Health Cuisine

        10 Healthy Food Trends Right Now

10. Mediterranean-style cooking

Olive oil & garlic sautees rather than frying, tomato sauce rather than creamy or cheesy sauces, pasta with fresh veggies and chicken rather than burgers: all of these different forms of the healthy preparation techniques known as Mediterranean-style cooking. Even that Italian and French staple red wine has been shown to confer healthy benefits when taken in moderation. People love Mediterranean-style cooking because it sacrifices nothing in terms of taste but cuts out huge amounts of saturated fat while including loads of good veggies and healthy fats. Speaking of which...

9. Healthy fats

Healthy fats are one of the hottest movements in healthy food. There was a time many of us remember (the late 80’s/early 90’s) when the smart nutrition approach was to avoid all fats. We now realize that not all fats are bad fats. Many fats are beneficial and we know them as “healthy fats.” The number of benefits gained from eating extra virgin olive oil, avocados and salmon just keeps growing. First of all, the brain needs healthy fats not only for structure (the physical cells) but for function (mood and improved thinking and memory). Next, healthy fats actually reduce the levels of bad fats in the arteries, thus improving heart function. Third, good fats are known to improve fat burning. You already know about extra virgin olive oil and the omega-3 fats found in fish. You are soon going to be hearing about krill oil, a tiny Antarctic fish that is rapidly climbing the healthy food popularity chart due to its natural antioxidant properties and super-clean South pole ocean home.

8. Functional Foods

Energy drinks are already inescapable and right now the hot growth market is energy “shots.” But how about drinks (or foods) for better brain function, mood enhancement, digestive health, relaxation and sleep, fighting allergies, and stronger immunity? All of these “functional benefits” are available from specific nutrients that are already on many shelves or are in heavy development right now and soon will be. I bet you never thought you would see the day eating Cocoa Krispies would boost your immunity (whether it is true or not is another story – but the product is here now). Functional foods are here and will continue to grow for the near future.

7. Gluten-free

1% of the population is gluten-intolerant. They react badly to this protein found in wheat – thus making them unable to partake in a wide variety of foods and making life much more challenging. Any breads, baked goodies, most pasta and cereals are off limits. However, many more people have no problem eating gluten but want to avoid gluten anyway. As a result we now have gluten-free bakeries, restaurants, products and recipe books proliferating across the nation – especially in our cultural hotspots such as New York and Los Angeles. And if you believe the media hype, the trend is still growing.

6. Return of home-cooked family dinners

Cooking is definitely back and better than ever before. Despite incredible demands on time, women and men across the country love to cook, watch cooking shows, and “take it up a notch” in the kitchen. Research shows that despite social progress women are still overwhelmingly the primary providers of the family dinner but it is truly a labor of love to cook something healthy for the kids. One new study shows that just having dinner with the family can cause a large reduction in the risk of childhood obesity. After a lost generation, the family dinner is so back.

5. Locally grown /CSA /know your farmer

Farmer’s markets feel more like a return to the old country at times – discovering new fruits, bartering with the farmer and carrying our goods in knapsacks. But it is one of the nation’s hottest trends right now and plenty of trendsetting types love nothing more than wandering their local farmer’s market to sample the freshest locally grown produce available. Along these lines is the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, a grassroots movement away from the enormous mechanized food industry and back to knowing and trusting the family that grows your food. Since we can’t all drive out to meet farmers, there are websites such as to help us out. This is one way of being certain that you aren’t ingesting any funny chemicals or hormones which brings us to…

4. Organic /whole /natural

FREE FOOD! No not free as in no cost but free of pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yes this trend is clearly demonstrated by the growth of Whole Foods markets and Trader Joe’s but now we are seeing it enter a new level of popularity in which foods are defined more by what they are NOT rather than what they are. Many ingredients that are famous for being avoided – such as artificial sweeteners – have not been shown to cause any harm whatsoever. Other food additives such as growth hormones and antibiotics are definitely being consumed by all of us and we don’t know what effects they might have long term. However, the suggestion is enough to cause people to flock to “free foods” in droves. Thus the organic/whole/natural movement is gathering some serious steam.

3. Eco-farming /sustainable sourcing:

Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and sustainable sourcing of animal foods is a trend that is silently gathering momentum. As we evolve and become more aware of how we interact with our planet and how it interacts back with us we are growing to recognize the value of treating our livestock as humanely as possible. Not only that but we are learning that animals that live closer to their wild state are more nourishing to us and better tasting. Furthermore, knowing that animals are happier makes us happier. Importantly to all of us, sustainable sourcing allows fish to replenish their populations and creates farms that don’t deplete the earth’s resources while growing livestock. This makes “eco-farming & sustainable sourcing” one of our hottest healthy food trends.

2. Superfruits

Acai, pomegranate, blueberry, goji berry, yumberry, etc. The acai berry is another inescapable item these days. This uber-trendy chocolatey berry from Brazil has fully made its presence felt here in America due to its super-high ORAC antioxidant content (ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a measure of ability to neutralize free-radical damage), fatty acids and amino acids. Marketed to within an inch of its life as a weight loss agent, you can find acai in everything from yogurt to beer and in hundreds of weight loss supplements. Whether it melts the pounds is another question but the healthy antioxidant content and the popularity of the superfruits is indisputable.

1. Vegan/Vegetarian/Flexitarian/Pescatarian

Eating vegan may not be for everyone, that’s why the animal-friendly movement now includes multiple levels of commitment. While vegans avoid any animal-related product, vegetarians eat eggs and dairy – products that don’t harm the animal. Then there’s the new divisions: Flexitarian and Pescatarian. Pescatarians eat no animals except fish while Flexitarians are simply people who eat meat less often but still occasionally have chicken, turkey or fish. There is now room for everybody in the veggie movement and there are products and restaurant choices to support the efforts everywhere you go. Movie stars, musical artists and even pro athletes are jumping on the veggie movement. Even ultra-ripped 51 year old fitness star (and my KLOVE co-star) Tony Horton and NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez are vegetarians. I'm not quite one myself yet, but with all this momentum, the veggie movement is the hottest healthy food trend in America today.