2016 Food Trends That Can Easily Be Your New Habit

by Christina Meyer-Jax MS, RD, Tastemaker in Residence

Trend-spotting in the world of food and health is one of my favorite pastimes. Is “Seaweed” the new “Kale”? Or is “Maple Water” the new “Coconut Water”?

While trends are fun to watch, the focus should be what daily habits and food rituals you embrace for long-term health. 

In fashion we learn from stylists what should be our closet staples and how to add new trends to the solid basics. There is a huge crossover with this concept in the world of food.

Hang with me and I’ll give you the food “stylist” lowdown for new foods to try and pantry staples in 2016.

2016 Food Trends to Accessorize

Some food tips that might be fun to try on for awhile, or embrace for the long-run:

  1. Seaweed- Yes its true seaweed may be the new kale. After reining as the go-to green for the last couple years, kale may be getting dethroned by seaweed. High in plant-based nutrients and a tasty umami flavor it’s a pretty versatile recipe add-on or a savory seaweed chip snack.
  2. Fermented- The age old tradition of fermenting foods for preservation and flavor is centuries in the making. What makes it a trend? We’re finding everything is game for fermenting (not just sauerkraut). Kimchi, artisan pickles, veggies, eggs, even grains are getting that pungent, earthy flavor punch. And why not? The probiotic benefits of eating fermented foods makes this a double winner.
  3. Healthy Food Fast- While Chipotle started the mainstreaming of “healthified” fast food, many other companies are following suit. Time is not always our friend when trying to eat better, so fortunately the trend of making healthy food easier to order is happening. Depending on where you live, there are some great options in the food delivery category such as Sprig that keeps eating better a smartphone tap away.
  4. Plants- They’ve always been around, but now plants are front and center and trending in new ways. For 2016 you could invest in a “Spiralizer Veggie” tool, making noodle like shapes out of squash, carrots, zucchini, etc. With a focus on feeding an ever growing planet, some new choices are plant based alternatives to animal based favorites such as Just Mayo or Beyond Meat. Or just try a new trending vegetable such as Ube, which is a purple yam common to Filipino cuisine.

2016 Food LBD’s

Just like fashion has the little black dress, so can your food. Here are my top tips for food habits to embrace for the long-run:

  1. Savoy @ Breakfast- Sugar and high carb morning meals have had their day, now it’s time to start your day with savory high fiber and protein foods. My favorite is a simple fried egg with sautéed veggies of the day. Typically includes some type of wilted greens and some Italian seasoning blend. Or double lunch it. What you eat for lunch can certainly work for breakfast.  
  2. Pulses- The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, but what the heck are they you may ask? Pulses are the nutrient rockstar category of beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas. A staple of most of the world cuisine, but seriously unrepresented in the average diet in the United States. This dry seed crop is packed with fiber and protein and versatile to whatever you want to add it too. Even smoothies (don’t knock it until you try it ☺) 
  3. Bowls are the new plate- Bowls invite you to create one-meal wonders that work together and are customizable. For breakfast they can be a mix of warm whole grain (I like quinoa), baked fruit, nuts/seeds, and dash of pureed berries. Or it could be scrambled eggs, brown rice, black beans, veggies and salsa. For lunch/dinner bowl meals you can combine a variety of vegetables with nutrient dense grains such as quinoa, farro, brown rice or soba noodles, then choose a protein source, including grilled meats, eggs, beans (our pulse friends), nuts, cheese or tofu. Top with avocado, fermented condiments, or a pureed veggie sauce! Meal mission complete.
  4. 60 minutes- The Spirited Table Eat 60 was introduced in November with a plan to carve out 60 minutes of eating together with family or friends each week. Eating is meant to be enjoyed in community and benefits of doing so never go out of style. Commit, Connect, and Celebrate 2016 as your healthful food year!