5 Food and Eating Trends That We Love in 2020
By: Sarah Remmer, Registered Dietician
Don’t get me wrong–there are many food and eating trends that dietitians like me cringe at, especially when they involve quick-fix diets, deprivation, or avoiding entire food groups. And then there are weird ones that never catch on (like congealed salads – yep, it was briefly a thing). But there are also many trends that we love (and that have had staying power, thank goodness). Think plant-based eating, hemp hearts and one-pan meals!
One of the reasons I partnered with Made with Local two years ago was because of their dedication to using high quality, nutritious, local, plant-based and sustainable ingredients. What caught my eye when I first saw and tried their Real Food Bars, was the simple, nutrient-packed ingredients list. It was so refreshing to me! And quite honestly, it’s almost impossible to find this in the sea of ultra-processed bars out there.
And I’m not the only one who values these things – more and more consumers are looking for REAL FOOD in their ingredients lists, and less “weird stuff” (like fillers, artificial flavors, preservatives, etc.), not only for themselves, but for their kids too. Consumers are also becoming more environmentally conscious in their food-buying decisions and continuing to lean towards plant-based nutrition too, which is fantastic news heading into 2020.
Here are 5 of my favorite food trends for 2020:
1. Ditch the Kids Menu
Kids don’t need to eat “kid food”. In fact, let’s do away with the phrase “kid food” all together shall we? Quite honestly, it unnecessarily “dumbs down” our kids’ palates. We default to the chicken fingers and fries because we assume there’s a good chance our kids will eat it, and we also assume that they won’t eat the grilled salmon, tuna poke bowl, or cobb salad that we’re ordering for ourselves!
Eating out as a family should be fun! If out for dinner, try ordering a bunch of shareable plates that you can all enjoy, to expose your child to new and different foods. At home, always serve everyone the same meal and try more “family-style” meals where you lay all of the ingredients out for everyone to build their own meal.
2. Mocktails for the win!
Here’s the truth: we’re drinking more than ever before - particularly women. In fact, alcohol abuse among women has more than doubled from 2002 to 2013, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. And it’s quite common to open a bottle of wine while making dinner, sip some during a meal, maybe a bit more post-dinner, and suddenly the bottle of wine is gone. And you think...”oops—how did that happen”.
Listen. I for one, 100% understand that a glass of wine can certainly take the edge off. And sometimes it’s really nice to get together will friends and have a martini or two. I get it! But you know as much as I do that it’s a slippery slope.
Reality is, as a woman, if you are having more than a drink a day on most days, you are at an increased risk for heart, liver and pancreatic disease, as well as at increased risk for certain types of cancer. Keep track of your intake and try to limit yourself to one drink per day. Eek.
For these reasons, I am fully on board with this trend towards “mocktails” instead of cocktails. Even just sometimes! We make associations between social events and booze, happy hour and booze, kids-are-finally-in-bed and booze. What if we switched one of those associations to a non-alcoholic beverage? Or maybe just chose one special drink per day, versus three? Here are some of my favourite mocktail recipes!
3. Nut, seed and legume butters galore
Peanut butter is life. As is almond butter. In fact, the folks at Made with local are nut-butter fanatics (as am I) -- they use natural peanut butter or almond butter in all of their Real Food Bars! And pumpkin seed butter, chickpea butter, and even watermelon seed butter are becoming increasingly popular too! Expect to see more nut, seed and legume butters in restaurants and products in the grocery store this year. With the strong movement towards plant-based eating, these butters are all the rage--for good reason. They’re tasty, add moisture and texture to meals and baked goods and they’re packed full of nutrition, including protein, fibre, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals.
4. Plant-based Protein
I LOVE this one, and have been practicing it for years. Making homemade burgers? Trade one third of the meat you would normally use for black beans or chickpeas. Cooking up tacos? Swap half of the ground meat out for canned lentils. Same goes for spaghetti sauce! Not only does this swap boost nutrition in a big way, it also saves you time, money, and is better for the environment. It’s a small (and easy) shift towards a more plant-based diet, which we should all do anyways. Expect to see more plant/meat hybrids this year!
5. Intuitive Eating
Luckily, this “trend” is becoming more of a cultural shift, away from dieting, towards trusting your own body when it comes to food (*insert huge sigh of relief here*). It’s also something that I’m extremely passionate about personally and professionally as a dietitian. Essentially, Intuitive Eating, is the evidence-based, mind-body approach to eating created by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. It teaches people (usually adults who have forgotten!) to truly listen to their physical hunger cues; it is about eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you’re comfortably full.
Intuitive Eating now has 90 plus studies linking it to greater self-esteem, more enjoyment from eating, increased health and well-being, and better body appreciation and acceptance. One of the things I love about Made with Local is that they value the “how’s” of eating just as much as the “what’s” of eating. Their values align strongly with the Intuitive Eating philosophy and they believe that food should be savoured, enjoyed, and celebrated over. Restriction, deprivation, dieting, calorie counting and weird diet ingredients NOT included. For more info on intuitive eating, visit the Intuitive Eating website.