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9 Surefire Food Trends For 2016

What are some of the hottest food and nutrition trends expected to captivate us this year? Experts have shared what they expect will captivate us throughout the next year. Veggies will get the star-treatment, global foods are poised to gain steam, and people will be more aware of where their food comes from.

What will be the hot new trends in the culinary and nutrition world this year? Let’s take a look at what experts in the field predict will be hogging the spotlight in 2016.

Pulses

If you’ve got your fingers on the pulse of food culture, you’ll likely be hearing a lot more about pulses. What exactly are pulses? Pulses are dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). This group of legumes is poised to be so popular that the United Nations named 2016 the “International Year of Pulses”. These dry seed crops boast an excellent nutrition resumé and are environmentally-friendly. If you haven’t tried roasted chickpeas as a crunchy, nutrient-dense snack, you’re missing out. Pulses also work well in salads, soups, dips, casseroles, and as a meat substitute.

Savory Yogurts

Although it’s doubtful that people will completely sour on sugar-laden yogurts, savory yogurts are seeing an uptick in popularity. Flavors such as carrot, beet, sweet potato, tomato, parsnip and butternut squash will be competing with the sweet stuff for shelf space. Savory yogurts pair beautifully with crudités or warm slices of hearty, whole-wheat pita chips.

Pumping the Brakes on Sweets

Folks everywhere are trying to cut back on their sugar intake. Sales of sugary sodas are at an all-time low, and people are seeking healthier options when it comes to their snacks and meals.

Plant Proteins & Plant-Centered Meals

Vegetables may finally get the respect they deserve in 2016. Experts forecast that veggies will soon take center-stage rather than being relegated to the side dish section of the menu. Think whole grilled portabella caps (in place of burgers made with beef or turkey), veggie stir-fry dishes with tofu, roasted veggie “steaks” and more. With people cutting back on their meat consumption — either partially or entirely — vegetables are going to get their chance to shine this year.

Spiralized Veggies as a Pasta Replacement

Whether you're cutting down on refined carbs or simply looking to get more veggies in your life, incorporating pasta-like, veggie-based noodles could be a trend to try. There are several contraptions out there that can twist zucchini, carrots, squash, potatoes, and turnips into noodle-shaped perfection. You can cut thin spaghetti-type noodles or thicker fettuccini noodles and use them in place of any regular pasta. You can find different brands of these spiralizing gadgets in many stores, or order one online here..

Cauliflower Everything

Cauliflower is expected to be all the rage this year. This versatile veggie can be smashed up as a lower-carb swap for mashed potatoes, grated and subbed in for rice in a plethora of dishes, mixed with egg and used a flourless pizza crust, or sliced and roasted to make a cauliflower “steak”. The sky's the limit when it comes to the possibilities--use grated cauliflower in place of rice in a veggie-filled, low-calorie stir-fry, or make a faux low-carb “risotto” that is creamy and delicious, and helps you up your veggie intake.

Global Herbs and Spices

Chefs are letting us in on a little secret: exotic herbs and spices are so hot right now. Authentic ethnic cuisines and condiments — particularly African and Middle Eastern seasonings--are poised to perk up people’s palates everywhere. Spices and herbs are a great way to add intense, bold flavors to your foods without adding calories.

Hot Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Chicken is being taken to a whole new level in 2016 with the spike in popularity of what’s called “hot chicken”. It is a specific type of aggressively-seasoned fried chicken that is a local iconic specialty of Nashville, Tennessee. Paprika, cayenne pepper, and sugar are the base of the seasoning blend, and the chicken is double-battered and then fried and often sauced. Of course, fried chicken is pretty high in calories and fat so be sure to enjoy a small portion and pair it with a lot of colorful veggies.

Pickled Foods

Although pickling foods has been a preservation method for centuries, pickling will be worth its salt come 2016. When most people think of pickles, the pickled cucumber usually comes to mind. However, pickled foods won’t be limited to just vegetables. You could actually pickle all sorts of fare, from eggs, meat, and fish to sweet fruits.

Other Trends?

Expect to hear more interest in locally-sourced foods, environmental sustainability with regards to food production, food waste reduction, natural ingredients, artisan butchery, artisan pickles, nutritional yeast, and food trucks.

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