Top 5 food trends for 2017
By GMB Founder, Peta Shulman
The health world is a creative one to work in – it’s constantly evolving, and always inspiring. At GMB, we do our best to stay on top of the trends, with one eye on today’s buzzwords, and the other on what’s set to light up the industry next so that we can bring you the best possible boxes. Now that we’re more than halfway through the year, we’re breaking down the top 5 food inventions that are absolutely dominating 2017.
In 2017, what’s old is new again – and people are eating it up. While ancient grains like quinoa have become more popular in recent years, there’s a new slew of superstars in the spotlight: teff, farro and sorghum. High in fibre, protein and B vitamins, these grains are not only packed with nutritional value, but they’re also versatile – they’re great alternatives for pasta, rice, oats, and power bowls. Ancient spices like turmeric are also taking centre-stage. Golden lattes, for example, are showing up on café menus thanks to turmeric’s inflammation-fighting and gut-healing properties. In keeping with the Ayuverdic theme, activated charcoal is also finding its way to the mainstream. It detoxifies and cleanses the body, helping to reduce bloating and improve digestion, and it’s being added to bread and smoothies.
Poke bowls, smoothie bowls, burrito bowls, power bowls… This year, bowls are being served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the method has many benefits. Typically, bowls are colourful, nutritionally balanced and bursting with flavour, and they’re great for using up leftovers and reducing waste. But even better, the act of holding a bowl is linked to mindful eating – since both hands are engaged in eating, it encourages you to stop and slow down to eat, and savour the flavours and textures of the meal. By doing so, you’ll feel full faster than if you were eating the same food off a plate. Win-win.
Are you keen on eating less meat, but don’t want to be a full-fledged vegetarian or vegan? Join the growing number of flexitarians, a group that’s mostly, but not strictly, vegetarian. It’s a sustainable and more achievable way of eating that benefits your health (by reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease) as well as the planet, with many celebrity champions. The flexitarian diet is exactly what it sounds like: it’s flexible, and you can design your own approach. For some people, it may mean only eating meat on the weekends, or when eating out; for others, it might be cutting out meat after lunchtime. If you want to try it, start by eating plant-based meals on Meatless Monday and go from there.
This year, ‘sprouting’ is back in a big way – whether it’s beans, nuts, seeds or grains. In a nutshell, when grains/seeds are unsprouted, a lot of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals lay dormant. This is why, for example, some people find beans and legumes hard to digest. On the other hand, when the cells sprout, the body is able to better absorb the food. The method, which first took off in the 70s, boosts the fibre, protein and nutritional value of food, and also helps to deactivate ‘anti-nutrients’ (like phytic acid) that stand in the way of good digestion. To try the trend for yourself, look for sprouted bread, crackers, flours, seeds and vegan protein powders in your local health food store.
You’ve heard wearing hemp and slathering it on your body, but what about eating it? Hemp seeds have been approved for human consumption in Australia from November 2017, and the trend has taken off. The seeds are rich in protein, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and help to lift energy, promote healthy skin, and improve immunity. They’re gluten-free, and also the only known plant food source that contains vitamin D3. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or toasted, and sprinkled in yoghurt, salads and smoothies.
Unconventional food pairing
The best chefs get creative in the kitchen, coming up with food and flavour pairings that are both weird and wonderful. The health world is getting in on the action more and more in 2017, experimenting with unconventional couplings that just work. For instance, while plant-based milks like almond, rice and oat have been around for ages, now, milk made from peas and lupin (a yellow legume) are starting to hit shelves. Another example is adding unusual ingredients to healthy energy bars, like popcorn. As part of their Free & Naked range, Kez’s Kitchen has released a great Popcorn Bar with dates, raisins, coconut, sunflower, sesame and chia seeds, and yep, popped corn. It’s moreish and full of texture.