Pouring

Whether you’re looking to get more superfoods into your busy lifestyle or to find a healthy alternative to your favourite snack foods, these latest health food trends are worth a test drive.

As a holistic nutritionist, I love talking about health food trends for the coming year because their rise in popularity means more people are focusing on incorporating healthy, “new” foods into their diet. Last year, seaweed enjoyed the spotlight. The year before, awareness around adaptogens exploded. This year, the health food industry picks up more steam than ever with inventive and healthy ways for consumers to stick to their healthy habits.

1. THE RISE OF SUPERPOWDERS

Superfood supplement powders are nothing new, but the sheer breadth of options on the market is. If you’re looking for a health boost, but your diet is missing the mark in a few areas, it’s now easier than ever to find a whole food superpowder to help.

Whether you want to reduce inflammation, improve your immune system or heal your gut with collagen, there’s a superfood powder for that. This year, you’ll be able to find everything from fermented fruits and vegetables to dehydrated mushroom/cacao elixirs, matcha sachets, fermented turmeric and packaged proteins like grass-fed collagen.

2. FLOWER POWER

Our love affair with irresistible floraled foodie pics on Instagram might account for the rising popularity of edible flowers and all things floral-flavoured in general this year.

2018 ushers in a new kind of flower power where more and more of your favourite drinks, snacks and desserts are infused with a variety of floral flavours. Whether it’s in your favourite hibiscus rose kombucha, a lavender infused almond milk latte or raspberry geranium popsicles, this trend might just be your gateway experience to the real thing!

When it comes to edible flowers, those deep pigments contain the same types of powerful phytonutrients, flavonoids and antioxidants that we talk about in brightly coloured foods like berries, carrots and tomatoes. Studies have shown the various benefits of consuming flowers; like the anxiety-reducing effect of chamomile and that consuming hibiscus can lower blood pressure.

We may not know exactly how many of these beneficial compounds are contained in your favourite floral-flavoured snacks, but it’s certainly a tasty step in the right direction.

3. POPPED + PUFFED SNACKS

Chips are getting a much-needed makeover.

We know potato chips and other fried vegetables aren’t good for us; they’re full of inflammatory trans fats and skyrocketing amounts of sodium. As many of us look for healthier alternatives, manufacturers have stepped up with convenient and tasty popped and puffed products that offer a healthier way to crush that crunch craving.

This year, you’ll see lots of light and crunchy alternatives popping up at the health food stores and specialty grocers this year like: seaweed fava chips, fajita chickpea puffs, beet puffs, Brussels sprout crisps and (of course) many organic varieties of cheese puffs too.

Sure, an apple would be a healthier choice, but for the love of a balanced life that includes treats, we now have a lot of healthier options when we want to bring a bag of munchies to a party or just want to Netflix and crunch.

TIP: Look for puffed or popped snacks that are free from anything artificial, are non-GMO and use whole grains or organic ingredients.

4. BUBBLES

Thankfully, more and more Canadians are ditching their soda pop habit as awareness swells about the health dangers of excess sugar. Did you know that one can of pop usually has about 10 added teaspoons of sugar?

Thankfully, alternative bubbles are making a big splash this year so you can easily quench your craving for a fizzy drink without all that sugar, artificial flavour or colouring.

Besides plain sparkling mineral water, my favourite carbonated beverage these days is kombucha. All those bubbles come from the good bacteria metabolizing the starter sugars in the fermentation process. So you’re literally sipping on probiotics when you enjoy a ‘booch’!

Not a fan of kombucha? Try sparkling bitters this year: a drink made by blending sparkling water with the highly concentrated liquid extractions of herbs, roots, and fruit. Bitters are a great aide to stimulate digestion, so this would make a great pre-meal drink.

Or, you can simply choose from the new lot of no-sugar, fruit-infused carbonated water options.

Note: If the product is sugar free, look for the natural flavours to be derived from pure fruit essential oils.

5. TRANSPARENCY

I’m so happy about this trend, which is emerging strongly in 2018! As more health-conscious Canadians carefully evaluate products for both what they contain and also for what they do not, food manufacturers are responding with a new level of transparency in their ingredients. Look around this year and you’ll be seeing a lot more simple, natural and ethically sourced ingredients.

I’ll raise of glass of kombucha to that!