With the new year upon us, it’s time to look at what this year has in store in terms of exciting new food trends. From “ugly” produce to gourmet snacking, 2019 will leave you feeling nourished, pampered, and excited about gut-healthy foods (that aren’t probiotics.)
A cursory glance around most produce sections will reveal well-tended rows of beautiful fruits and vegetables that are free from blemishes, bruising or any other signs that they’re beginning to veer into overripe territory. Sadly, produce that is considered imperfect in any way is left to rot in landfills or warehouse floors despite being perfectly safe for human consumption. Food marketing companies are now using this sustainability snafu to sell imperfect produce at a discounted price, despite some imperfect produce looking indistinguishable from regular produce. Making the choice to implement more imperfect produce into your diet, whether they’re from your local grocery store, farmers market or CSA program, is an easy and environmentally-responsible way to incorporate an entire rainbow of sustainable ZeroPoint fruits and vegetables into any eating plan.
Not to be confused with probiotics, prebiotics are a type of indigestible plant-based fibre that the probiotics living in your large intestine feed on. Probiotics perform best when they’ve been well-fed so it’s important to include plenty of prebiotic foods in your diet in order to reap the rewards of healthy gut fauna. Examples of prebiotic foods include vegetables in the allium family (garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots), grains (oats, barley, and wheat bran), vegetables (asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, raw jicama, and dandelion greens), as well as seaweed, flaxseeds, and cocoa beans.
Gourmet healthy snack foods
The food industry has finally realized there’s a huge market for health-conscious snackers who are looking for something special - and it’s about time! Who wants to settle for plain old chips and dip when you could be enjoying baked black bean tortilla chips with pineapple and habanero salsa? Look for updated versions of favourite snack food classics such as vegetable jerky, baked chickpeas, beet and kale chips, vegan energy balls, uniquely flavoured popsicles and sorbets, and dried fruit bars.
We’ve seen almond milk and coconut milk enjoy some celebrity over the past couple of years and it’s now time for oat milk to have a turn in the spotlight. With a rich, creamy texture and mildly sweet flavour, oat milk is ideal for hot beverages (green tea lattes, mochas and golden milk are especially wonderful when made with oat milk), smoothies and blended vegetable soups. Still need convincing? Oat milk is fairly high in protein and contains the most fibre out of any milk or milk-alternative thanks to its high soluble fibre content (the kind of fibre which plays a role in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol.)
If eating less meat or exploring new cuisines is a goal of yours in 2019 then there’s no better place to start than with the world of exotic mushrooms. Intensely meaty mushrooms, such as portobello, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms can be roasted with thyme, olive oil and sea salt, added to stews and stir fries. Delicately flavoured with notes of toasted nuts and sweet butter, oyster, morel, and chanterelle mushrooms are at home in egg-based dishes, pasta, and when roasted with poultry. Enoki mushrooms, with their fragile thin stems and tiny white button tops, in soups and in both hot and cold noodle dishes.