Don't even act like you didn't know this was coming. As we're entering the "out with the old, in with the new" portion of the 2019 program, this is when you won't be able to get online without seeing at least two articles a day on what will be trending in the new decade. However, what might be harder to find than anything else are the healthy food trends that you should take special note of.
In 2020, things will be interesting. "Interesting" in the sense of being a little all over the place, super intriguing and definitely what will require a little more effort on our parts. But if you're looking to expand your palate and also spend a little more time in your own kitchen in the new year, these are things that will help you to accomplish both goals—exquisitely and effectively so.
1.West African Foods
When I read that West African foods would be big in 2020, I immediately smiled. I know several people from Ghana and pretty much every single one of them are gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Anyway, as far as the types of foods that part of the world eats—millet, teff, fufu, yams, avocados, black-eyed peas, mangos, pineapple, ginger, lemongrass, coconut, peanut oil and the combo of tomatoes, onions and bell peppers as a base for dishes are all extremely popular.
If 2020 is the year that you want to expand your diet with something unique, another popular West African food is sorghum. It's a cereal grain that is gluten-free, rich in fiber, high in protein and iron, and is able to help with controlling your blood sugar levels. You can buy it as a grain; some people enjoy it in syrup form as well.
2. CBD Foods and Drinks
OK, so in the spirit of responsible writing, I would be remiss if I didn't share this off the rip—"CBD-Infused Food and Beverages Are Still Illegal Under US law. So Why Are They Everywhere?". From what I read, this is battle that the FDA knows that they probably won't win; especially since there are currently over 1000 CBD-infused foods and drinks available online alone. That said, yep, it is another food trend that is only going to get bigger in the new year.
And just what are the benefits of consuming foods (and drinks) that have cannabidiol—the non-intoxicating chemical compound that's found in the cannabis plant)—in it? Well, the properties in CBD are anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-spasmodic. This makes CBD great at treating pain, depression, keeping diabetes at bay, strengthening the heart and even getting rid of acne if it's consumed on a semi-consistent basis.
If you'd like to see a few examples of CBD foods, it's worth your time to read "What Are CBD Foods and Why Are They Everywhere?" A Hemp Bar or two might be just what the doctor ordered (relatively speaking).
3. Nut and Seed Butters and Spreads
If you'd like to put a spread on your toast or crackers, but you don't want it to be butter, go to your local health food store to pick up some nut or seed butters instead. Some examples of a nut butter include cashew, almond, hazelnut, walnut and, of course, peanut. Some seed butters include pumpkin, watermelon and sunflower. All are packed with protein, have their own unique flavor and are full of vitamins and minerals.
Believe it or not, jackfruit is being used more and more as a meat substitute. So, if you're vegetarian or are attempting to go vegan in the new year, this is a food that you'll definitely want to have on hand. Jackfruit contains a significant amount of vitamins A and C. It also has about two grams of protein and six grams of fiber in it per serving. Unripe jackfruit is ideal for meat-like recipes while ripe jackfruit is oftentimes put into smoothies and baked goods. As far as where to cop some, you should be able to find it pretty easily at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe's stores.
Mocktails (fake cocktails) will also be big in 2020. As I was reading a few articles on this particular food trend, some of the authors brought up a valid point. With mocktails, not only do you not have to work around the after-effects that alcohol can bring, drinking and serving them can save you a heck of a lot of money too. So, if you've got a party coming up, consider offering a couple of mocktails as alternatives. If you have no clue of where to even begin when it comes to building your mocktail mental library, this link features 50 mocktail recipes to get you started.
6. Lotus Seeds
The lotus plant is the kind of plant that is popular in parts of Southeast Asia. The seeds themselves contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, manganese, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, protein and thiamin.
As far as its health benefits go, lotus seeds have a good reputation for treating insomnia, strengthening your digestive system, fighting aging signs, healing gum disease, giving an energy boost and supporting newly pregnant moms by giving their babies what they need to have a strong nervous system.
Believe it or not, Walmart sells lotus seeds. So does Amazon. As far as how to eat them, many mash the seeds up with some sugar and salt and serve it as a paste on pancakes, etc. You can check out an easy-to-make recipe here.
7. Middle Eastern Spices
If you enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, commit to preparing more dishes from the comfort of your own home by stocking up on some traditional Middle Eastern spices. Ones that top the list include turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, Baharat, sumac, nutmeg, allspice and anise seed. If you want to impress your own damn self with your knowledge of Middle Eastern foods, also pick up some ras el hanout. It's a spice that is a combo of sweet, spicy and savory. It's so good that its name literally translates to mean "top shelf". (You should be able to find all of those at your local grocery store, by the way.)
8. Fruit and Veggie Flours
Here's the deal—when things are refined, a lot of what makes them good in the first place are removed. Such is the case with refined white flour (read "The Dark Side of White Flour"). But if you like to bake, even half as much as I do, an alternative you might want to try that just happens to be another big food trend for next year are flours that are made from fruits and vegetables. Two that are going to be getting a lot of shine are banana flour and cauliflower flour. Both contain a similar texture to refined white flour while also having the nutrients that naturally come with them. It truly is the best of both worlds.
9. Biodynamic Wine
C'mon, wine experts. You tell me what biodynamic wine is. Basically, it's the kind of wine that is prepared in such a way where it has no chemicals at all in it; not only is this kind of sustainable processing good for the planet, it's healthier for you in the long run as well. This is an alcohol trend that's been growing for a couple of years now, so it's not hard to find. But if you'd like a cheat sheet on how to get the best kind of biodynamic wine at an affordable price, check out "The Best Biodynamic and Organic Wines For Under $30".
10. Alternative Sweeteners
If there are two things that all of us could stand to consume a heck of a lot less of next year, it's dairy (eww) and white sugar (double eww). As far as sugar goes, consuming less of it doesn't mean that you can't still appease your sweet tooth. The key is to do it in a healthier fashion. Molasses is packed with iron. Coconut sugar is unrefined, so it contains all of the nutrients that coconuts do. Monk fruit is actually 150 times sweeter than sugar, which means you can use much less of it, which means you don't have to worry about accumulating as many calories as with sugar. All you need to do to enjoy date paste is to combine ¾ teaspoon of water, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a cup of dates. Mash it all up and you're good to go.
And then there's honey. Honey helps to lower cholesterol levels, is an energy booster, is a great sugar substitute for diabetics, is loaded with antioxidants and, has antibacterial and antifungal properties in it too. The best kind of honey to get is raw (unrefined) honey.
You can click here to figure out which brand would prove to be best for you.
11. Supporting Local Farmers
Another way to be more responsible with your diet is to support local farmers by going to farmers markets more often. The food is fresher, it helps to stabilize our local economies, it's sustainable, it's a wonderful way to stay connected within your community and, oftentimes it's cheaper than going to the grocery store. Everything about farmers markets are worth making a weekend run. Try and do more of that next year, will you?
12. Meal Kits
Just last week, I was talking to a male friend of mine who is the consummate bachelor. He admittedly sucks in the kitchen and shared that one of the best things that's happened to him lately are meal kits. His exact words were, "It's a lot healthier than eating out and it makes me feel like I know what I'm doing, even though I don't." If you can relate to where he's coming from, meal kits are also pretty cool because they come with all that you need to prepare a full meal in a box. If you'd like to try "meal kitting" next year—Sun Basket has a great reputation among vegetarians and Home Chef has the best reputation overall. Some other companies that are also popular include Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot.
Or, if you still want to go out, but you want to eat healthier and preferably at Black-owned establishments, check out Eboneats.
Or, if you happen to live in Georgia or New Jersey, Eat Clean Bro does meal prepping. Here's to eatin' right in 2020, y'all. For real, for real.
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