Nashville recently hosted the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, where 10,000 dietitians gathered to enjoy their favorite foods and get a taste of some of the hottest products coming to a grocery store near you in 2016. Be on the lookout for these trends:
Check Your Gut
From pills to powders, probiotics are on fire. Science is showing us that the environment in your intestinal tract could play a major role in boosting immunity, fighting disease, and providing a general sense of well-being every day. When purchasing probiotics, just be sure to read labels carefully. (I found one that contained kiwi, a fruit I am highly allergic to!)
Go With The Grain
Amaranth, quinoa, chia, and sorghum may sound like we’re talking another language, but these ancient grains were enjoyed by our ancestors, and it’s time to become familiar with what they are and how to eat them. Whole grains are satiating and a great source of fiber, and many grains, like quinoa, also provide a powerhouse of protein.
Be Naturally Sweet
The topic of added sugars will be on everyone’s lips this year. Food companies are aware that consumers are looking to control added sugar (sugar added by the manufacturer during food processing) and to focus on natural sugar (sugar that is inherently within the food, as in fruit and milk). Consumers need to become supermarket sleuths when it comes to sugar, the master of disguise, often appearing as organic cane juice, dextrose, corn syrup, and about 20 other names that basically mean “sugar.”
Grab a Salad and Go
It’s no surprise to see triple-washed salads in family-sized bags stocked in the produce aisle, but now salads are being offered in a way that leaves you no excuse for not getting in some greens. These pre-packed individual salads are chock-full of a wide range of additions to give you variety and value at lunchtime and beyond. Small packages of chia, nuts, and cheese are nestled in with the greens, but if you want to save calories, ditch the dressings and add a squeeze of lemon or your own balsamic glaze.
Get on the Greek Bandwagon
The yogurt aisle in the supermarket is growing faster than the bacteria within! Although the flavor combinations seem endless, there seems to be a throwback to plain, full-fat types that are used as a swap for fatty foods void of nutritional value, like mayo and heavy cream. The culinary use of Greek yogurt in risotto, soups, and other dishes makes it a perfect substitution at any meal or snack.
Check Your Pulse
Did you know that the United Nations proclaimed 2016 as the “International Year of Pulses”? Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, better known as lentils, beans, and peas. These foods are applauded for their ability to lower cholesterol, provide fiber and protein, and supply a host of valuable nutrients. They also happen to be delicious and versatile. They’re healthiest when cooked and added to dishes like chilis, soups, and stews, but you’ll also find them in bean pasta, chips, crackers, and other unsuspecting foods throughout your store in the coming year.
Whether it’s on, in, or with the foods we eat, don’t be afraid to enjoy nuts and seeds at each meal. With the new Dietary Guidelines for Americanscoming out at the end of this year, plant proteins will take center stage. Nuts and seeds are a delicious addition to meals and snacks, providing healthy fat that will keep you feeling fuller longer.
Chill Out at Mealtime
The frozen food aisle is booming with foods that are often as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Whether it’s frozen fruit to throw in your smoothie or complete frozen dinners to make our lives easier, bring a sweater and leave some time for the frozen food aisle when food shopping.
Shop From Your Desk
Online automated meal planning services are here to help us get a healthy homemade meal on the table. Services like Gatheredtable provide a weekly custom menu based on your personal dietary preferences. Menus are also editable, so you can make any tweaks needed, and the corresponding grocery list “auto-magically” updates as you edit your menu. These services can save you time, money, and calories as they cut down on spontaneous expenditures and make shopping faster and easier.