Say goodbye to whipped coffee and banana bread, and hello to the latest food and drink trends of 2021. The future of our pantry shelves are good for you and the environment. Ryan Andrews, RD, principal nutritionist and adviser at Precision Nutrition says he sees a pull toward more sustainability in our food practices and our choices overall, from pasture-raised animal products to eco-friendly packaging. Meanwhile, thanks to a year of waking up to health reminders, Robin Foroutan, RDN, integrative medicine dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says we’re also putting our well-being at the top of the grocery list. Here are the food trends blowing up—and the best ways to taste them.
The World Food Program World Food Programestimates that one-third of the planet’s food is lost or wasted every year. (The average American trashes 20 pounds each month.) Andrews says a new wave of forward-thinking snack brands are upcycling undesirable and leftover food byproducts into irresistible munchies. For example, addictingly crunchy ReGrained Super-grain+ Puffs are made from the spent grain of brewed beer.
[$20, 5-pack; regrained.com]
First kimchi was all the rage, now good ol’ reliable beans are joining the alternative snacks party. “Legumes are sustainable, health-promoting and tasty,” says Andrews. Plus they’re part of another major movement: plant-based eating. Fiber and protein keep you full longer, while powerful nutrients ward off disease. Brami’s pickled lupini beans have 50 percent more protein than chickpeas and 80 percent fewer calories than almonds.
[$17, 4-pack; bramisnacks.com]
Punchy Spice Blends
Herbs and spices will take you to Flavortown without torching your taste buds like some hot sauces can. Bonus: Most of these blends are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, says Foroutan. A big trend for 2021 is artisanal fusions. Try Asian-influenced umami mixes. Or Mexican-inspired adobo spices, like SpiceWalla Al Pastor Rub, in which ancho and guajillo chilli powder lend a slow burn that’s mellowed by pineapple and citrus.
Diversified Grains, Seeds and Greens
Go all-in on trendy whole grains like teff, spelt and sorghum; seeds like chia and sunflower; and while you’re at it, swap kale for collards. To achieve variety that yields superfood levels of vitamins and minerals, reach for Go Raw’s Sprouted Organic Mixed Seeds. The pumpkin, sunflower and watermelon seed medley is nutrient-dense due to the sprouted germination process, which breaks down some starch.
[$80, 6-pack; goraw.com]
Prioritize fair-trade beans; they’ve met standards that help the environment and ensure workers are treated well and paid fairly. Also, expect to see more coffee products mixed with adaptogens—plant compounds thought to armor the body against biological and physical stressors. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee boasts ashwagandha, chaga mushroom and more adaptogenic ingredients known to lower stress and spike immunity.
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