As we begin each new year, several forecasters present trend lists that will be popular in the coming months in many areas. Food is no exception. Of course, not all food trends that are predicted actually thrive, and not all should.
Consumer Reports’ food and nutrition experts analyzed some of the predictions for 2018 and gave their opinion on which ones should you include in your healthy diet and which ones should you ignore.
Chocolate for breakfast
Eating sweet things in the morning is nothing new. But the results of a 2017 study that showed that people who eat chocolate at least once a week have better results in memory and concentration tests, have some trend promoters authorizing people to eat cake, cookies and cupcakes of chocolate at breakfast.
Maxine Siegel, RD, who runs CR’s food testing lab, says: “The best breakfast is one that includes a good mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. If you want to add some dark chocolate chips to your oatmeal or yogurt, that’s fine. But a chocolate donut or a sponge cake will not give you the nutrients you need.
If 2017 was the year of vegetable burgers that are “juicy” like meat, like those of Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, 2018 is ready to be the year of the pork barbecue sandwiches made of vegetables, courtesy of jackfruit. Before it matures, this Asian fruit has a texture that is similar to minced meat, and has low sugar content.
To find out if it is a good substitute with meat flavor, CR’s professional food tasters tasted 3 flavors of Jackfruit Company: barbecue, curry and teriyaki. Then, they convened an informal panel of vegans and omnivores to hear their opinion.
In general, the 3 flavors tasted good, among which the barbecue and curry were quite spicy. The teriyaki version was a softer bittersweet dish. Some of the tasters said that the curry version species were too strong.
“Texture is a big factor here,” says Claudia Gallo, a professional chef and taster at CR. “The pieces and pieces crumbled into fibers look a lot like a very soft pork barbecue meat. The vegans on our panel were satisfied, but those who eat meat probably will not think they are eating real meat. ”
Unlike other meat substitutes, jackfruit does not have as much protein, providing only 2 grams per half cup. The same amount of chicken and tofu has 32 grams and 22 grams, respectively. “Most people get more than enough protein in their diets, but if you do not consume any animal products, do not rely on jackfruit to help you meet your protein needs,” says Siegel. “You want to make sure you eat a variety of proteins found in plants.”
Another concern with packaged products is sodium and the added sugars in the sauces. A half-cup serving had 1 to 2 teaspoons of added sugars and 220 to 500 mg of sodium.
First it was the coconut water, then the maple water. In 2018 you will see more plant-based drinks such as artichoke, cactus and cucumber. They are promoted as natural moisturizers and alternatives to energy drinks. But CR nutritionists recommend staying with the most authentic hydration drink of all: water. “Few people exercise with so much energy that they need to replenish sodium and other electrolytes,” says Amy Keating, RD, a CR dietitian. “And these specialized waters can be expensive. For example, we paid almost $ 3 for 8 ounces of artichoke water. ”
Having said that, those waters from more recent plants have fewer calories than ordinary energy drinks (25 to 30 in 8 ounces), compared to 53 from Gatorade. Many do not contain sweeteners at all or the sugars are already found naturally in plants, but some do have small amounts of added sugars. In a tasting in the CR food laboratory of some of the waters of more recent plants, the experts discovered that the taste of the particular plant was evident, but only slightly.
Cauliflower made rice
People who follow the Paleo diet and who are looking for a substitute for potatoes and pasta with less carbohydrates, started the rage for cauliflower made with rice. But now, this food trend has become a culture of the masses, where food manufacturers such as Birds Eye and Green Giant have introduced their frozen versions.
You can prepare it at home by simply grating raw or chopped cauliflower in a food processor. But the CR kitchen team discovered that packaged products, fresh and frozen, were easier to use and did not vary in flavor or nutrition from freshly prepared rice cauliflower. The 3 varieties had between 20 and 38 calories, 4 to 6 grams of carbohydrates and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per cup.
Alternative pasta made from chickpeas, lentils and other legumes are gaining ground, as people want more protein and less refined carbohydrates in their diets, in addition to continuing the trend of gluten-free foods.
These noodles have about the same amount of calories as regular pasta (200 per cup, cooked), but legume pasta has more fiber and protein content. CR is currently testing a variety of types and brands. Early results suggest that red lentil varieties are above all in terms of flavor.
Cumin instead of chocolate, beets instead of blackberries, seasoned yogurts are growing in popularity. They are an excellent source of calcium and protein, but they often have fewer calories and added sugars than fruit yogurts. Many are made from whole milk, another yogurt trend that is likely to increase in 2018. If you want to try your own seasoned mix, try adding chopped tomatoes and cucumber, black seedless olives and a pinch of za’atar spice mix. Middle East to a bowl of simple yogurt. You can use this mixture instead of sauces or fatty dressings based on sour cream.
As more research comes up about the role that your microbiome (the ecosystem of good bacteria that live in the intestines) plays in your overall health, the trend of fermented foods will not only last, but probably grow. Between 2014 and 2017, supermarkets of natural products saw a 50% increase in the sale of probiotics and probiotic supplements, live bacteria and plant fibers that have been linked to a healthy microbiome. But you can also get probiotics from fermented foods, such as kefir, quimchi, Manchurian mushroom (kombucha), fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) and yogurt.
Ugly fruits and vegetables
We are all guilty of the predilection for beauty in the aisle of fruits and vegetables. But in 2018, expect to see more food producers and retailers focused on getting the deformed fruits and vegetables out of the trash and back onto your plate. Fruits and vegetables that are not sold cost $ 15 billion to supermarkets each year and contribute to the calculation of 40% of food wasted in the United States. Unlike a too-soft avocado or an apple with mold, “ugly” fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and tasty as their impeccable counterparts.
You’ll see more cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, rice, purple cereal and other foods in stores, according to Whole Foods’ list of food trends. “Mixed with other colors, vegetables and purple whole grains cause a beautiful presentation and boost the healthiness of food,” says Siegel. “The color comes from anthocyanins, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.” But check labels carefully on packaged foods, she suggests. “Cereal, chips and chips or other packaged products could have as many calories, sugars and sodium as less colorful options.”
If your Instagram wall has not yet been flooded with shots of these combos of vegetables, whole grains and protein, get ready. Bowl foods are ready to be popular again this year, and you can expect to see more of them in restaurant menus and supermarket freezers. But they are only as healthy as the ingredients they contain. “Look at what happened with salads, some have as much as 1,000 calories and 1,000 mg of sodium or more,” says Siegel. “The bowls could easily go the same way.”