The popularity of plant-based foods continues to rise in the United States, but alcohol-free drinks, seeds, and ethnically diverse meals also increased this year. Foods made from plants and non-alcoholic spirits are just two of the ways that food can increase your health in 2022. There’s no way to know for sure what the year ahead will be like; however, the enthusiasm for healthier eating that has been a part of the current COVID-19 epidemic seems to be going away any time soon, and that’s positive.

According to the Good Food Institute, it’s probably an unsurprising fact that plant-based food items are trendy, and sales are growing nearly twice the rate of the overall food market. “I am excited about seeing more people following a flexitarian eating plan,” says Laura M. Ali, RD, a chef nutritionist from Pittsburgh and it was also posted on Picuki online social media app. “It gives people who may not want to become vegetarian or vegan the ability to eat more plants but still incorporate some seafood, meat, dairy, and eggs occasionally.

” COVID indeed continues to influence our eating routines as well. “The pandemic has caused supply chain shortages and an increased awareness of food waste,” says Christina Baraco, MPH Registered dietitian located in Washington, DC, who is focused on sustainability. We spoke to nutrition experts about the factors mentioned above and others that influence the food we eat in the coming year. These are the health-conscious food trends and trends they predict we can anticipate seeing by 2022.

1. Plants, Plants, and More Plants.

The category of packaged food based on plants is now more diverse than ever before -and consumers are thrilled about it. Sixty-five percent of consumers claim to have eaten meat substitutes made from plants in the past year, as per a 2021 report by the International Food Information Council. “The plant-based movement ties into several trending consumer priorities, including health protection, environmental stewardship, and ethically driven eating,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, an experienced registered dietitian working in the private sector in Los Angeles.

“My clients constantly tell me they feel better physically and feel good about how they are spending their food dollars when they eat more plant-based foods.” “Plant-forward products will continue to be on-trend for their known health benefits and their relationship with sustainability,” says Keri Gan’s, RDN, a nutritionist in New York City and author of The Small Change Diet. “More and more people are conscious of their food source and how it impacts the environment. The companies with positive environmental stories will be sought-after.

” If you’re looking for new products, keep an eye out for frozen dragon fruit that is smoothie-ready or passionfruit made by Pitaya Foods, pea pasta from Zena, and vegetable-based (think sweet potato, tomato carrot, butternut squash) pizza sauce from Okamoto and the vegan-friendly cookies of Real Cookies. It is possible to do online shopping for groceries based on plants through Plant’s curated store and find local plants, including hummus shakes made by Hummus & Pita Co. Hummus & Pita Co. is located in New York City — delivered to your door via the Gold Belly.

“I love the persistence of plant-forward eating, along with eating with sustainability in mind,” the New York City-based registered dietetic Maya Feller, the author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook. “Both of these trends focus on increasing whole and minimally processed plant-based foods that provide a plethora of phytonutrients that impart health benefits.”

Related: 10 Instagrammers who are Veggie-Fast to Encourage Your Plant-based Lifestyle Goals

2. Recycled Ingredients.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 40% of America’s food supplies are wasted, and recycling food waste could reduce this amount substantially. “Recycled food simply means new food or products created from recycled ingredients or by-products from the food manufacturing process,” says Erin Hendrickson, RDN, a specialist in food waste in Nashville. The idea has gained popularity over the last few years and garnered some attention due to the pandemic. The lack of shelves in supermarkets made some producers recognize the necessity of cutting down on waste, she adds.

They may also include “upcycled” or “recycled” on their labels. Examples include the 88 Acres Seed ‘Nola, which is a granola that is allergy-friendly that is made of ends that have been left over; Banana Banana Bites and Otherworld waffle and pancake mix and waffle mixes, both made from recycled ingredients; and Rind’s dried fruit with skin that use the peel as well as the fruit. “Many rinds and produce skins are edible but typically get tossed,” says Hendrickson. “Rind Snacks not only limit food waste but also offer increased vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber by utilizing the rinds.”

3. Alcohol-Free Alternatives.

It is reported that the Whole Foods Market 2022 trend report includes spirit that is alcohol-free as a major upcoming trend. “Post-pandemic isolation has created a growing interest in health and well-being, causing a surge in functional beverages and alcohol-free drinks,” says Jessica DeVore, CDCES, a licensed dietitian registered with the Dietitian Council and a registered nutritionist who has a virtual private practice located in Pittsburgh.

There are all kinds of alcohol-free spirits, wine, and alcohol-free beer to fancy sparkling water that could be used as the basis for a mocktail. “Millennials and Gen Z have embraced the sober-curious culture and have made sobriety more popular and normal,” says DeVore. “Limiting alcohol has obvious health benefits, such as decreasing the incidence of many diseases, mental health problems, and driving accidents.

” Then there’s the calories variation. “People want lower-calorie options that still feel like they’re having a little celebration,” says Lisa Andrews, a registered dietitian from Cincinnati. Do you want to toast your birthday with a non-alcoholic beverage?

Drink booze-free curious elixirs or make your cocktail using Ritual Zero Proof Tequila, Demark Virgin Gin, or Cedar’s Distilled Non-Alcoholic Gin. Choose an alcohol-free Grove Dry Secco and non-alcoholic craft beer made by Athletic Brewing and Suntory All-Free sparkling malt and hops beverage that is low in calories and contains no alcohol.

4. Beverages with Benefits.

According to the Whole Foods report of best restaurants in Houston, drinks with claims to drink up your thirst are increasing alongside alcohol-free drinks. These called “functional beverages” claim to assist with anything, including anxiety alleviation to overall digestive and immune system health. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s likely to expand because “increasing awareness of health is anticipated to propel the demand,” according to a report published in May 2021 by the Business Research Company.

 “I started seeing more functional beverages popped up at food shows and expos several years ago — but at the time, I didn’t think they would take off,” says Kelly Jones, RD, who is a sports nutritionist and the proprietor of Student-Athlete Nutrition in Newtown, Pennsylvania. “Now, many plant-based functional beverages are widely available, everywhere from Whole Foods to Walmart, showing that it’s something consumers want and enjoy.

” There’s Kuia, Poppy, and Lollipop with prebiotic components to support your microbiome, Elements and Remedy Organics containing apoptogenic ingredients like maca and ashwagandha, probiotic juice shots from Goods You as well as functional sparkling water designed to draw the energy of a Good Idea. “People are finally catching on that these products aren’t intended to be meal replacements or cleanse but instead staples in your tasty eating pattern and can fill nutrient gaps,” Jones adds. Jones.

There are caveats, of course. “It is important for consumers to be aware of how their bodies may react to beverages regulated as supplements versus as foods and to check with their doctors to ensure the ingredients don’t interfere with medications,” she says.

Related: 9 Alcohol-Free Drinks to Have during the new year

5. Seeded Foods.

Foods made from sunflower seeds are the popular trend in 2022. As per the Whole Foods report, all seeds are widespread. One reason for this significant increase in popularity is that Seeds can be a nutritionally comparable substitute for nuts, which is a growing food allergy. A study published in April 2021 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinic Immunology in Practice illustrates that the incidence of peanut allergies rose by 1.7 to 5.2 percent between 2001 and 2017.

“Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in products that use seeds as a key ingredient, and I’m excited to see this trend continue to rise in the coming year,” says Nicole Stefano, RDN, a culinary nutritionist from Ramsey, New Jersey. “Seeds may be tiny, but they deliver big on nutrition.” Every seed has three nutrients: fiber, proteins, and healthy cholesterol. The sunflower seeds, in particular, may offer benefits for heart health, as suggested by a study published in July 2021 by the Journal of Food Science and Technology.

The study on 60 men who had high cholesterol discovered that people who regularly consumed bread made from sunflower seeds flour showed significant decreases in BMI (a measurement of the weight per height), LDL “bad” cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Seeds are great snacks on their own. However, they are also available inside The Health Warriors Pumpkin Seed Bars, Go Raw sprouted seed bar, Simple Mills Seed Flour Crackers, and Asha Pops Spun Water Lily Seeds.

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