We Rate The Biggest Health Food Trends of 2016

Nutrition // Jenelle Croatto // 1 December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, let’s revisit some of this year’s hottest foodie trends, and whether they’re a passing fad, or here to stay. How many have you tried this year?

Juice Cleanse Diets

No longer the domain of fancy celebs, these days it seems like everyone is doing a ‘cleanse’. With the promise of a flatter stomach, a detoxed body and energy that will have you fist-pumping the moment you leap out of bed, it’s easy to understand the hype.

We love a fresh juice – particularly if it’s based on vegetables and uses only a little fruit for sweetness, but an all-out juice diet is no magic bullet.  Downing bottles of juice for days (possibly weeks!) at a time will see you miss out on essential nutrients like protein, fibre, healthy fats and a bunch of vitamins and minerals – not to mention the joy found in eating real, whole foods.

Despite costing upwards of ten bucks a bottle, the current popularity of a juice cleanse means this trend will stick around for a while. Our advice is to focus on whole foods and if you like, sip on a veggie-based juice – better still, blend your ingredients into a smoothie to retain the goodness of fibre!

Also read: Are These The 10 Worst Diet Tips Ever?

Kombucha

Long loved by health food gurus and yogis, kombucha is now the latest craze in wellness bevvies.  Kombucha is a slightly effervescent, fermented tea that contains gut friendly bacteria, B-vitamins, antioxidants – and is touted as a remedy for everything from digestive issues to cancer!

Although this fashionable tea has now received mainstream attention, it’s important to note there is little evidence to support its health claims.  While kombucha may be no magical elixir, the healthy bacteria present will likely have a positive impact on the health of your gut.

If you’re keen to give kombucha a go, be sure to stick with a store-bought product, as health concerns (nausea, allergies, even liver dysfunction!) have been raised over the home-brewed stuff.   Don’t fancy kombucha?  No problem!  Reap the same benefits by sticking to green tea and yoghurt which have the added benefit of calcium and protein.

Zucchini Noodles

The popularity of gluten free diets – and perhaps the Gwyneth Paltrow wellness tribe – have seen ‘zoodles’ become the new ‘it’ food.  Zucchini and other spiralised veggies are a simple way to lighten up a meal and eat more plant food.  We predict you’ll be seeing these funky spirals in 2017 as the spiralised veggie trend has no intention of letting up anytime soon.

However, if you’re a purist at heart and love regular noodles, keep your serve to a cupped handful for a calorie-controlled portion.  

Also read: The Truth About Gluten-Free and Weight Loss

Matcha

Wondering what’s the go with green lattes so long after St Patty’s Day?  That would be matcha – finely ground green tea leaves.  Rather than steeping leaves in hot water, the entire tea leaf is ingested and is why matcha boasts an impressive source of antioxidants and L-theanine, the compound which gives tea it’s ‘alert-yet-calm’ affect.

The green hue trend looks set to continue, with matcha smoothies, dips and baked goods making their way into the foodie scene.  Yep, you’ll also spot matcha brownies – but don’t be fooled, these are no health food!

The downside to this powdered powerhouse is that it can be a little expensive!  By all means, enjoy a matcha latte – but for your everyday brew, green tea still gets the thumbs up from us.

Also read: 6 Ways That Green Tea Can Boost Healthy Weight Loss

Locally Sourced Produce

It’s crazy to think that the typical Australian food basket travels an estimated 70,803km1, equivalent to travelling around Australia’s coastline three times!  It’s ‘food miles’ like these that have Aussies keen to source more locally grown and produced foods.  Not only does shopping locally reduce our carbon footprint, it also means support for local farmers.

We all want to make a little difference in the world, so grab your eco-friendly shopping bag and join your fellow ‘locavores’ at your nearest farmers market for seasonal produce at its nutritional peak!

Turmeric

Long before your hipster barista knew what a turmeric latte was, this ancient spice had long been prized in South Asia for its vibrant colour and use in traditional medicine. In recent times turmeric has received huge attention for it’s potential affect in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases and some cancers.  The supposed health benefits come from the active compound, curcurmin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.   

While science continues to unravel the benefits of turmeric, why not spice up your life? Use turmeric to add a pop of colour to curries and rice, season meats or sprinkle it over vegetables before grilling or baking.

Also read: 10 Food Cures to Fight Common Ailments

Smoothie Bowls

They’re a sure foodie fad – and they’re FUN!  The smoothie bowl has dominated food trends this year (just search #smoothiebowl on Instagram to see what we mean) and the trend doesn’t look to be going anywhere for 2017.

If a bowl is what it takes to up your fruit and veg, then its time to ditch the mason jar (so 2015!), grab a spoon and dig in. But before you do, be sure to take a quick snap and admire your work of art.  

Cauliflower

Kale enjoyed its time in the limelight, but 2016 has seen the rise of a new vegetable superstar – cauliflower! Once thought of as bland and boring, cauliflower now shines in its own right and can be used as an alternative for everything from pizza bases, rice, mash, dips, fritters and can even be found going incognito as a creamy cheese sauce!

The rice-imposter trend is hugely popular and has strong staying power for 2017.  And, if you’re keen to really showcase your trendy know-how, try out turmeric-roasted cauliflower. Yum!

Also read: Free Recipe: Chickpea & Cauliflower Curry

Bone Broth

Paleo trends have seen mugs of bone broth be sipped from San Fran to Bondi.  A quick online search will have you believe this trendy broth will reduce cellulite, overcome food allergies and cure arthritis – but do the claims live up?

Bone broth is essentially the cool kids’ term for stock that has been made from bones and left to slow cook for 24-48 hours – resulting in a greater concentration of nutrients than standard stock.

While bone broth makes for a great warming drink, and does have some nutritional value, the evidence isn’t there to back up its cure-all claims.  Although the warmer months may see bone broth take a back seat, this trend will likely stick around for a while.  So, if you’re keen to join the bone broth club, have a go at making your own as the commercial bought kind can be a little high on the salt.

Meat Free Mondays

We love this trend!  Even if you fancy an omnivore diet (and it’s perfectly fine to do so), your health, wallet and the environment are all set to benefit from passing on meat at least once a week.  While meat offers a superb source of nutrition, the truth is most meat-lovers eat far too much.

‘Meat Free Mondays’ is a simple way to eat more plant foods, lower the risk of chronic disease and expand your recipe repertoire using nutritious alternatives to meat.  We expect the meat free trend will go the distance, and with so many environmental and health benefits to gain, it’s a trend we can all benefit from.

Also read: Top 10 Non-Meat High Protein Foods PLUS a Free Recipe 

References

1 Abraham, A.B & Gaballa, S. (2008). ‘Food Miles in Australia: A preliminary study of Melbourne Victoria’.  CERES Community Environment Park, East Brunswick, Victoria. 

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