By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
One month into the New Year, people may be looking for ways to spice up their healthy eating resolutions. A way to do this is to try some of the healthy food options expected to be trending in 2017. One year it was kale, one year it was avocado toast and now the year 2017 is bringing a new set of nutritious items expected to be in high demand.
Laura Washington, a nutritionist and manager of local Pottstown community gardens, said she sees food delivery services and community gardens being on the rise this year.
FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES
Services such as Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Green Chef deliver portioned ingredients in a box so people can make healthy meals in half the time. Washington said many of the people using such a service want to lose weight but just don’t have a lot of time to cook. The delivery service allows them to make fresh ingredient-based meals in a timely fashion since everything is already measured out. The meals are something the whole family can enjoy and there’s little waste since everything is portioned out for a set number of servings.
“It takes the challenge out of really making a gourmet meal,” Washington said.
Washington said it’s becoming very common for churches, hospitals and other organizations to use community gardens or even grow one on their property. She said hospitals in some areas are putting the gardens on rooftops or in courtyards as a healthy option for staff and patients. She said people fighting certain disorders or diseases can change their eating habits to help with the healing process. She said CSAs are also becoming quite popular which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. When residents become a member of a local CSA, they purchase a share of the vegetables the farmer grows.
Jessica Garnett, a registered dietitian with Creative Health Services in Pottstown, said food items sure to be popular this year include bone broth, vegan dishes and super greens.
Garnett said bone broth has really “blown up” in terms of popularity. Sometimes, people can even buy it already prepared at the grocery store in the section where chicken stock is sold. The broth is a savory liquid made with bones such as those from a chicken or turkey.
“It releases not only the flavors from the bone but also the nutrients from the bone,” Garnett said.
She explained that usually when you make homemade chicken soup that the bones of the chicken are used essentially making it a bone broth.
“It’s kind of funny that bone broth has just recently come out when your mom and grandma have been doing it for years,” Garnett said.
Garnett said more and more vegan restaurants are popping up in different areas which lead to more people, vegans and non-vegans, eating at such places. She said there are so many vegan alternatives such as vegan meat and cheese which makes it possible to create interesting plant-based meals. Although Garnett is a meat eater, she often makes vegan dishes because it cuts out the saturated fats that come from animal products.
“Which is never a bad thing to do whether you’re a vegan or not,” she said.
Trends like Meatless Mondays help promote making meals that are plant-based and meals where the meat doesn’t have to be the star of the plate.
“When you go vegan, you’re really bulking up on those good vegetables,” Garnett said.
Garnett said Kale has been a big health trend in past years but now people are starting see other leafy greens put together as a blend and being advertised as “super greens.” She said you can find these greens bunched together in the produce section. There are even super green smoothies and super green supplements.
Christina Fava, registered dietitian with Giant Food Stores, said she sees a lot of healthy foods trending in 2017 from spices such as turmeric to meals in a bowl.
“It’s a spice with lots of health benefits,” Fava said adding that it has anti-inflammatory effects.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and is often used in Indian dishes. It’s used to make curry and yellow mustard. The spice can be used to roast vegetables or even be added to flavor soups and eggs. Sometimes turmeric is added to milk to make something known as “golden milk,” Fava said. The milk can be soy, almond or regular cow’s milk.
MEAL IN A BOWL
Fava said a concept called “meal reconstruction” is all about being more adventurous with your meals and combining different food textures. Putting your meal inside a bowl is one way of going outside the traditional meal box. There are grain bowls which can be made with grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and farro. Then vegetables and a protein are added to the bowl. Fava said there is also something called poke bowls which combines vegetables with raw fish like tuna for a sushi type of cuisine. She said the bowls are big on the West Coast and Hawaii but are spreading to other areas of the country. Bowls are even great for breakfast when it comes to smoothie bowls which makes the traditionally drinkable meal chewable with items such as fruit and nuts.
Fava said recently there has been a big emphasis on gut health. Fermented foods have probiotics which are good bacteria that help to offset bad bacteria ingested. Fermented foods include items such as yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha tea. Probiotics help aid in digestion and to build a strong immune system, Fava said.
“All the more reason this time of year to eat more of the fermented foods,” she said.
Fava said eating sustainably is about focusing on less food waste which can be done by planning your meals, eating seasonally and locally, and freezing items so they don’t go bad. Fava said people could limit their food the waste by using as much of a vegetable as possible. She said the green tops of carrots don’t have to be thrown away but are edible and can be used in soups or salads. She said people should also be mindful of the “ugly fruit concept” which means don’t throw away a fruit just because it’s a little deformed and not perfect looking.
“You’re still going to get the nutritional value out of them,” Fava said.
LOW-CARB & FIBER-FILLED
Fava said it’s common for people trying to lose weight to say they are going to cut out carbohydrates. She said it’s not so much about cutting out all carbs but about eating low-carb foods that are filled with lots of fiber. She said fiber is really important for weight loss. Low-carb foods with fiber include beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Spiralized veggies are a great way to make healthier versions of traditionally high-carb white pasta meals. Fava said Giant Food Stores sell packaged spiralized veggies such as zucchini, yellow squash and sweet potatoes.
“It’s a great alternative to shave off some of those carbs but also to increase the fiber because you’re going to get way more fiber that way than having white pasta,” she said.
For more about Giant Food Stores including their healthy ideas shelf tag program, visit the website giantfoodstores.com. For more healthy living stories including recipes, visit the Fit for Life website www.pottsmercfit4life.com.