12 Healthiest Food Trends of 2016

The events of 2016 can be summed up as the salt and pepper flavoring a plate of pandemonium. That said, there were some things that were not so unsavory. In fact, 2016 food trends showed an improvement in comparison to previous years in terms of nutrition. Instagram and other social media sites ate up healthy food. So let’s bring in 2017 with a look at the healthiest food trends of 2016 and try to keep the craze going strong!

1 Zucchini noodles

Also known by the catchy name “#zoodles,” spiralized zucchini was a huge player this year in also sorts of picture worthy recipes. Zoodles and pesto, zoodles and marinara, baked zoodles, and zoodles and shrimp… basically, anything that calls for pasta can use zucchini-noodles.

What makes zoodles so delectable is that anything in the squash family is low in calories, dense in minerals and vitamins, and high in fiber. Plus, if you have a wheat or gluten allergy, or are simply cutting down on carbs, the swap is a no-brainer.

2 Sweet potato

2016 saw the rise of the sweet potato into stardom. Sweet potatoes have been baked, fried, diced, pureed, and now toasted. Yes, you might have seen sweet potato toast trending on Instagram and loading up Pinterest boards throughout the year. This is because sweet potatoes are simply delicious. And versatile.

Sweet potatoes contain about 483% of your daily value of vitamin A and a huge dose of vitamin C. The fiber and carb content balances it out too, making it the perfect bread substitute for powering an early morning run.

3 Matcha

I adore matcha. 2016 proved I am not the only one. Living in Japan made me realize how crazily useful this green tea powder can be – and not just for drinking. You might have noticed matcha showing up in desserts, like matcha ice cream, pastries, crèmes, and cookies.

However, I have also sprinkled matcha into coffee, chai tea, on apples, and swirled it into peanut butter. Though the antioxidant-packed powder can be bitter by itself, adding it to cereal or yogurt amplifies the health benefits and brings out the natural flavor.

4 Avocado

The buttery flavor of avocado really made it an MVP this year in just about any recipe you can imagine. Super healthy, rich in monosaturated (good) fat, and with the power to lower bad cholesterol and promote satiety, avocados are a nutritional powerhouse. Not to mention that it is lower in calories than butter.

Check out #avocadotoast for a sea of variations on this uber-popular breakfast, lunch, or dinner option. Not to mention avocado ice cream, avocado succotash, avocado sushi, avocado mousse, guacamole, and avocado pesto sauce. I could go on and on, but then I will just get hungry.

5 Cold brew coffee

Finally, coffee was cut some slack in 2016. Especially the luscious flavors of cold brewed java. Unlike a hot cup of joe, the chilled variation receives a boost in nutritional value. When coffee is heat, some of the oils and fatty acids – good ones – get boiled away.

But with cold brew coffee, those remain, thus granting the coffee a smooth, silky taste that is friendly enough for everyone’s taste buds. If that is not enough of a reason, coffee is packed with antioxidants and boosts your immune system. Drink up.

Read also – 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Drinking Coffee

6 Egg + avocado

Move aside Victoria and David Beckham, there is a new power couple in town. Egg and avocado are the hottest food pairing since smoked fish and cream cheese. And much more nifty. For example, one of the most searched recipes this year was baked eggs in avocados.

Another is egg and avocado on sprouted grain bread. Egg and avocado BLTs, avocado egg salad, fried egg with guacamole and sriracha. Let your creativity go wild with these two ingredients. There are so many ways to use this pairing, and the results are always miraculous.

7 Turmeric

A buzz word this year was “#goldenmilk.” What makes that milk so beautiful? The spice is known as turmeric. Jam-packed with curcumin, an anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-carcinogens, blood glucose controllers, and other medicinal benefits, turmeric is not to be underestimated.

Try adding turmeric to warmed milk before bed, or put a dash in your morning coffee. The nuttiness is quite enjoyable, especially when paired with cinnamon. Or, use it in soups, curries, on grilled mushrooms, or even in ice cream.

8 Pho

This healthy Vietnamese soup dish has been gaining steam since 2013. In 2016, the world saw an explosion of pho recipes and reasons for why you should start slurping the noodles as soon as possible. There is ongoing of the list of what makes pho stupendous, but the main reasons are that it has medicinal properties. A rich bone broth, which has a slew of benefits by itself, is accompanied by thin sliced protein sources (anywhere from beef to tofu), kale, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms… whatever you like can be used to flavor the soup.

Read also – 8 Nutritional All-Stars for Women

9 Cauliflower rice

You know, when my father, who absolutely loathes cauliflower, was introduced to “cauliflower rice,” he could not taste the difference. Of course, I did not tell him until he scooped a heaping spoonful into his mouth. Shock aside, he confessed that it was really good, and really filling, unlike horribly processed white rice that has been stripped of everything that makes rice nutritious and necessary.

What I love is that cauliflower rice tastes good with just about everything, has half the calories of rice, and is just as satisfying, if not more so, than rice. Try it topped with some parmesan cheese and tomatoes. So, so good. And let’s not forget cauliflower pizza crust in 2017 either.

10 Poke

A Hawaiian dish that is pronounced poh-KAY is kind of similar to the Japanese rice bowl topped with sashimi. However, instead of seasoned rice, Poke features raw fish cut into cubes then tossed with ingredients like scallions, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Poke is a great way to mix up toppings for seaweed salads, zoodles, avocado, or even with a heaping bowl of cauliflower rice.

11 Zucchini oatmeal

Otherwise known as “#zoats” and #healthy oatmeal, this is a spruced up version of overnight oatmeal (when oats are soaked in milk or fruit or water while you sleep). The idea behind zoats comes from things like zucchini bread and muffins to up the vegetable serving and adding the unique flavor of this functional squash to your life. Again, zucchini adds little calories or carbs, so it can up the serving size of oatmeal to make it more satisfying without destroying your diet.

12. Sprouted things

Although sprouted seeds, legumes, beans, and grains didn’t see much fame on Instagram, chefs and nutritionists realized just how important they are this year. Anything that is considered as seed, like chia seeds, peas, sunflower seeds, and various grains can be sprouted, and those sprouts prove enzyme-rich, edible yumminess that quite literally flood our bodies with nutrients.

You might see things like “sprouted grain salad,” “sprouted hummus,” “mung bean sprout yakisoba,” “sprouted seed and grain bread,” and other similar recipes. Just be sure you follow another trend and buy organic, non-GMO sprouts. Otherwise, you risk losing valuable nutrients.

Read also – 8 More Affordable Alternatives to Superfoods

So many healthy food trends flooded the annals of social media in 2016. The beauty of avocados and eggs, the delightful green matcha desserts, and the scintillating flavor of golden milk gained mass approval and popularity. Hopefully, these food trends will continue in 2017 and help promote clean and healthy habits well into the future.