Food trends come and go. While many are fabulous, others make you scratch your head in disbelief. The healthy food trends forecast for 2016 were created to help fit into your hectic lifestyle and also enjoy indulgences (in moderation, of course). Here’s what you’ll be seeing in the upcoming year.
1. Finer Fast Food
Fast-food fare will be getting a makeover. Some new quick-service joints will be serving up delicious food with good-for-you ingredients at a reasonable cost. Better sandwiches, healthier burgers, falafel, grain bowls and tacos are all on the menu. Think places like BareBurger, Freshii and B. Good.
2. Front-Door Delivery
You will now be able to get pretty much anything delivered to your front door by using new apps. With a touch of a button, you can have groceries, meal prep, prepared meals and takeout delivered. Even food trucks will make house calls to deliver fresh food right to you. Many will also cater to healthy-eating preferences like paleo, vegan and local fare.
It’s forecast to be the year of plant protein and vegetarianism. You’ll see all types of foods made from beans, peas, lentils and nuts. There already has been a huge explosion of bean and lentil chips, but more are on the way! Chia is another ingredient you’ll be finding in your snack foods.
4. Decreasing Food Waste
About one-third of the American food supply goes into the trash. Restaurants, chefs and home cooks are looking for ways to minimize food waste. “Ugly” fruit and veggies will even make it to a prominent spot on your table — those are the fruits and veggies that are not pretty enough to show up in your grocery store’s produce aisle.
5. Kids in the Kitchen
Cooking is part of everyday life for youngsters (not something that only Mom does), and there will be more cooking shows geared toward the entire family. You’ll be seeing kids cooking side-by-side with adult chefs, as well as pint-sized food critics doing reviews and kids attending cooking camp.
6. Visual Recipes
Recipes are getting made over into pictures, Vine recipes and Instagram video recipes. You’ll also start seeing books combining recipes with essays, music or even comics.
7. Hawaiian and Tropical Food
Mai tais and pina coladas are making a comeback, along with other rum-based cocktails. Dishes with pineapples, plantains, guava and lots of coconut will be on restaurant menus. You’ll see some of the retro dishes, but also lots of creative spins.
8. Puckery Foods
The bold flavors of astringent and puckery foods will be front and center. Think greener coffees, pomegranate, unripe fruit, walnuts and Sichuan peppercorns. Sour beer will also be popular, especially since fermentation and wild yeast were very popular last year.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.