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These Food Trends Are Gonna Be Big In 2020

These Food Trends Are Gonna Be Big In 2020

Here are 12 popular food trends that are worth adding to your diet in 2020.

Food & Drink

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

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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

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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.

4. Jackfruit

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.

5. Mocktails

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Plantain Flour, Spirulina & Other Uncommon Foods To Add To Your Diet

The Foods You Should & Shouldn't Be Eating On A Plant-Based Diet

10 "Healthy" Foods That Actually, Well...Aren't

Here Are Some "Holiday Season Foods" That Are Actually Good For You

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Honey & Spice Author Bolu Babalola’s Hopeful Romance

Some may see romantic comedies and dramas as a guilty pleasure. But author Bolu Babalola indulges in the genre with no apology. “I love romance,” Babalola tells xoNecole. “I’ve always consumed romance. I’ve always read romance. I’ve always written romance,” she says. “It wasn’t even a conscious decision, it’s just a part of me. It’s just what I enjoy reading.”

In her debut romance novel Honey & Spice, Babalola follows up her debut anthology Love in Colour by once again allowing her love for all things love to bloom into a world brimming with vibrant and lively characters. In Honey & Spice, we are introduced to the character of Kiki Banjo who Babalola describes as “the resident romantic adviser” at the university where Kiki also hosts a love advice radio show for Black women on campus called “Brown Sugar.” When a mysterious man arrives at the school and sows discord amongst the ladies, it threatens to undo the work that Kiki has put into trying to lead them all down the right path in their love lives. “A confrontation ensues, an entanglement ensues, and eventually they find themselves having to fake a relationship to save both of their reputations,” Babalola says.

Babalola says that creating Kiki allowed her to write about a Black female character that is flawed. “She is messy. And she is giving romantic advice to women at the university but she doesn’t have it figured out,” Babalola says. “And it was really freeing for me to write a young Black girl like that.”

Babalola is joining a recent wave of writers who are allowing audiences to embrace Black women to be their whole complicated and imperfect selves on screen and in books. Along with debut author Raven Lelani’s hit book Luster (that Babalola describes as one of the books that made her heart beat fast,) and Insecure’s Issa who Babalola describes as a “delight” and “messy.” “She’s so gorgeous, but she’s not exactly smooth,” Bablola says.

Of course, romance is one of the many genres that suffers from its share of anti-Blackness, both with who gets to write them and the kind of characters we constantly see being loved and desired. It’s the Julia Robertses and the Meg Ryans of the world who are seen as the kind of women that society deems to be worthy of affection. While those women as some of her fave on-screen leading ladies, she also cites Vivica A. Fox in Two Can Play That Game and multi-hyphenate entertainer and rom-com queen Queen Latifah who Babalola says is “beautiful, self-possessed, sexy, deep brown skinned, and fully aware of her beauty.”

During our conversation, I was reminded of when Toni Morrison famously said that she “wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” That was one of my favorite Toni Morrison quotes,” Babalola says when I brought it up to her. “It’s a compulsion. Maybe it’s a little bit narcissistic, but I love writing those stories for my younger self,” she says. More than just herself though, Babalola feels a sense of pride every time young Black girls tell her how much her work impacts them. “When they come up to me and say they felt seen, they felt held, ‘You made reconfigure my idea of romance, and gave me hope about it,’ that makes me really happy.”

Despite the cynicism that many critics have of the romance genre, Babalola says that she doesn’t let that impact her love for the genre. “I really believe that people who think love is a weak or frivolous thing are –” Babalola pauses for a second. “–I’m trying to say they’re dumb but in a nice way,” Babalola jokes. “They really don’t have an awareness of the kind of complexity that’s within that genre, what it takes to forensically explore emotions and human vulnerability.”

While binge-watching television when she was in university, she got the idea to expand her writing skills and her love of romance to the screen. Last year, the pilot for her 30-minute hangout comedy Big Age, aired on Channel 4 in the UK. It follows the life of a Black woman who quits her lucrative law job to pursue writing all the while juggling the prospects of a budding new romance and an old flame.

“I’m a storyteller,” she says when I ask her if screenwriting was always in her cards. “Books and novels were just the first things that I gravitated to because I read books so I’m gonna write books.”

Be it on screen or in a book, Babalola’s love for stories about love and messy Black girls will always find a platform.

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