Top 5 food trends for 2015

Want to feel healthier, have more energy and trim down a little? Here’s a smorgasbord of some emerging food and diet trends for 2015 that seem to be gathering momentum. Some hark back to good old fashioned wisdom on what’s good for you, while others are a little more exotic. All of them are easy to incorporate into your eating routines, so why not give them a try and enjoy the benefits.

Grazing goodness
We all enjoy a little nibble between meals to stave off hunger or just to give ourselves a treat, but it seems that many are taking this practice to the next level as a method for improving their diet and eating habits. It’s especially popular for us boomers who were raised on 3 square meals and could well bring health benefits that give us an edge as we age.

The trick is to munch on nutrient rich foods at more frequent intervals through the day, rather than putting all the focus on 3 main meals. It’s easy to incorporate lots of protein and fibre into your diet with this method by choosing foods that are convenient to eat, such as sunflower seeds, nuts, whole grain popcorn, apples and raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks, snow peas and celery. Try adding a smoothie in the morning or some low fat yogurt to add variety.

By eating more often during the day we avoid the hunger pangs and the big drop in blood sugar that can sometimes drive us to overeat on unhealthy foods when we get to meal time. Of course you can still have brekky, lunch and dinner when you are grazing, but grazing enables you to reduce the portion sizes for a healthier outcome.

Fermented foods
There is nothing new about the practice of fermenting some foods, but it seems the health benefits have been re-discovered. Top of the list of fermented foods to try are sauerkraut, kimchi (Korean pickled vegetables), yogurt, miso (a fermented soybean paste) and a fermented milk known as kefir.

The secret of these foods are the good bacteria that they introduce into the digestive system that are claimed to help the digestive process as well as boosting immunity and maybe even helping to lose weight.

Tempeh is another fermented product made from soybeans and available in patties that can be easily incorporated into stir fries and salads and used as a meat substitute. Here’s a tasty suggestion that could get you hooked on this versatile food. Recipe: Taste

If you want to gain some fermented goodness in a hurry, try a kefir smoothie by combining two ripe bananas with two cups of vanilla kefir, then flavour with a few pinches of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Put it all in a blender with some ice cubes and enjoy.

The appeal of amaranth
Just when we have finally learned how to pronounce “quinoa” properly, along comes amaranth as the next big thing in exotic wholegrains. Originating in Peru, this gluten-free grain provides a potent dose of protein (higher than any other grain) and fibre and may also help lower cholesterol.

Amaranth is simply cooked in a similar way to rice. It can then be used as a health addition to add texture to soups or sprinkled on salads. It is also versatile in baking, such as breads, muffins and pancakes. Here is one recipe to get you started on this amazing grain - By Whole Grains Council.

Souping up your diet
While juicing is set to remain a strong food trend this year, souping will move alongside as a quick, easy way to pack some health into your diet. The sometimes high sugar and low fibre outcome of the juicing revolution is leaving a bad taste in some nutritionists’ mouths, but souping allows you to retain fibre and you can control the sugar and salt content more easily.

Your grandmother may roll her eyes at the revelation of soup as being the new health food. She would have long known the nutritional and restorative power of a good homemade broth - an excellent food when recovering from illness, due to the ease of digestion.

A bone broth is a great basis for a myriad of soups and is easy to make. It can take some time to do it right, but by making a big batch you can store it and have it on hand for making soups and casseroles.

A basic bone broth can be made by using good quality meat or chicken bones.

  • Roast them off first for 30 minutes in a 180 degree oven (to intensify flavour)
  • In a large saucepan place the bones in a ratio of 1 kg to 4 litres of water.
  • Add some chopped carrot and celery and onion
  • Bring the boil and lower to a simmer.
  • Up to 48 hours gives the best results for beef or 24 hours for chicken.

You can then store in containers for up to 5 days in the fridge and much longer in the freezer.

Cauliflower is king
Kale has enjoyed its time in the spotlight in recent years, but its cruciferous cousin, cauliflower, is set to be all the rage in 2015. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a powerful sulphur compound that has been linked to cancer prevention, heart health, controlling blood pressure and kidney function. It has great antioxidant properties, which is good for the immune system too.

The possibilities for using the texture and taste of cauliflower go beyond the good old cheese sauce side dish.  It can be roasted, sautéed and stir fried and can be married well with many spices, making it great for curries. It can also be a healthy addition to mashed potato or pasta dishes, such as macaroni and cheese.

A popular new trend is to use cauliflower has a healthy substitute for pizza bases.

  • Finely chop 650 grams of florets in a food processor, microwave on high for 8-10 minutes
  • Drain using a wooden spoon and a fine sieve, to remove excess liquid.
  • Combine with a beaten egg and 50g of grated parmesan
  • Press the mixture onto a pizza tray lined with baking paper
  • Pre bake at 230 degrees for 20 minutes, before adding some passata an your favourite pizza toppings.