For the seventh consecutive year, Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie, breaks down the top 8 healthy food and beverage trends like a master butcher.
1) ADAPTOGEN ADD-ONS
As our society gets more and more frazzled, fried and wigged out, the need to bring balance and stabilize cortisol production is the holy grail of functional foods. Traditional herbs, roots and plant foods like holy basil, ginseng, maca, rhodiola, mushrooms, and spirulina all fall into the category and are showing up in more ready-to-consume preparations like Moodbeli’s Calming Adaptogen featuring ashwaganda and ginger, Amare’s GBX SuperFood which highlights spirulina with a gut balancing probiotic blend and Four Sigmatic with their Superfoods Adaptogen Blend, including reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, ginseng, ashwagandha, ginger and more. Just add the powder to water or your favorite nut milk or warm beverage. Stay calm and sip on.
2) ONE AND DONE
Our need to feed on the go lends itself to this big trend, where all you do is add water to make a complete, macronutrient balanced meal. Proportioning good fat to protein to carbs in the right ratio helps your body become a fat burning, metabolic super machine. You can find these replacements in vegan powder products like Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal, a USDA organic meal replacement that features 20 grams of protein, sprouted fruit and veggies and 44 superfoods. MeleShake, a grass-fed whey protein shake that gives you 35% protein, 40% carbs and 25% fat, does the macro proportions for you. Orgain offers a USDA Organic vegan Meal Powder that’s low on sugar but high on protein and fiber with only 1 g per serving. Get your real nutrition in a cup that’s better for you than one of those sugary smoothies or coffee drinks.
3) FROZEN FOOD REDUX
Frozen foods have never been the darling of the grocery store and let’s face it, never taste or look as good as the picture on the package. Now, there’s a new wave of ‘real’ food meals that take you from breakfast to dinner that are big on flavor, sustainability and quality, leaving out the garbage while staying reasonable in their sodium content. Good Food Made Simple’s breakfast burritos and enchiladas are made with cage-free eggs and artisan ingredients. Tribali Foods offers a line of frozen protein patties and sliders made from organic grass fed and finished beef, organic free-range chicken and natural pork that are heat-and-eat ready. Saffron Road takes you on a journey with their ‘world cuisine’ flavors, including a sesame ginger bowl featuring wild caught salmon that’s also certified halal. Evol‘s Nutrition Bowls offer a wellness message with each variety, like the Boost Be Well, a vegan balance of soba noodles in a creamy cashew sauce. You don’t have to give the freezer section the cold shoulder anymore.
Although seemingly basic, it’s the formula for life – H20. 2 molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Now, water is getting extra, going the distance to do more than just provide hydration for every cellular function in your body. It’s got new bennies, from delivering protein to electrolytes, antioxidants to essential amino acids and even more oxygen. O2 is an oxygenated natural recovery drink that claims to offer 7x more oxygen than tap water, 2.5x more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and with some of their varieties, a little pick-me-up from natural caffeine. Fizzique, a sparkling protein water, gets you 20 grams of whey isolate protein in one serving of their fruit flavored, ready to drink creations – with zero carbs or sugar at 80 calories per serving. Blk Water, which looks like its name, gets its pitch-black color from fulvic and humic minerals that claims to have 77 naturally-occurring trace minerals, trace elements, amino acids, and electrolytes along with natural prebiotics and probiotics – but won’t stain your teeth. You may want to ‘tap out’ from tap water entirely.
5) Baby Food Gourmet
In all of the developments behind clean, fresh food for adults and even pets, somehow the little ones got left behind, relegated to tasteless purees from a shelf-stable jar. Now, there’s a new crop of real food without preservatives available for baby to toddler’s developing palate. In fact, in my new book “Eat Like You Give a Fork,” (St. Martin’s Press, releases June 4th, 2019), I discuss why introducing a variety of real food flavors, aside from salt and sweet, are so critical before the age of 3 to encourage a lifetime of healthy eating. Purees and meals can come straight to your door from companies like Pure Spoon, who offer HPP (high pressure pasteurized) baby food puree and Nurture Life, who deliver their fresh meals for babies, kids and toddlers. Little Spoon, whose ‘Babyblends’ offer flavor and nutrient combinations to boost brain and muscle function while developing ‘adventurous’ palates, bring flavors like Blueberry Chickpea Spinach Pear Rosemary right to your baby’s mouth. You can also find USDA organic and cold-pressed Once Upon a Farm Fresh blends in the refrigerator section of grocery stores in a squeezable pouch, using ingredients like avocado, flax and hemp seeds. That way, they won’t cry at a kale salad when they sprout teeth.
6) Fit Booze
Studies show that even healthy eaters enjoy a glass or two. So now, you can have your cake-tail and eat it, too, with sustainable liquor, wine and beer options that cut down on sugar, carbs, and creepy chemicals and colors. Rather than using additives, refined sugars and artificial ingredients, Batiste “Rhum” is sweetened with 100% fresh sugarcane and no additives, made in an eco-friendly facility. FitVine, whose motto is ‘we crush grapes, you crush life,’ offers a line of wines, all weighing in at less than 1 g of sugar for the entire bottle, with reduced use of sulfites and no added artificial flavors. Square One makes a 100% USDA organic rye vodka with botanical additions like bergamot, botanical, cucumber and basil for a mood and flavor boost. Even beer is getting more conscientious with major bottlers like Budweiser, Beck’s, Corona, Michelob and Coors trimming down each skinny ‘beer pop’ to 2-4 grams of carbs per serving. Now that doesn’t mean drink the whole 6-pack, but you don’t have to blow the eating plan to blow off some steam.
7) Next ‘it’ veggie – Jicama
It looks unwieldly before it’s cut, but this exotic-sounding, crunchy veggie is gaining popularity fast for its exceptional nutrition profile and versatile usage. High in fiber, vitamin C and B vitamins, jicama used to be considered more of a ‘Mexican’ cuisine veggie (nicknamed the Mexican potato), but because of its relatively mild flavor, it’s getting a lot more mainstream attention on menus in formats like fries, slaws and salad croutons. Xica Foods, makers of jicama sticks and jicama tortillas have reported skyrocketing popularity of their products at over 50% sales increase YOY for the last two years. At about 50 calories per 1 cup serving you can almost eat with abandon when the urge to crunch takes over. Although it is considered a starchy vegetable, it is high in inulin, a soluble fiber that won’t spike blood sugar. According to Melissa’s Produce, a specialty distributor, other veggies gaining big popularity include celery root and kohlrabi. Looks like we’re getting back to our (veggie) roots.
8) Next ‘it’ superfood – Tiger Nuts
No, it’s not the male part of a tiger. Tiger Nuts aren’t actually nuts at all. They’re a tuber that grow like potatoes and carrots but the reason they’re the next ‘it’ superfood is they’re high in prebiotic fiber (trend from my 2017 report) which help probiotics do their thing while managing blood sugar, they’re rich in minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, important for brain health, and help to maintain a healthy digestive system – plus they’re low calorie and super satiating. They can be eaten whole or used to make flour or milk, with a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat to help you feel fuller, longer. ‘Fat fillers’ are a key strategy in my upcoming book, so tiger nuts make the perfect in-between-meals snack, without sabotaging your diet. You just earned your stripes.
Mareya Ibrahim, aka The Fit Foodie is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, speaker, patented inventor and 25+ year food industry veteran. She is the author of The “Clean Eating Handbook” and the upcoming book “Eat Like You Give A Fork” with St. Martin’s Press and host of the Facebook Live Show, The Real Dish. This is her 7th annual Healthy Food & Beverage Trend Report. Learn more at mareyaibrahim.com).