Trending Toward Health and Well-Being in 2013, Part I
Heading into the New Year there are resolutions, goals, trends and lists forecasting activities and interests for the next 12 months. Trends viewed through the prism of annual predictions include:
3. Increasing Use and Consumption of Greens
4. Snacking & Mini Meals
5. Wise Buy Proteins
6. Meatless Meals
7. Food Transparency
8. Cooking Your Own aka CYO
9. Guilty Pleasures
10. Local, Local, Local
Each of the ten has qualities to aid in achieving well-being. I've divided this list in half and will discuss the first five trends in this post. I'll cover the remaining trends in "Trending Toward Health and Well-Being in 2013-Part II."
Overall we're all striving to attain some aspect of healthy-for a healthy planet, sustainability is a key building block. For the healthy body, fitness and a balanced diet are essential. In seeking healthy food choices folks are looking for answers to food-related questions. I'll continue to share information, suggestions and tactics to help you stay on the right path to good nutrition, fitness and well-being. The trends forecast for the coming year have synergy-they can work together to help you achieve goals for a healthier lifestyle.
Sustainability using a simple definition relates to methods of using or harvesting resources so that the resources are not wasted or permanently damaged. This can impact food choices during the week. Look at options that will minimize food prep time, and manage the food budget to avoid over spending and food waste. For example roast two whole chickens at the same time, use one for a roasted chicken dinner with noodles, use the second for chicken sandwiches and shredded chicken enchiladas. Make chicken noodle soup with the carcass and noodles from the roasted chicken dinner and use the remainder of the second chicken to make richly flavored chicken broth that is ready-to-use from your freezer.
Greens are both a descriptor and power food on the hot list. Greens are edible leaves of plants such as beets, dandelion, kale, mustard, Swiss chard and turnips. These dark green leafy vegetables are, nutrient-rich and contain minerals, vitamin C and many of the B vitamins. They are low in calories and a good source of fiber. Greens have grown in popularity and availability; traditionally they are steamed, sautéed or slow-cooked. Uses now include greens as ingredients in salads, soups, sandwiches and more.
Snacking and Mini-Meals are growing in popularity as people snack throughout the day. Small bites, acceptability of an appetizer in place of the entree in restaurants, tapas, and bite-size portions are options that have helped fuel the increase. Research from food industry research leader, the NPD Group indicates that more than half of Americans snack two to three times per day, while one in five eating occasions is a snack. Snacks as part of the daily diet are an important option for healthy eating. Wise choices for snacks such as Greek-style yogurt, medium-size apple or orange, and almonds boost energy and take the edge off hunger to prevent overeating when it's mealtime. Snacks throughout the day are especially important in managing diabetes.
Wise Buy Proteins include beans and other legumes, tofu, cheese and eggs. Protein is a critical part of a healthy diet, but it does not always have to come from a slice of meat or poultry-there are plenty of choices that are lower in fat and price. You can substitute tofu for meat in lasagna, choose beans and rice such as red beans or black beans the signature dishes of popular ethnic cuisines. There are also high protein grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. The grains are gluten-free and can be served as hot cereals or ingredients in salads, breads, soups, and stews.
Take away: Health and well-being continue to be hot topics for 2013. If your goal for the year is about improving nutrition, increasing fitness and focusing on your well-being, you can rely on these trends to help you stay on the right track.
Michelle J. Stewart MPH, RDLD/N, C