so it’s not gluten free) that is put through a roasting process. Freekeh is higher in protein and fiber than many other grains, so it’s a great choice for people who are trying to control their weight and their blood glucose levels. Teff is another ancient grain native to North Africa. It’s rich in calcium and resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that can help diabetes and weight control. I’ll say it again: Grains are not bad!
Get to know cauliflower. I admit, I’m not a fan. But cauliflower is not to be overlooked. This cruciferous vegetable is high in a number of vitamins and minerals and low in calories and carbs. Try “mashed” cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes or use them in a low-carb “potato” salad.
Gluten-free is here to stay. The abundance of gluten-free foods is amazing and it will likely continue. Just remember that “gluten-free” does not automatically mean “healthful.” A gluten-free doughnut is no lower in calories, fat, and carbs than its regular counterpart.
Say hello to maple water. If you’re still trying to develop a taste for coconut water, you might be interested in the latest “water” to come along: maple water. Maple water is made from the raw sap of sugar maple trees, and it is short on calories and long on vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant-derived nutrients that may have health benefits). And yes, it has a faint flavor of maple syrup. Right now, it’s making its debut in Canada. Look for it to hit the US soon.
There are so many new and exciting food and nutrition ventures but unfortunately, I can’t address them all. Watch your local grocery stores, which may tout their own dietitians, cooking classes, and a bigger emphasis on healthful foods. Also, remember that some trends come and go. Expect a whole new batch come 2015!