Healthy Food Trends To Look For In 2016

As we round out another year, we look ahead to 2016.  A new year means new trends for the food and nutrition industry–what’s in, what’s out and what does any of this mean to you?  Earlier this fall, U.S. News and World Report published a list of the hottest trends as reported from the recent Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2015 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.  It’s an interesting mix of food products, but I’d like to highlight a few trends that I find particularly interesting:
Pulses are beans, dried peas, lentils, and chickpeas.  A terrific source of protein and fiber, these are a wonderful substitute for meat and incredibly versatile in so many recipes.  I’m not surprised they are becoming more popular as a main food source.

Black beans courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters
Individual Salad Kits with Protein
We’re all familiar with pre-made salad kits available in the fruit and veggie section of the local supermarket.  Take it one step further and now you can grab an individual kit that not only has the chopped greens, but also contains protein sources such as diced chicken or plant protein like seeds, nuts, roasted edamame, and dried corn.  The kits also comes with a vinaigrette dressing or salsa as a topping.  It’s healthy eating on the go.

eat smart kit

Courtesy of Eat Smart
Sprinkle on More Seeds
Anywhere you would add nuts, you can go ahead and sprinkle on seeds.  These are also good sources of protein and fiber, not to mention flavorful additions.  Try adding them to your yogurt, cereals, granola, and salads.  Pumpkin, sunflower, and chia seeds are a few popular choices.

Sunflower Seeds courtesy of Simply Recipes
Packaging Tells A Story
Companies are using their packaging to better communicate to consumers about their products.  It might be about how their product is made, that there are no antibiotics used in their product, or that it’s all natural.  What’s important is that manufacturers’ are making it easier for consumers to know what they are buying.  You should understand how to read the nutrition information companies are required to provide on their labels.  Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a great information page that explains all the nutrition info provided on these Nutrition Facts Panel.
I expect as we move through 2016 more trends will pop up, but these are a few things to watch for right now.  Have a happy and healthy New Year and I’ll be back next week with a new way to look at dried plums.
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