What can we say about 2020? It brought national disasters, political upheaval, and a worldwide pandemic. It also brought a renewed sense of gratitude for our families and those we love. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe Grumpy Aunt Gertrude’s absence this past Thanksgiving has convinced you to treasure your next visit together—or not. But we bet you’re ready to have a gathering with more than 10 guests, hug your loved ones, and send your kids off to school without a worry. We’re also certain you’re glad 2020 is in the books. So what can you do with 2021?
If you want to keep your body healthy and strong to optimize your immune system, focus on eating healthy. Each year brings innovations in the food industry and greater knowledge about how our bodies use the nutrients we take in through food. Here’s a look at what’s trending for 2021.
Breakfast is back
One of the highlights of “sheltering in place” is that we get the time to enjoy breakfast again. Pre-COVID, you may have slid by with a couple bites of toast and shoved quick-fix granola bars at your family members as they headed out the door to work or school. Can you say Pop-Tarts? But ask any dietician: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We now have plenty of time to fry eggs or flip fluffy pancakes on any weekday morning. Oh, the freedom! Oh, the nutritional boost to start your day and metabolism! The best part? The kids are home and can help. Yes! Bring them into the kitchen and bond over the fun that is sure to materialize while teaching them about nutrition. Win-win!
Fresh is best
Getting back into the kitchen is perhaps one of the healthiest things to prioritize in 2021, especially cooking with little to no processed food products. Avoiding all those fillers and additives starts at the grocery. Shop only the outside aisles of the store when possible. This is where the produce, meats, cheese, eggs, and other fresh products are. The inner aisles generally hold processed foods and snacks.
Snack it up
Speaking of snacks, one food trend in 2021 is including more fruits and veggies in everyday snack options. Granola bars have added powdered veggies to boost nutrition. Look for interesting flavor combinations in dried fruit snacks and bottled beverages, a wide array for adults and kids alike. Extra nutrition is being packed into products to offset the world’s concern for immune function and health in light of the pandemic. Some companies have started adding adaptogens such as mushrooms and other herbs into snack foods, while others are increasing production of probiotics such as yogurt and sauerkraut as on-the-go options.
Food waste is a waste
As Americans look to stocking healthier kitchens, we are also keeping a focused eye on food waste. Composting and using more parts of our food have become more mainstream as people aim their focus on protecting our one and only planetary home. Using mostly fresh produce and foods can also cut down on food waste and packaging, making a lighter load for the trash and recycling operations in your city.
With all of these innovations and opportunities, it’s still important to remember the foundations of good eating: fresh fruits and veggies; high-protein meats; beans, legumes, tofu, and other protein sources for vegetarians; whole grains; dairy; and low amounts of sugar and processed foods. Being intentional with this diet will keep your mental and physical health strong to ensure a fresh start and a strong finish to the new year!