Nutrition Community

Nutrition Trends: 2014

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
01/21/14  10:16 PM PST
Locally Grown

Ring in the New Year with good-for-you food trends that will keep you in the know and in good health.

What to Eat

Ancient Grains: Move over, white rice. Quinoa, spelt, farro, amaranth, millet, barley and other whole grains are trendier and more flavorful and nutritious than refined grains, like white rice or pasta. Expect more protein and fiber with less processing. Use as a side dish or add beans or veggies for a main meal.

Nuts and Seeds: Seventy-seven percent of Americans already keep these heart-healthy treats around, to snack on or to add to meals. A 30-year Harvard study found that regular nut eaters were less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, or other causes. Sprinkle slivered almonds on your morning oatmeal, chia seeds on your afternoon salad and chopped pecans on your grain pilaf at dinner.

Fermented Foods: What do kefir, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut have in common? They’re fermented with bacteria – the kind that benefit your digestive tract and immune system. Enjoy a glass of fruit-flavored kefir, a bowl of miso soup garnished with green onions, kimchi as an accompaniment to lean beef or a turkey dog topped with sauerkraut.

Savory Yogurt: Made with vegetable puree, these up-and-coming dairy delights contain a lost less sugar than fruit yogurt. If eating carrot or tomato yogurt straight out of the carton seems counterintuitive, use it as a veggie dip, as a topping for baked potatoes, or mix it in carrot salad or coleslaw.

Spices: Spices add more than flavor to your daily diet. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric for example, is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and has anti-cancer properties. Sprinkle powdered turmeric on sautéed or steamed veggies, like cauliflower.

How to Eat

Locally-sourced: Eating local means fresher food because it’s grown or raised near you. It may also mean that the food is produced on a smaller scale, or more sustainably. Start by shopping at co-ops or local farmers markets and look for restaurants that serve local or home-grown ingredients.

Vegetarian: An estimated 47 percent of Americans eat at least one vegetarian meal a week. A plant-based diet is protective against cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Fill half your plate with colorful veggies, a quarter with fruit and a quarter with a plant-based protein source, such as tofu or black beans and brown rice.