It's been another great year for adventurous foodies in 2018, from tossing back bone broth smoothies to digging into two-ingredient bagels ... and, of course, there was the wildly popular celebrity-endorsed ketogenic diet.
But if you're already looking for the next best edible thing, don't worry, we've taken a look at some of the hottest healthy food trends that are poised to take off in the new year. Whether you're looking to improve gut health, shed a few pounds or just have more energy, some of these new foods may just help you meet your New Year's resolutions.
1. Oat milk will be the new almond milk.
Non-dairy milks (or mylks), like almond and coconut, have been big over the past five years, but oat milk is set to outpace them by 2019. It’s allergen free (unless you're allergic to oats) and baristas love it because it foams up nicely for lattes. Oatly, a brand from Sweden, has increased production of its oat milk by 1,250 percent since 2017 after it was first introduced to cafes in the U.S.
Quaker, the brand that’s practically synonymous with oats stateside, just released its own version of oat milk, too. It's called Oat Beverage and it will be hitting the refrigerated section of grocery stores nationwide in January. While oat milk is relatively low in calories, compared to other non-dairy beverages it has a high carbohydrate content so it's not suitable for those looking to cut carbs.
2. Bread will be the new … bread.
After years of eschewing the bread basket over fears of consuming empty calories and gluten, consumers are bringing bread back to their tables. Google searches for “how to bake bread” reached an all-time high this November since peaking in 2004. While recipes for keto bread top the list, folks are also on the lookout for gluten-free cloud bread, followed by more traditional recipes like garlic bread. Recipes for sourdough bread have also seen a big spike in searches on Pinterest.
3. Prebiotics will be the new probiotics.
While probiotics, the good bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi, have commanded attention over the last several years, prebiotics are likely to start getting some of the spotlight in 2019. Prebiotics, the source of fuel for the good bacteria that helps balance our guts, are in the non-digestible part of foods like bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, onion, garlic, pistachios, wheat bran and dandelion greens.
Consumers have shown a growing interest in digestive health, and sales of products in this category are projected to grow at an annual rate of 10.4 percent through 2023, according to a report by research firm Markets and Markets. Of course, probiotic-containing foods will still be big in 2019 but prebiotics are already showing up in cereals, like the Kellogg’s-backed Happy Inside. We’ll likely be seeing more drinks, bars and other ready-to-eat snack items touting a prebiotic punch in 2019.
4. CBD will be absolutely everywhere.
As marijuana use becomes legal in more states, one of its byproducts is taking off in restaurant and cafe kitchens nationwide. Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from cannabis, but it doesn’t contain any psychoactive properties so it doesn't make you high like pot. Proponents claim that it simply mellows you out, may be helpful in reducing anxiety and even contains some anti-inflammatory properties but the full medicinal benefits of CBD have not been consistently proven in scientific studies.
Currently, it's usually delivered in an oil form, but can also be found as a powder. According to Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, a holistic cannabis practitioner at Jannabis Wellness, the effects of CBD may last from 6 to 12 hours, depending on the delivery method. Bissex says that foods with fat “may prolong the effect.”
In New York City, restaurant chain by Chloe has a line of CBD-infused sweets and snacks called Feelz, which are available at most of their locations. Each of the products, including cookies, brownies and cupcakes, include about 2.5 milligrams of CBD oil from a company called Toast.
Matchabar, also in Manhattan, offers a matcha latte with a tablespoon of CBD laced honey from Potli. In Portland, vegan café Harlow offers CBD shots in any of their drinks for a $3 upcharge. And GT’s Kombucha just launched a new sparkling beverage called Dream Catcher, which is infused with 25 milligrams of CBD and caffeine to “promote calm, focused energy.”
5. Tahini will be the new almond butter.
Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, has taken off as a rich addition to cookies and brownies. Though centuries old, the confluence of consumer interest in plant-based ingredients, dairy- and gluten-free products, and the paleo diet have all created a special place for tahini to thrive. And new players in the space, like Philadelphia-based Soom Foods, have modernized how we think of this Mediterranean ingredient.
Since launching in 2013, Soom’s sales have exploded by 1,300 percent. Tahini is rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium and it's high in protein and unsaturated fat. For cooks, tahini offers a wonderfully creamy texture and can be used to enhance a variety of foods. Expect to see tahini showing up in everything from salad dressing to vegan caramel sauce in the year ahead.
6. Elderberries will be the new acai.
Tiny and tart, the elderberry is set to take over Instagram and beyond. Pinterest searches for the deep purple berry are up a whopping 685 percent since last year. Loaded with anthocyanins and vitamin C, they pump up nutrition and add a beautiful hue to drinks and desserts.
Tom LaMonte, the owner-operator of Northwest Wild Foods in Burlington, Washington, told TODAY Food that he used to sell 2,000 pounds of the frozen berries in a year. In 2018, he's sold 20,000 pounds and is currently out of stock.
Why is there such a sudden frenzy over the purple berry? YouTube is rich with DIY videos for making a cold and flu-fighting elderberry syrup. But LaMonte cautions that you really need to know what you’re doing before you make elderberries part of your diet since raw elderberries, as well as the leaves and flowers, contain a chemical that produces cyanide, which can cause nausea, vomiting and even more serious issues at high doses. If you're just getting acquainted with the fruit, it's best to start with a store-bought version of the syrup — just look for one that doesn't contain too many additives and excess sugar.
7. Grazing tables will be the new snack tray.
We’ve come to think of grazing as a bad thing for sticking to a healthy diet, but grazing tables are becoming a new, fun way of entertaining. The trend originated in Australia and is starting to make its mark here as an eye-popping way to feed guests at weddings and other festive occasions.
What exactly is a grazing table? Think of a cheese plate that has exploded to cover an entire table, consisting of everything from meats and cheeses to fruits, jams, nuts, herbs, olives, vegetables and dips, even desserts. They bring a little drama to the usual dinner party, with colorful presentations, height from decorated cake stands, seasonal foliage and a variety of beautiful bowls. Plus, they can provide guests with plenty of options to choose from so there's truly a little something for every tastebud.
8. Fats will be the new protein.
The ketogenic diet has garnered a ton of followers in 2018, giving rise to products that cater to its adherents. Since people following the keto diet must stick to eating mostly fats (60-80 percent of their total caloric intake), dieters often need to add oil to their meals to stay within the right macro numbers. Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil from coconuts is one easy way to add more fat. It now comes in a powdered form that makes it easier to dissolve in coffee or even a glass of water. Plus, it adds 6 grams of fat per scoop.
Another fat source that has gotten a big boost from the popularity of keto and paleo diets is ghee, which is made from butter but it's free of lactose. Ghee can be used for cooking and baking, and it's an easy way to boost the fat content of any meal by adding a bit to vegetables or stirring it into hot drinks.
Aside from ghee, cocoa butter, the fat that is pressed out of cacao beans, is also being used to amp up the fat content in convenient snack products, like the keto-friendly Dang Bar.
Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, is a nutrition and wellness expert, writer, mom of three and best-selling author. Her books include "Feed the Belly," "The CarbLovers Diet" and "Eating in Color." Follow her on Instagram and check out her website.