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Dietitian-Approved Food Trends for 2018

Many of us have resolutions this year to take better care of our bodies through diet and nutrition. But how can we sift through all of the food fads out there to find the best ones, especially when there are so many options?

We’ve put together some of the best Dietitian-approved food trends for 2018 and tips on how to maximize them to reach your goals! You can also watch Michelle on CTV at the following clip for a snapshot of the tips below:

Vegetarian protein alternatives

There’s no better time to skip the meat! Choosing plant based foods over animal based proteins are not only good for the environment but also great for optimizing your health. In fact, a plant-based diet can:

  • Promote weight loss
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Lower your risk of developing diabetes
  • Decrease your risk of certain cancers

If you want to try out a plant-based diet this year, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Add beans to your salads or wraps instead of using luncheon meat
  • Experiment with different veggie burgers instead of beef burgers
  • Swap out the chicken for tofu or tempeh in your next stir fry
  • Snack on nuts and seeds (being mindful of your portions!)
  • Try a tofu scramble for breakfast instead of an egg and meat scramble (try out this southwestern tofu scramble!)
  • Get creative with your veggie sandwiches. Try this combo: hummus, mustard, hemp hearts, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and whatever other veggies you enjoy – there are endless options!
  • Make a smoothie: 1 cup unsweetened soy (or other non-dairy) milk + 2 tbsp hemp hearts + 1 cup frozen mango + pinch of cinnamon (ask your dietitian for more ideas!)
  • Whip up some roasted chickpeas (try this recipe!)
  • Choose black bean pasta, edamame pasta, or lentil fusilli over your typical pasta

“Souping” instead of juicing

Move over juicing; soups are on the rise. If you are looking for a great way to incorporate more vegetables, fruit, and protein into your diet; soups are a great way to get started.

Why is this a trend that we’re excited about? Where juicing fruit and vegetables removes the fiber/pulp (and hence produces lots of waste) soups include the fiber, making them a great option for a filling meal. Fiber is important for healthy bowels, has satiating properties, and promotes balanced blood sugars. There are also several new technologies, such as the instant pot, that allow for quick soup making.

Here are some dietitian-approved recipes to try this week:

Prioritizing gut health

In 2017 there was a major focus on adding live bacteria (known as probiotics) to one’s diet to promote gut health. Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • kombucha
  • kimchi
  • miso
  • nato
  • sauerkraut
  • probiotic supplements

In 2018, we expect to see a continuing trend of promoting gut health with a newer focus on prebiotics – the food that probiotics (or good bacteria) use to survive. Common prebiotics include Fructo-oligosaccarides (FOS) or fructans and Galacto-oligosaccardes (GOS). Prebiotics are naturally found in:

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • banana
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • onion
  • tomatoes
  • barley, rye and whole grains
  • chicory root
  • dandelion
  • fermented dairy (yogurt, buttermilk and kefir)

“Health-ifying” alcohol

Younger generations are recognizing that alcohol (when consumed in excess) can have serious health consequences. Booze-free beverages will be the trend to follow this year. These “booze-free” beverages include drinks like flavored premium tonic waters, non-alcoholic spirits and botanical mocktails and mixes! Mocktails made with Kombucha are also taking center stage.

Genetic testing to help personalize your nutritional plan

New advances in medicine are giving us the opportunity to personalize nutrition beyond just the basics – specifically, to match with your biological DNA through genetic testing. These tests are becoming more available and more widely accepted by health practitioners. One such example being Nutrigenomics.

Nutrigenomics is the study of how our genes interact with dietary components to influence nutritional status. In our DNA we have many genes. Genes code for proteins such as enzymes, transporters, receptors, and hormones. Enzymes, transporters, receptors and hormones play a crucial role in nutrient absorption and utilization. Genetic variation within our individual genes affects the amount of protein produced, and hence can affect how we respond to the foods we eat.

Nutrigenomix allows for personalized nutrition based on an individual’s genetic variation within that gene. Nutrigenomix sheds light on genes that affect weight management, nutrient metabolism, heart health, food intolerances, and eating habits.

If you’re curious about genetic testing for nutrition, ask your dietitian about Nutrigenomix!