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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Foods, Fads and Trends

Trends this year as we attempt to dig ourselves out of 2020

Looks good but does it taste as good?

Zoom fatigue is real but social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. Aesthetically laid out meals and beautifully angled shots litter the world of Instagram and other social media feeds but the question is - does the food taste as good as it looks? After the wrecking ball of 2020 the answer inevitably is, YES. The kitchen counter has become our proverbial water cooler - the gathering hole for the family and comfort zone for everyone. In other instances, snacking has become a guilty, inevitable legacy of WFH. I am one of those. With the dawn of 2021, let's take a peep at what some of the nation's top tastemakers see as trending ahead.

Conscious Eating

With health at the forefront of our consciousness, foods that enhance immunity and keep us healthy are front and center. The food landscape has changed completely and everyone is gravitating to consume foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. The lines are blurring between supplements and produce in the grocery aisles. Trends continuing to accelerate in 2021 will be superfoods, probiotics, broths and sauerkrauts. Not far behind are traditional sources such as orange juice, along with other citrus juices or fruits. Also trending are a wide selection of ingredients like green tea, whole grains, garlic, probiotics, yogurt, spinach berries, ginger and turmeric.

Many trends intersect at this tipping point. Plant-based meats are now mainstream. Once seen as a niche product reserved only for vegans and vegetarians, plant-based meats have gained acceptance and taken over grocery store shelves in a major way. Cauliflower used to be seen as the pale, uninteresting cousin of the exotic broccoli - how the tables have turned in recent years. Fueled by carbo-adverse desire for a healthy alternative to gluten-filled grains, demand for cauliflower has grown to dizzy heights. Product lines have expanded to include a gamut of stuff from cauliflower pizza crust to cauliflower tots to cauliflower rice. Another rising star is the chickpea. And yes it is time to broaden one's palate beyond hummus and falafel. Rich in fiber and protein, chickpeas are the new cauliflower — popping up in products like chickpea tofu, snacks, flour, rice, and even chickpea cereal!

Ever-Changing Food Landscape

Alternative oils like walnut and pumpkin seed oils, which infuse their dishes with an earthy, nutty flavor may make inroads rather than known alternatives like olive and coconut oil.

When introducing oil into cooking it is important to do your research and match the oil to the activity be it in deep frying, sautéing, or making a salad dressing.

Looking ahead, we are likely to see the ditching of fad diets and the embracing of mindful eating. The secret is to listen to what your body tells you. Focused eating, doing away with diet mentality is also gaining a lot of momentum. Instead of eliminating your favorite foods, it’s more sustainable in the long run to learn how to include them healthfully. Also, as we are eating, limiting digital distractions leads to a more enjoyable meal.

Going hand in hand is the concept of working out at home. Live streaming workout classes will continue to be the choice for folks to sweat it out in their living rooms. Other options include any one of the countless apps, investing in some basic equipment as well as motivating gym attire.

Closing the loop on following a holistic approach, this is also the year we have to grapple with restoring our mental equilibrium. The pandemic has either sparked or amplified serious mental-health issues across all age groups and psychologists are increasingly raising concerns these may linger in the longer term. Chronic loneliness brought on by social isolation can easily trigger “a lack of meaning” in life but many are making a conscious effort to take steps to heal themselves. Online portals are available as are sessions in the privacy of one's homes. Here is a sample of some online and app-based therapy options: Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Amwell to name just a few.

2021 is the year to reset, refresh and even though the dark winter still hovers and it seems like a slow start - we have to keep the faith and continue making the changes that will finally create the personal evolution. Every time I fail I have to remind myself, I have to pick myself up and start afresh. The goal is within reach.

We are stronger together


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