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Food trends to embrace in 2017

By Fiona Bellefeuille, dietitian

As a dietitian I am always a little apprehensive about what the latest food trends will bring.  Some foods– like kale and ancient grains – are easy to endorse, while others like bugs for breakfast and “bacon wrapped everything” are more challenging.  Looking ahead to 2017, let’s explore some of the predictions for this year’s new food trends and determine which ones would be the best to embrace.

This trend is about minimizing food waste and is both healthy and environmentally-friendly. Translated into day-to-day cooking, it means eating the whole food – for example, eating both the broccoli head and stalks, or using the greens from your beets, turnips or carrots as well as the root. This way of eating will provide you with the maximum nutritional intake from your foods and help minimize food waste for our community.

From scratch cooking
As dietitians we try to encourage this every day in our practice. Processed foods are full of additives, some of which are quite unhealthy like sodium, phosphate additives and colourings. Cooking from scratch means that you are in control of what goes into your meal and you can avoid harmful additives.

Plant butchery
This is a trend featuring vegetables made to resemble meat (e.g. vegetarian ribs or bacon). Although it may end up being healthier than the meat version, I prefer my vegetables to look like vegetables, not meat.

There’s a lot of interesting research going on around the microbiome (gut bacteria), and evidence is pointing strongly in favour of high fibre foods keeping our gut bacteria healthy. Legumes are a great source of protein and fibre with none of the unhealthy fats that meat brings to the table. For a new year’s resolution, try having a vegetarian meal once or twice a week.

Will this be the 2017 super spice magic bullet? Research is indicating that turmeric may help reduce inflammation, as well as help with arthritis, cancer and diabetes. So far there is no conclusive evidence on the health benefits but adding ground turmeric or turmeric root is a tasty way to spice up your meals.

Chocolate for breakfast
A recent study showed some correlation between eating dark chocolate and improved cognitive function. Another study found that participants who ate a full breakfast, including chocolate cake, lost more weight than their counterparts who consumed a low carb breakfast.  Let’s hope these studies will not lead to chocolate cake for breakfast in place of a healthy bowl of oatmeal.  Good quality chocolate in small amounts can definitely fit in a healthy diet, but I don’t think it should make the New Year’s resolution list.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if any new and interesting trends make their debut in 2017 – as for now, happy eating!

Try this!
If you’re ready to embrace 2017’s food trends, try putting some of them together in one recipe: this dish — root-to-stem beets with quinoa and chickpeas — incorporates root to stem (using the beet roots, greens and stems), from scratch cooking, turmeric  and legumes. It also tastes great. Enjoy!

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