15 January 2009

9 Developments in Food That Can Make This a Great Year for Eating Healthfully

Many food trends seem to come in the form of fads, only lasting as long as the craze over this or that new culinary innovation lasts. So they tend to change from year to year. But this year seems to promise not only the continuation and growth of food patterns from the previous year, but new and fascinating trends as well.


Home Cooking: As the family food dollar has increasingly been stretched to its max, people are returning to their home cooking roots. It makes perfect sense, because this allows so much more flexibility in food spending.

Digestive Tract Health and Probiotics: Probiotics are bacteria which are helpful to health and well being. Acidophilus which is found in yogurt and supplements, is a common Probiotic. Acidophilus and another friendly bacteria, B. Bifidum are part of the natural flora found in the small and large intestines.

Probiotics help to replenish depletions in gut bacterial flora either lost through antibiotic use, stress, or poor nutrition. They can also help fight pathogens and improve immunity. The marketplace has been immersed with all types of probiotic supplemental choices. Besides yogurt, a great probiotic alternative choice is Kefir, which is usually cow’s milk fermented with the use of Kefir grains, to a creamy ‘liquid yogurt' texture.

Sustainable and Local Food Sources: Eating locally grown and seasonal foods is becoming a growing trend. Individuals and restaurants are taking to preparing foods bought from farmers markets and local small farms. Buying from smaller farmers brings you closer to your food source and forms a more direct relationship with the people who provide your food.

Growing sustainable foods takes into account humane treatment of farm animals, ensures fairly paid workers and farmers, provides safe, healthy food for the consumer, and respects the environment. The definition can be quite expansive, since sustainable agriculture compasses so many elements. Therefore, you are likely to see variations in that definition.

Organic Foods: The new emphasis on locally grown foods has helped to fuel the organic revolution. Often times those who grow Certified Organic foods are forced to operate on a small scale because the process is so much more demanding and requires adherence to many strict stipulations. Therefore the small farm is well suited for organic food production.

Alternative Sweeteners: Alternative sweeteners like Stevia, and Agave nectar have been on the market for years as supplements. These have little to no side effects, which cannot be said for sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Stevia has recently been approved by the FDA for use as an alternative sweetener. Truvia, a new sweetener on the market, uses Stevia. Stevia itself is available in powder or liquid form from natural food stores or online, has no calories, and is significantly sweeter than sugar.

Taste, Taste, Taste! People are increasingly demanding more exciting and exotic flavors in their foods, whether they are dining out or eating in. Experimenting with different herbs and spices is becoming a bigger part of cooking.

Ready Made Meals: Organic, ethnic, healthy, tasteful are only some of the words to describe the class of ready-made-meals now available on the food market. It’s just fascinating to see the quality and variety of these meals in the frozen food aisle, and with all the other food trends going on, more variety is likely for the near future.

More Food/Nutrition Focused Eating vs. Dieting: Finally. The food industry and individuals alike are at last getting the message that Diet-Driven Deprivation is not the answer. There is a better way, and that way includes focusing on quality, on nutrition, on eating free of guilt, eating with thought and mindfulness etc.

Calorie Information on Menus: New York has been a pioneer in making this a reality by mandating that chain restaurants put calorie data on their menu. We will see how popular this gets and if more cities will follow this example.


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