As registered dietitian nutritionists, one of our favorite things to do in the New Year is to look at the predicted food trends of the coming year and evaluate which ones should be here to stay. There are always a few we hope come and go quickly (yes, cotton ball diet-we mean you!) as well as the ones we hope never die. Here are five hot foods for 2014 we think you should get your hands (or should we say taste buds?) on. We feel lucky to have received a little insight on these forecasted hot foods when we attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE yearly convention.
Ancient grains like quinoa are hot stuff; quinoa has been the gateway grain, encouraging people to be more adventurous and stray from traditional grain options like rice and pasta. Freekah is made from young wheat that is harvested while still green and then is roasted and rubbed during production. Its firm, chewy texture is often compared to bulgur and it has a nutty, smoky flavor.
Why it should stay: It's higher in protein, vitamins and minerals and has a lower glycemic index than other grains. It's also good for the gut, acting as a prebiotic to increase healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Plus, it has four times the fiber compared to brown rice, and its fiber-protein combo enhances satiety, which may result in weight loss, as people eat less when they're satisfied.
Yay! We were team Lemon before a team even existed! But now, according to the trend forecast, although lemon has been snubbed over the years, it's seen as "stepping into the sun-pure, versatile and nostalgic." Lemons are forecasted to be used in juices, as a preserve, as an addition to staples like yogurt and as a pastry ingredient.
Why it should stay: It makes a fantastic flavor substitute for salt, but instead of raising blood pressure, its antioxidants battle the inflammatory processes that are related to chronic disease, including heart disease. Its high vitamin C content enhances the absorption of iron from foods like spinach and meat and it's a calorie-free way to add a lot for flavor!
Yes, in the cup, but out of the cup seems to be where this year's party will be. Tea's natural, earthy flavor can bring a tasty twist to foods, while being swapped for less-healthy cooking ingredients.
Why it should stay: As a drink, tea is calorie-free, fat-free and sodium-free, but packed with flavor and antioxidants that help to boost immunity and cardiovascular health. Plus, it's warm, soothing and contains an amino acid called theanine that helps bring on a mental calmness, yet alertness, all of which helps you to eat less at your next meal. Out of the teacup-say hello to tea as a great calorie- and salt-saving sautéing substitute for chicken stock, butter, bacon or oil! Sign us up for this tea party!
Say hello to this year's hot veggie! Most people think of it steamed with broccoli and carrots. But you'll see cauliflower featured as the fabulous star of the dish-many of the recipes in our new book feature cauliflower as the main ingredient, including Cauliflower Crusted Mozzarella Pie, Cauliflower Ceviche, Cauliflower and Broccoli Flapjacks and our Skinny Cauliflower Mash. You'll see colorful cauliflowers and find them in places you wouldn't think of looking!
Why it Should Stay: Have you met a lower-calorie, more fiber-packed food that can be substituted for rice or mashed potatoes or used in casseroles (and so much more!) for just a fraction of the calories? Plus, it's packed with vitamin C and manganese to boost bone health!
Foods that promote healthy gut bacteria and boost our immune systems, known as probiotics, are likely to take over many supermarket shelves this year. Kefir is a probiotic that is a fermented milk product similar to drinkable yogurt-it's tangy with a slightly fizzy effervescence that gives it a light, foamy, creamy texture.
Why it Should Stay: Most people think of yogurt as the best source of probiotics, but kefir may have three times more probiotics than yogurt. Kefir seems to be more easily digested for people who have trouble digesting lactose. And for those that can't digest it, kefir can also be made with non-dairy milks, like almond or soy. It's also a good source of calcium. Plus, given that protein is edging its way on to the 2014 hot-list, kefir is a low-calorie way to get protein-10.5 grams in 100 calories of nonfat kefir.