Healthy Food Trends
June 30, 2016  | 
 |  print »

Fancy Food Show 2016 offered a peak in to what we will be eating in the coming year as new products compete for recognition in our markets.  In the past we have been serenaded with everything kale, good for you bars with lots of mix-ins and Greek yogurt in every flavor.  Those categories continue to grow but this year some new items emerged and many were quite tasty!

Chia Seeds can be found in everything and I mean everything!  From jams to crackers & chips to beverages---chia may be tiny but it is bigger than ever.  These seeds are a potent source of omega-3s along with fiber (10 grams in 2 TBS!) and antioxidants.  The gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids helps aide in satiety making them very appealing to those who are trying to shed some extra pounds.

Beef Jerky—In keeping with the paleo push, beef jerky in all different iterations has taken the snack shelf by storm.  Jerky is lean meat (often farm-raised, antibiotic free) that has been cut in to thin strips, seasoned and dried at a low temperature.  I noticed that some products were chewy; tougher to eat but others with a higher moisture content and were very flavorful.  At about 80-100 calories and packing in 12-20 grams of protein per serving these are a great “grab and go” snack for both kids and adults. So many flavors & brands, I wish I could’ve just done a jerky tasting.  My favorite:  Lorissa’s Kitchen and Field Trip Brands

Chick Peas---Hummus flavors abounded but the chickpea has taken on some new roles.  The Good Bean has them roasted and also put in to a tasty chip with flavors like jalapeno and sweet chili.  But a real stand out was a brand called Watusee.  Sure their organic Chickpeatos beans were delicious but they are making a real mark with a chickpea “bread” crumb. Perfect as a coating for fish or chicken. For all of the gluten free eaters, this is a giant gift.

Seaweed is taking us land mammals by storm.  Edible seaweed is a class of marine algae packed with protein, fiber, minerals and bioactive compounds that may have far reaching health benefits.  The latest studies tout the potential for anticancer properties, heart & digestive health and powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.  And food manufacturers and chefs are just beginning to discover it’s culinary potential.  In addition to the flavored seaweed chips, I was introduced to a powerful shaker of seaweed by Mara that serves to enhance everything from meat to veggies to your omelet.  Put away your salt shaker and try the Mara furimake blend.

Flavored Nuts and Seeds:  In keeping with the nut craze, companies are blending new flavor profiles with nuts and seeds to create yummy snacks.  I tasted a number of sweet options but more interesting were the savory.  A company by the name of SuperSeedz has nine flavors of pumpkin seeds giving you a whopping 9 grams of protein in ¼ cup.  Eden, a long time player in the healthy food aisle also had a delicious line of organic roasted pumpkin seeds in individual serving packs.  Super choice for a mix in to yogurt or an afternoon snack. And Sunshine Nut Company from Mozambique won my humanitarian award as they offer 90% of proceeds to care for orphans and cashew farming communities making their flavored cashews even more delicious!

Fermented Foods—Kimchi Anyone? Kefir and kombucha showed a strong presence at the fancy food show and are surely becoming fermented food staples but have you given Kimchi a chance?  Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation and has been a traditional practice for a variety of cultures around the world. Using probiotic microbes, fermentation enhances absorption of the nutrients in food and improves digestion.  Mama O’s Premium Kimchi sells prepared Kimchi at Whole Foods but they have just launched kimchi paste enabling the adventurous cook to make their own at home.