Top Healthy Food Trends for 2019

Mealprep, Cooking Shortcuts, Named Lettuces, Anything Bean or Lentil, Nutritional Yeast and Koji as Well as Sustainable, No-Waste and Rescue Foods Will Be Hot

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Predicting the future is risky, but it’s safe to say that attitudes towards health and wellness will continue to dominate food trends in 2019. While we might have passed peak avocado toast and kale everything, and our fascination with quinoa might have dimmed, these foods are here to stay — eating them just isn’t as Instagram-worthy. Not so is the fate of Freakshakes and Unicorn Everything — those calorie and food dye social media crazes will pass, as common sense eventually overcomes novelty.

What’s next in healthy food? I asked a few experts.

Shortcuts and timesavers

I‘m not sure when exactly Mealprep became cool. Mealprep has been practiced forever — it’s one of the reasons I can never schedule anything with my sister in law on Fridays. In recent years, making your weekly breakfast, lunch or dinners ahead, and storing them in neat containers became inspirational, aspirational and trendy. It’s a healthy, time- and cost-saving way to eat out less, and to take control over your food.

Several kitchen appliances are having their moment.

“So many of my friends are MAD for the Thermomix — hailed as the worlds smallest kitchen,” says registered dietitian Maya Feller. “It seemly does everything with little clean up. I have tasted meals made in the machine and have to say they were great.”

I’m still resisting the Air Fryer, since the thing I value most is the clear expanse of my counter space, but the promise of crispy golden texture of fried food with minimal oil is a temptation for many healthy cooks, and several of my friends have it on their wish list for 2019.

Finger on the Pulse

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“Anything bean or lentil-related is set to be your health kick for 2019,” says Caleb Backe, Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics. “Eat more plants is the mantra for any conscious millennial, and the high-protein content of pulses means they’re an easy replacement for your meat cravings.”

Nutrition expert Jody Bergeron is excited about this trend: “Pulses are an excellent source of fiber, which can be a great asset in reaching the 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men that is recommended according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Many Americans fall short on reaching these fiber intakes and pulses are a sure way to elevate those numbers. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Source, Pulses have the potential to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diverticular disease and constipation.”

Palate expanders

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The Mushroom kingdom deserves a place of honor at the healthy table, and new family members are coming to a plate near you: “You’ll see a lot more mentions and chef experimentation next year with Koji, a mold that gives soy sauce and miso its fermented flavor. It’s being used to help flavor and tenderize meats and is leveraged for its tangy taste profile,” says Liz Moskow, Culinary Director at Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) who has been tracking food trends for over 20 years.

“You’ll also see nutritional yeast, a product often only ever used by vegan movie-goers on their popcorn become a pantry staple. Both of these yeast and fungal products are starting to trend as people turn away from cheese and dairy, they’re looking to replace the flavor with similar umami flavors and experiment with ways to do that,” Liz adds.

Green revolution: Calling lettuce by its name

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In the green kingdom, Liz Moskow predicts that lettuce will be a starring not just in the salad bowl, but also in fresh-pressed juices, and that we’re about to learn the names of exotic new varieties and hydroponically grown lettuces — those will be featured proudly on menus.

Nose to tail, peel to root

Sustainable practices are hot, according to Jennifer Kaplan of the Culinary Institute of America, and interest in methods that reduce the need for natural resources like land, water, and energy — such as plant-based foods, vertically farming and lab-grown meats ­– is growing.

“Foods that ‘rescue’ food waste will also surely be on the rise,” adds Jennifer. This includes several products that excite Jennifer, such as Forager Chips (made from leftover pulp from juicing) and Toast Ale (made from surplus fresh bread that would otherwise be wasted).

Another exciting newcomer to add to this trend is O.Vine’s Wine Water, the first beverage to utilize the polyphenol-rich skins of grapes left over from wine making, and up cycle them into an alcohol-free beverage with “the memory of wine.”

What’s on your healthy trends radar?

Dr. Ayala

Originally published at

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