5 major nutrition trends

In nutrition as in fashion, trends come and go. Some trends simply morph into new and different versions of themselves.

1. Flexitarianism

Vegetarianism has definitely gone more mainstream. Menus are offering additional vegan items, and animal proteins are giving way to vegetable proteins in the form of whole grains, sprouts, seeds and even algae. Farro and red rice and quinoa are both extraordinarily healthy options with many nutritional benefits. They share a nutty flavor, which can be used as a great base in a variety of dishes like our Verrine with quinoa. For a bigger nutritional boost, try a brown/red and wild rice mix as it is minimally processed leaving behind many beneficial nutrients.

On the other hand, vegetarian wannabees are opting for more flexible options, such as pescatarianism (eating fish) and flexitarianism (no red meat or only occasional meat). It's important to note, however, that sectioning off vegetarian items on a menu tends to stifle sales; it's better to mix it up and just identify which items are strictly vegetarian.

2. Vive le vinegar!

While the jury may still be out, apple cider vinegar is being credited with a multitude of health benefits. Experts say that consumption of apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar, which is why it's being touted as benefiting pre-diabetics and diabetics. Apple cider vinegar also is touted as helping people lose weight and lowering blood pressure.

3. Focus on Fusion:

Fusion food appears to be more than a passing fad. The diversity in our culture is now being reflected more and more in the foods restaurants are serving. We often think of fusion food as having Asian influences, but European fusion is all the rage.

Think of serving a tossed salad with a variety of European-inspired ingredients (Parisian carrots, diced brie cheese, French peas, fried goat cheese), or a traditional French Béchamel sauce drizzled over an American cut of beef. The menu itself can feature a cross-section of cultures, such as caviar-topped appetizers, vichyssoise soup; foie gras topped burgers, risotto with Brussels sprouts, and Italian panna cotta.

Indian cuisine also continues to trend, with dishes such as curried lentil stew, coconut noodles cardamom, rice with saffron nuts or potato croquettes and cod with sesame.

4. Hidden Veggies

Disguising vegetables in food is no longer just for the preschool set. Many folks are trying to get to eat more veggies by sneaking them into their own food. Think vegetable noodles, veggie-infused pizza crusts, veggie-packed smoothies, veggie-stuffed waffles and more. For a taste- and veggie-filled sauce, use one of our vegetable spreads as a delicious base.

5. Healthy Food

Yes, despite all the fast-food commercials on TV, healthy food is in. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that consumers say they feel happier when they buy foods they know are healthy. Consumers are reading food nutrition labels more than ever, seeking out all-natural products. Price does not appear to be as much of an issue with these health-conscious eaters, who prefer foods with no antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, artificial flavors/colors or fillers.