Hot Food Trends: Healthy Meal Options for the New Year
Food trends for 2018 are already showing a return to healthy, sustainable ingredients that do as much good in the body as they do for the planet: ketogenic-friendly eating, gut-healing fermented ingredients, and flavor-boosting spices are just a few good examples. With the ketogenic, or keto, diet on the rise, there’s a renewed focus on healthy fats and protein-heavy diets.
Keto-based eating works on the idea that our bodies process fat differently when we cut down on carbohydrates — without the oxaloacetate compound found in carbohydrates to bind with fat to give us energy, our livers convert the extra fat into ketones, an alternative source of fuel to bring energy to our muscles and brains.
Protein and healthy fats can be found in many sources, and sustainable seafood provides a fresh and flavorful way to increase our intake of both. You’ve undoubtedly heard about unethical fishing practices, and as awareness for this cause has grown, production has shifted toward a focus on tractability and responsibly-sourced products. The United States leads the way in sustainable production and conservation; in 2016 alone, four species of fish were removed from the over fishing list — and that’s what’s showing up on our plates.
With eco-conscious seafood readily available, and everyone trying to up their protein-to-carb ratio, sushi has big staying power in 2018. Thanks to grocery chains, supermarket sushi is done getting a bad rap. Retail sushi prices range from $7 to $9 per roll, and that’s only expected to rise as consumer awareness around quality and sustainability grows. Diners are demanding more and better options, looking for high-end ingredients and unique flavor combinations.
And sushi will start to show up in forms other than just spicy tuna as well, as consumers are looking for more interesting, creative ways to enjoy their seafood. Hawaiian poke bowls have proven to be an easy solution. Pronounced POH-keh, and meaning “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian, poke dates back hundreds of years on the island and typically consists of pieces of marinated raw tuna set atop a bed of hot white rice, flavored with vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.
It’s important to pay respect to the Hawaiian culture and the significance that food plays in their heritage — sharing in a delicious, ethnic food tradition is a way to keep that heritage alive. But staying true to the essence doesn’t mean you can’t introduce a little variety. The customizations are endless:
Boost the bowl with unique fruits and vegetables, like radishes, daikon, and pineapple
Sprinkle on trendy seasonings like turmeric and harissa
Get the probiotic benefits of fermented foods by adding Asian-inspired kimchi, miso and pickled ginger
Cook your rice in coconut milk for a creamy, sweet touch
Go totally rogue with buffalo sauce and cool celery slices — get creative!
2018 is breathing new life into consumer awareness around eco-conscious eating, and sustainable seafood easily fits into that trend. It’s a delicious way to add high-quality protein and healthy fats into our diet, provides a healthy base for unique and immune-boosting ingredients, and allows our plates to satisfy our urge to do good for the environment and ourselves.