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We’ve seen different diets, food trends and plenty of nutrition fads ebb and flow over the last few decades, but what can you expect to see saturating your feeds in 2022?
According to the latest What’s Trending in Nutrition survey released by Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian, a study that looked at the responses of 1,173 registered dietitian nutritionists actively working in the field of nutrition, the new year brings with it many similarities in nutrition trends that we’ve seen emerge throughout the past decade.
While it’s without question the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted food and nutrition trends in the last two years, registered dietitian nutritionists agree the trends that have emerged from this moment in history are likely here to stay, such as online shopping and the desire for more immune-enhancing foods. One thing is for certain: All registered dietitian nutritionists want you to embrace the personalized nutrition plan that works for you, while adding in an extra fruit and vegetable or two!
Here’s a closer look at five major trends to look out for, according to this survey.
High-fat, low-carb diets
If you haven’t seen the deli meat bacon roll-up on a tortilla made from cheese just yet, you’re bound to this year. While fat-free diet trends have come on and gone (thank goodness, may I add!), the high-fat, low-carbohydrate trend that embraces the ketogenic style of eating is likely here to stay another year.
Registered dietitian nutritionists surveyed made an interesting point: It’s almost as if the overcorrection in diet culture has confused Americans, leading the pendulum to swing from one extreme to the next.
While there’s NO need to avoid carbohydrates – they’re a nutrient-dense part of a balanced diet that provide much-needed energy and B vitamins – there’s also no need to “load up” on dietary fat. Eating each macronutrient group within recommended amounts will help provide your body the fuel it needs to keep running all year long.
If you haven’t looked around at your local market lately, then give the refrigerated and freezer sections a once-over this week. You’re bound to find a plethora of plant-based burgers, nuggets and more saturating the shelves. While the plant-forward eating trend certainly isn’t new, it’s here to stick around as we enter the new year.
Personally, as an equal opportunity consumer (meaning I eat both plant and animal foods), I find the interest in a plant-forward diet exciting! After all, registered dietitian nutritionists have been trying to get Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables for years. However, the concern I have is when it gets pushed to an extreme and people are left eating a nutritionally inadequate diet because they don’t quite understand how to pair their foods together to create a balanced, plant-forward meal.
To break it down simply for you, here’s the deal: Plant-forward doesn’t have to mean vegan or vegetarian. You can absolutely eat a plant-forward diet by enjoying a serving of lean meat, like a flank steak, piece of grilled chicken or baked salmon. The premise is to make the majority of your plate, or about 50%, from plants. Then, adding in healthy fats, whole grains and lean protein can help make up the rest!
Immune-supporting, functional food innovations
Given the steep rise in products and supplements that support immune health over the past year-plus, it’s without question that functional food innovations that elicit any sort of immunity benefits will continue to be popular in the new year. Registered dietitian nutritionists surveyed agreed that while immune health will continue to reign supreme in consumer purchasing, other factors such as convenience, health and taste will also dictate buying behavior.
The surveyed respondents also noted that with immune health benefits, consumers will also be on the hunt for functional food innovations that capitalize on some of the emerging trends we’ve seen, such as the use of cannabis via CBD in edibles and tinctures, collagen and hemp.
This data supports the findings released from the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) December 2021 survey that found consumers are increasingly interested in food and beverages that support immunity as well as products made with CBD.
Convenient, healthy snack options
95% of registered dietitian nutritionists surveyed in this study agreed consumers are snacking more, which exceeds the September data from IFIC that found 36% of American consumers have increased their snacking habits since the pandemic began. I think we can all agree that snacking has gone up exponentially, be it from a desire to seek comfort, the convenience of working from home and accessibility to the food, or other recent factors.
To meet consumer demand, expect to see more convenient, healthy snack options coming out from your favorite brands in the new year made with some of the superfoods that are expected to be on radar this year.
Registered dietitian nutritionists surveyed noted these foods to be the top 10 to watch in 2022:
- Fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir
- Seeds, such as chia and hemp
- Exotic fruit, like acai and golden berries
- Green tea
- Ancient grains
- Spinach and leafy greens
Believe me when I say brands are already on it! I’ve already seen convenient, plant-based yogurt pouches filled with chia, kale and avocados saturing my inbox.
If you saw your favorite influencer on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok sharing how they lost those last 10 pounds by implementing an intermittent fasting (IF) regimen, reader beware. You’re likely to see this trend continue into 2022.
While the research is still evolving in the IF arena, it’s important to evaluate for each person individually if IF (and more particularly, which type of IF) is right for you. Registered dietitian nutritionists recommend being wary of where you receive your information on nutrition and health (and spoiler: it shouldn’t be from a social media feed!), and instead work with a trained professional to get the personalized care you deserve.
Want to give some of these trends a try for yourself? Keep reading to learn more: