You might not think of food as something that’s trendy, but food trends are totally a thing, and there are some delicious ones bubbling up for next year. These are the healthy 2018 food trends we’re getting excited about.
A whole slew of companies put together lists of upcoming food trends each year. For the list below, I looked at predictions from Unilever and Whole Foods and pulled out healthy food predictions. Healthy eating in general is on-trend for 2018, and it’s great to see healthy foods and habits Care2 has been writing about for years hitting the mainstream.
These are some of the healthy 2018 food trends to get excited about!
2018 Food Trends
1. Poke Bowls
A poke bowl is basically a sushi bowl, and these restaurants are popping up all over the U.S. right now. Just like sushi, you can make your poke bowl healthy or not, depending on the toppings you choose. Skip the tempura flakes and mayo-based sauces. Instead, pile on the veggies, tofu, brown rice, seaweed and lighter sauce options, like soy sauce.
You might think that a poke bowl needs to have fish in it, but with so many delicious vegetable and topping selections, you don’t need fish to put together a delicious poke bowl.
2. Plant-Based Food
As a long-time vegan, this is the food trend that I’m most excited about. People are eating more plants for their health, for the planet and for the animals.
Vegan options are easier to find than ever, and even when a restaurant doesn’t have vegan menu items, they’re much more willing to customize something than they were 11 years ago when I first went vegan. Or even than they were a year ago. Bring on the plants!
3. Fermented Food
Fermented foods are deliciously trendy right now, and that’s great news for our gut health. Think fermented foods beyond yogurt, like kimchi, sauerkraut and fermented pickled vegetables.
Restaurants like fermented foods because customers order them, but also because they keep well by nature, making them easy to keep in stock.
4. Edible Flowers
Edible flowers make any dish feel fancy, and they’re coming on strong for 2018. You can buy edible flowers at more upscale food stores, or you can grow your own. Either way, look forward to floral salads, drinks, desserts and more.
5. Superfood Powders
Maca, matcha, spirulina, turmeric and cacao are probably the most well-known superfood powders out there, and you’ll find these in granola bars, smoothies or sold as-is on the shelf.
Turmeric is an easy superfood powder to get you started, because it’s available at any grocery store. Try this turmeric latte to squeeze some superfood goodness into your morning.
6. Fancy Mushrooms
You probably know by now that mushrooms are great for your health, and wild mushroom varieties are super hot right now. Of course, you can use fancy mushrooms in your next stir fry, but sweet mushroom drinks using less-common varieties plus coffee or chocolate are hitting menus and store shelves.
7. Middle Eastern Food
I’m extra delighted about this 2018 food trend, because I grew up eating Middle Eastern food. You’re probably already eating your share of stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush and hummus, but now you can add deep seasonings like tangy za’atar and spicy harissa to your spice cabinet.
8. Transparent Labeling
Consumers want to know what we are buying, and companies are starting to respond with certified labels. More and more companies are adding Non-GMO, Fair Trade and Organic products to their lines, and this is great news for the planet, for consumer health and for farmworkers.
Restaurants are also finally starting to list calorie information on the menu, so you can make more informed ordering decisions. Whole Foods lists this as a food trend, but this will actually be a requirement by May of 2018.
9. Root-to-Stem Cooking
You’ve heard of nose-to-tail, and root-to-stem is the plant-based equivalent. Not only does this way of cooking give you more veggie bang for your buck, but it reduces food waste.
Restaurants are making the most of produce by using edible parts that we’d normally throw away, like celery leaves, broccoli stems, carrot greens and watermelon rinds.
10. Fizzy Water
La Croix paved the way for this healthy food trend. Lightly-flavored, unsweetened sparkling waters are a healthy 2018 food trend to get excited about. These zero-calorie drinks are a great way to stay hydrated when you just don’t like water.
A lot of the sparkling waters on the market are artificially flavored, but some are now using plant extracts. You can also make your own flavored fizzy water by adding a few slices of fruit to a glass of seltzer and waiting.
Worried that carbonation is bad for your bones? A 2016 study actually debunked this idea. It turns out that colas (diet or regular), not carbonation, were the culprits when it came to bone loss. And if it’s the waste from all of those cans and bottles that has you worried, you can always invest in a sparkling water maker. Sodastream is the one my family uses. I like that we can exchange the empty cartridge for a discount on a full one, and the company reuses the empties.
Related at Care2
Edible Flower Salad via Gardenista, Turmeric Latte, Baba Ghanoush, and Fruity Fizz photos by Becky Striepe. All other photos via Thinkstock.