Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - Use The Latest Food Trends As A Model For Healthy Eating
Eat healthy. Sounds simple, right? For many people, it’s not that easy. With all of the sugary, fatty, processed foods lining grocery store aisles, it’s easy to give in to temptation. Some of us require more insight into what healthy eating looks like — and that’s OK!
81% of people try to eat healthy and pay attention to their nutrition, according to a study on macro food trends by analytics firm, E15 Group. The best way to transform your everyday food habits into healthy ones is to:
- Educate yourself
- Set goals
- Celebrate small achievements
Let’s walk through each of these steps and point you in the direction of success.
Educate Yourself There are so many food trends out there. Which ones are healthy, and which should you avoid? Or is there a better way to approach healthy eating?
While some food trends are healthier than others, these five can help you build a foundation for nutrition and balance. And because these trends are growing in popularity, they’re more accessible than ever before:
- Ancient grains
- Healthy snacks
- Plant-based food
- Non-alcoholic beverages
Ancient grains are grains that have been minimally changed by selective breeding over the years. They are grown as naturally as possible. Examples include:
These grains are great sources of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. They’re simpler, cleaner, and more traditional than other types of processed grains. In our March Challenge: Healthy Recipe Toolbox (Editor's note: this challenge ended in March 2020 but challenge tips are still accessible via the Toolbox link), we’ll introduce you to different ways to cook with ancient grains and ideas for delicious recipes.
Healthy snacks are another food trend gaining popularity. 53% of people say snacking is hard to resist even when they’re not hungry. Snacks with both healthy and trending ingredients are more likely to keep you satisfied longer.
Look for snacks with:
- Whole grains
- Low sodium
- High protein
- Gut-promoting benefits
One example is quinoa chips, which provide the snackable crunch many people crave with the ancient grain benefits mentioned above.
Plant-based foods are healthy options because they’re natural and unprocessed. Research is clear: There are so many health benefits to plant-based diets. We’ll discuss these benefits more in our March Challenge. We’ll also provide ideas for incorporating more plant-based foods into your meals.
Non-alcoholic beverages are another healthy food trend to consider. Studies haven’t found a downside to ditching alcohol, but they have found many upsides like weight loss and lower blood pressure. Instead of reaching for a beer or a cocktail, whip up a mocktail that uses fresh fruit juice or sparkling water.
Sustainability is another important food trend gaining attention. Using more organic ingredients and buying local food increases your plant-based and unprocessed food consumption. As we discussed earlier, both are crucial components of a nutritional diet.
Set Healthy Eating Goals Now that you know more about the latest food trends, it’s time to set attainable goals. Start small — quick, easy wins are more likely to keep you motivated over time. Consider one (or more) of these goals:
- Choose fresh, unprocessed snacks (like carrot sticks and hummus)
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make half of the grains you eat ancient grains
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda or cocktails
- Cut back on solid fats like cakes, cookies, pizza, and other processed foods
- Mix more vegetables into your favorite recipes
To improve your odds of success, find a friend or loved one to join you in changing your food choices. Having a support system to hold you accountable will help keep you motivated you each day.
When you make it through a day without turning to unhealthy habits, or you achieve one of your goals, acknowledge your accomplishment. Reward yourself with a healthy celebration, like a night out without your kids, or a bubble bath and a good book. Use these small victories to keep yourself motivated.
Want to do more? Read more nutrition blogs.
Source: Macro Food Trends in the U.S., E15 Group, December 2019.
Edited and reviewed 12/14/22
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