Have you sensed that the covid-19 pandemic continues to influence your eating habits and possibly the food choices you make? As we look ahead for a better future and long for normalcy, let’s take a look at the latest 7 food and nutrition trends for 2022.
1. Plant-based foods take the world by storm
If you have not noticed already, plant-based food products are filling up grocery shelves.
While faux and meatless meats made from soy-based ingredients have been around for decades, we are seeing more plant-based protein options, such as those made with peas and lentils, entering into the market. It is not surprising that you will see more plant-based food products become available. Did you know that Canada is the largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils?
What is also driving up the sales is that consumers have shifted their way of eating. According to the National Research Council Canada, 40 percent of Canadians is actively including more plant-based foods into their diet. This increased uptake of plant-based foods is also influenced by consumers’ awareness of the issues around climate change, the environment and the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet.
One way to get started with a vegetarian diet is adopt a flexitarian diet, also known as semi-vegetarian, where one consumes primarily plant-based foods and enjoys meat and dairy products in moderation.
Check out our blog post, “6 Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Busy People” for a curated list of simple vegetarian meals to get started! Needing professional guidance on switching to a plant-based diet? Our dietitians are experienced with different types of vegetarian diets including : Vegan, Pescatarian, Lacto-ovo Vegetarian, Lacto Vegetarian, Raw Vegan, and Flexitarian diets.
2. More snacking and plant-based snacks
According to the 2022 Trend Report by Nourish Food Marketing, you may also see more plant-based snacks, desserts and bakery items appearing on grocery shelves. The demand for these plant-based foods is fueled by consumers and the covid-19 pandemic, which has created opportunities for consumers to work remotely, leading to more snacking and eating comfort foods at home.
While snacking provides energy and nutrients, healthy snacking involves planning and having these choice support rather than sabotage your nutrition goals.
3. Working remotely calls for meal solutions
As working remotely and the option of adopting the hybrid work model continues, you may be preparing and eating more meals at home.
While making homemade meals is always encouraged, consumers are feeling like they need a break from the kitchen. Aligned with the plant-based trend, you can also expect to see more varieties of ready to make meal kits, heat and serve meals, soups and curries made with wholesome and plant-based ingredients available in the frozen aisles and the grab and go sections of your local supermarket.
When choosing your heat and serve meals, read the food labels, including the nutrition fact table and ingredient list. Specifically, with the nutrition fact table, look at the percent daily value (% DV):
- 5% DV or less means that there is a little of that nutrient
- 15% DV or more means there is a lot
Look for food products that offer less fat, saturated fat and sodium, and more dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
4. Eating for optimal immunity and overall health
Health and immunity will also be one of the driving forces of change in the food landscape, as noted in the survey results from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian. Maintaining good health is undoubtedly a priority for many, especially with the ongoing pandemic.
When 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, keeping the digestive tract healthy is important. Foods that support a healthy gut and immune system will remain popular in 2022, and these foods include prebiotics and probiotics.
- Prebiotics are dietary fibres from whole grains, onions, garlic, bananas, tomatoes and legumes; these are foods for probiotics.
- Probiotics are live and active bacteria that bring health benefits, such as improved immunity and digestion. Under Canadian food regulations, a product is considered a probiotic food when the food has proven to contain adequate amounts of the live strains of the bacteria to suggest a health benefit.
Dairy products such as yogurt and aged cheese are examples of probiotic foods. Not all foods must be dairy to contain probiotics. To find out if the product is a true probiotic product, always read the packaging and look for the term ‘probiotic’ and the amount and types of active live strains of bacteria present.
Our gut health dietitians can help you optimize your gut health and support your immune system.
5. Meet the latest from the biotic family: postbiotics
Postbiotics are not a novelty, but it is certainly the latest buzzword. They are waste products produced by the probiotics due to consuming prebiotics. Postbiotics may strengthen the immune system, reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms and may be responsible for treating and preventing diarrhea.
However, research on postbiotics is still considered in their infancy stage. Scientists are calling for regulations on defining the term and regulating foods and dietary supplements marketed as postbiotics.
6. Fermented foods remain in popularity
The fermentation process was meant to increase the food’s shelf life. However, eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, natto and tempeh, has become a trend for its potential immune and gut boosting properties. Despite the ongoing debate of the varying bacterial strains present and the likelihood of bacteria being active after consumption, you can still include these foods as part of your diet*.
*If you are immunocompromised, it is best to talk to your primary healthcare provider or one of our registered dietitians first before consuming fermented foods due to concerns of foodborne illnesses. Book a call with a dietitian today!
7. Let’s not forget about the anti-inflammatory foods
While fermented foods claimed the number one spot again in the 10th Annual What’s Trending in Nutrition Survey, anti-inflammatory foods such as blueberries, avocados, green tea made to the list for the following reasons:
- Blueberries contain antioxidants, anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Avocados are packed with fibre, heart-healthy fats, magnesium, potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and tocopherol, which may decrease cancer risk.
- Green tea is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking green tea regularly may be linked to the decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
Connect with a BC dietitian nutritionist for your personalized nutrition plan today!
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