March is National Nutrition Month! Much like the world of fashion, nutrition trends come and go throughout the years. However as the public’s hunger for nutrition knowledge grows, the trends seem to be getting healthier and healthier. For instance, last year we saw the rise of quinoa and kale along with Paleo and gluten-free diets. While those picks still remain hot for the year ahead, let’s take a look at 2014’s top 10 new nutrition trends.
- Allergy-friendly foods. Gluten-free products have become a mainstay in supermarket aisles, but as the awareness of dietary sensitivities increases be on the lookout for an influx of foods free of the top 8 food allergens including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
- Fat freedom: Since science has shown that eating less fat don’t necessarily equate to less body fat, many folks are happily ditching the low fat fad. The kind of fat you eat is key: avocados and nuts provide good fats that make them a satisfying snack, while organic, unrefined oils like coconut and olive oil make for nutritious alternatives to hydrogenated cooking oils, “light” cooking sprays, and margarine.
- Ancient grains. With the rise of gluten- and grain-free diets, many consumers have become wary of wheat. Ancient grains like amaranth, millet, spelt, and Kamut, provide a less-modified alternative to today’s modern strain, and many are naturally gluten-free.
- Say no to sugar. Yes, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are awful, but it turns out that regular sugar isn’t much better. Sugar has over 50 names and is hidden in almost every packaged food. In fact, the average American consumes about 130 pounds of sugar every year! Eating sugar is highly addictive and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity, and it causes your body to store fat – so expect to see more sugar-free options, especially those sweetened with stevia.
- Old-fashioned foods. Be it pickled, fermented, or cultured, prepping foods like your grandmother (or great-grandmother) did is coming back into fashion. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut are a great source of probiotics, which benefit digestion, and the process of fermenting actually increases the food’s vitamin content — plus they’re extremely cheap to make!
- Cuckoo for coconut. The popularity of coconut is undeniable as coconut products are popping up in stores everywhere. Coconut provides fiber and healthy fats, and can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and boost your metabolism to assist in weight loss. As an added bonus, coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer for hair and skin!
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower is having a moment, and it’s not going unnoticed. This nutritious cruciferous vegetable is low in calories, high in vitamin C, and has a mild flavor that can be used to make a myriad of healthy, alternative dishes, from pizza crust to “oat”meal.
- Whole food. Consumers are trading packaged food for “whole” foods from the earth, and are enjoying organic, eco-friendly, and local foods as well. But the whole food trends also means using the whole food in order to create less waste – be it cooking the entire vegetable, or utilizing all the different parts of the animal.
- Good greens. Take a hint from the kale craze: eating greens is the thing to do. Dark leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula, and chard, are nutritional powerhouses packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They’re extremely low calorie, very low-carb, and can be cooked or eaten raw with practically any meal.
- MIY (Make It Yourself). Less packaged food = more food making. From cooking meals at home to making your own almond milk, peanut butter, and the like, a hands-on approach seems to be the best way to stay healthy.
Have you incorporated any of these healthy foods into your diet yet? I personally have started making and drinking coconut milk kefir every day. Tasty and nutritious! What’s your favorite new nutrition trend?