So you’re on a health kick now, aren’t you? New year, new you. So you’re reading every health related article on the web right now, aren’t you? Well, here’s another.
We spoke with UK based Healthspan Nutritionist Rob Hobson to find out which health food trends we should all be eating in 2016 and here’s what he had to say.
1. Bowl foods
Serving food out of bowls is set to be big for the coming year as names such as powerbowls, globowls, smoothie bowls and Banzai bowls make their way to health food menus.
By adding a wholegrain, vegetables and protein to your bowl and marrying the whole thing together with an interesting dressing made with healthy oils, spices and herbs, you create a healthy balanced bowl of food. Eating from a bowl is also a good way to monitor your portion sizes, which may help with weight loss.
The bowl dish Poke (Po-Key) hits two trends as there is a growing interest in Hawaiian cuisine. This super-healthy dish is made up of diced raw tuna marinated in soy and sesame, served on a bed of wholegrains and vegetables. It will be interesting to see how restaurants interpret this dish.
This underwater plant just doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere in the eyes of the super-healthy. These nutrient dense plants are rich in minerals from the sea and especially iodine, which is used by the body to make thyroid hormones that keep cells and metabolic rate healthy.
Seaweeds also contain glutamic acid that gives a richness in flavour to dishes known as umami. Dried seaweed can be used to ‘salt’ food as well as spaghetti! Seas vegetables are also used in miso soups and other Asian dishes.
3. Matcha powder
This antioxidant-rich, powdered green tea originates from Japan and has been popular for some time now. However, the use of this powder is moving away from the teacup and onto the dinner plate as chefs work it into dishes such as dips, breads, porridge, curries and grain-based dishes such as tabbouleh to add a nutritional boost.
Matcha powder also has an umami flavour, lending itself well to savoury dishes. This powder is very rich in polyphenols such as catechins and flavanoids that act as antioxidants in the body, which is why research has linked matcha to possibly reducing the risks of certain diseases including Parkinson’s, heart disease and cancer (although more research is needed).
4. Nut milks
These lovely, creamy and dairy-free milk alternatives have been popular for a while and the best ones are made by smaller producers that simply use nuts and water with the addition of natural flavours (unlike commercially produced products with less than 5% nuts).
The New Year will see producers using a wider variety of nuts such as Brazils and pistachios as well as adding interesting flavours and ingredients with additional health benefits such as turmeric. I think we will see larger food manufacturers getting in on the act as they appear more readily on supermarket shelves. Fresh nut milks are highly nutritious and rich in protein, fibre, monounsaturated fats, B vitamins, iron and magnesium.
It’s also really easy to make your own at home – all you need is a blender, bag of nuts and water. You can add flavour using cocoa powder, vanilla and a little honey.
Last year we saw the rise of Srirachi and in 2016 it may be the turn of Sambals. These Southeast Asian sauces can pack quite a punch and recipes vary to produce a variety of flavours. You do need to go easy as they are high in salt but you only use them in small quantities.
I think we will also see people reaching for other spicy food ingredients such as harissa and Indian ghost pepper. Dried spices are a good concentrated source of minerals including iron and chilli peppers are a rich source of vitamin C and beta carotene. Chillies are also great if you’re struck with a winter cold as they can be very de-congesting.
6. Plant-based meals and “root-to-stem dining”
I think there will be even more of an interest in meat-free cooking with a greater emphasis on plant-based proteins such as lentils, beans and pulses. The concept of “root-to-stem dining” will also showcase innovative ways to use the entire plant including leaves, roots and stems.
Spiralising also seems to be here to stay as the trend for “vege-swaps” continues. Vegetable noodles include butternut squash, beetroot, courgette, asparagus and turnips and minced beef are being swapped for diced mushrooms as well as cauliflower and butternut squash steaks.
Other “on-trend” vegetables will include kohlrabi, kalettes, purslane, broccoflower as well as psychedelic vegetables including rainbow carrots, squashes and purple cauliflowers. All vegetables contain an abundance of many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients as well as helping to boost fibre intake which is lacking in many people’s diets.
For more health-related advice and news from Rob Hobson, go to www.robhobson.co.uk