Health food trends to kick off the new year

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      With kale showing up everywhere these days, whether it’s chopped in caesar salad or salted and baked as chips, it’s hard to believe there was a time when nobody paid much attention to the superfood. Its health benefits and versatility have made it as hot as sriracha.

      Move over, kale. The year ahead promises a whole new crop of healthy foods that may well turn out to be just as popular.

      But first, what’s on its way out? According to Brooklyn-based food and restaurant consulting company Baum + Whiteman, kale will officially be out next year, along with artisan toast, bacon, salsa, and sweet yogurts. The group also came up with a list of buzzwords for 2015, which includes flavoured salts, savoury ice creams and yogurts, savoury waffles, and pistachios.

      We asked around locally about healthy food trends for the year ahead. Here are a few to start adding to your grocery list, if they’re not on it already.

      Fermented probiotic foods
      “People are learning more about probiotics, but it’s still a revelation that probiotics come in food that isn’t yogurt,” says chef and registered holistic nutritionist Andrea Potter, founder of Rooted Nutrition. “I started making sauerkraut when I stopped having dairy, when I cut out the only source of probiotics in my diet.” Aside from sauerkraut, those beneficial bacteria are also found in kimchi and pickles that are fermented without vinegar.

      Beneficial herbs
      Think rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, lemon balm, and borage, says Barb McMahon, founder of Sprouting Chefs, which helps schools build and grow gardens. The plants are beautiful as well as abundant in various nutrients. “These all grow really well in our garden [at Burnaby’s Forest Grove Elementary School] and we talk about how each is beneficial not only to us as people but helps us attract our pollinator friends to the garden, too,” McMahon says. “The borage and sage in full bloom have an amazing spectacle of bees in the spring.”

      Pasta made from beans and lentils
      “We believe the gluten-free trend will continue and…that we will see an increase in wheat-free pastas options,” says Meghan Clarke, one half of the duo behind Kitsilano’s Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods. “Refined corn and rice have been done and are not particularly successful as pastas; however, the bean-and-lentils pasta market is growing. Pastas made from black beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils actually have a great flavour and are loaded with fibre and protein, which helps lower the glycemic load of these choices.”

      Bone broth
      “This is a big trend, and I’m hoping it will last longer than a fad,” Potter says. “I’m excited to see bone broth coming back.” Whether they’re made using beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, or fish bones, these stocks are loaded with nutrients that are said to improve joint health, among other health benefits; they appeal in particular to those following the Paleo or the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet. “The benefits are becoming more known. All the grandmas and grandpas I meet are excited about seeing ‘older’ food trends that are coming back. Older people just roll their eyes [that this is a new trend]: ‘We know that broths are healthy.’ ”

      Root vegetables
      Veggies like kohlrabi and turnips will all get some extra love this year—as long as they’re roasted. “You don’t boil them,” says Ron Matusik, prepared-foods team leader at the Kitsilano Whole Foods. “Chop them up and roast them with olive oil and a little salt and pepper, which brings out sweetness. They’re inexpensive and healthy.”

      “People are really starting to get into seaweed,” Matusik says. “It gives you a lot of vitamins and minerals, and it can be chopped into foods because then you don’t need to use salt at all. Seaweed snacks are really healthy too.”

      “I planted two plants last spring on a whim with some Grade 7s and…they gave us enough tomatillo fruits to make 10 jars of salsa verde,” McMahon says. “Tomatillos are a great thing to can, as they have a high acidity.” The small green fruits are rich in potassium and antioxidants.

      Savoury oats
      Goodbye, brown-sugar topping; hello, aromatic herbs and spices. “Instead of using whole grains—say, brown rice—as a side dish you can use steel-cut oats and move away from the sweet-breakfast thing,” Matusik says. “Add squash and a bit of nutmeg and goat cheese, or make it savoury with caramelized onion.”

      Beyond Meat products
      This new line of foods is made with gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO ingredients such as soy protein, pea protein, and amaranth. “Beyond Chicken looks like chicken and cuts like chicken, but it’s a completely vegan option,” Matusik says.