Diet Trends in 2024: What's hot and what's not
The New Year is just around the corner and with it comes an onslaught of new supplements, diet books and plans, coffees, teas and "plans" promising everything from weight loss to anti-aging to disease prevention. This quick blog is written by a dietitian who has seen over 22 new years come and pass while working in the nutrition space. It outlines what you can expect to see, what you should avoid and what should gain your attention.
Food is Medicine
Over the last year, nutrition professionals have seen an emergence in hiring professionals exclusively dedicated to "Food is Medicine" projects. Big companies are spending millions of dollars to promote food and food products for the purpose of preventing and treating disease. This will be seen in marketing campaigns, the emphasis on low-carbon footprint eating and sustainability of food sources. Bottom line: You're going to see more information shared about where your food comes from and what resources it took to get there.
Functional sodas like probiotic soda, mood boosting seltzers, mushroom coffee, plant-based milks from sources like oat, rice and pea protein will find their ways at eye level shelves in your local grocery store. Many will highlight "clean eating", "whole food" and "organic" sourcing as well as compare and contrast ingredients against traditional sodas, coffees and animal based milks. Bottom line: Just because a food is absent of an ingredient does not implicitly mean that the ingredient is bad for you. In other words, being "gluten-free" doesn't mean eating gluten is bad for you. Being "plant-based" doesn't mean ingesting animal products are bad for you. Individual nutrition needs vary. Pay attention to the cost on these products. Price/ounce is a good way of gauging if something is sustainable in your own eating plan.
According to the latest data from the National Institutes of Health, 99% of Americans snack once a day and snacks are contributing to over a quarter of an American's daily energy needs. Snack choices are important and they will include a lot of plant-based options like soy based and Asian inspired dried beans, dried whole fruit based sweets, and new-to-you whole grains used in Asian cultures like buckwheat and flavor profiles from hot peppers in place of hot sauce. Trends for high-protein snacks will continue in 2024 as they did in 2023 so be on the look out for more ready to eat bars, shakes and protein fortified snacks, just beware that the same product that was once marketed as "keto" will show itself again under a new name or package. Bottomline: In our experience, snacks make or break nutrition goals and they are expensive. Sleep on the idea of purchasing a new snack bar, shake or influencer's "top pick" before buying and better yet--message us about it first!
Ready Made Meals
Canada, United States and Mexico continue to lead and are projected to lead sales in the ready-made meal space. This includes canned, frozen and mail-order meals. We will look for companies that provide meals with lean proteins, minimal sodium and an abundance of vegetables in the new year as we help our clients gain access to practical food solutions. Some mail order meal companies are still falling short of reducing added sodium and sugar in their products despite using names like "diabetes friendly" or "keto friendly". Bottom line: Do your homework on label reading in 2024 when selecting ready made frozen, refrigerated and canned meals. Rest assured, our concierge members will still have access to the chef prepared meal ordering local to North Texas in the new year.
We're super jazzed to see the use of allergen-free proteins in items like tortillas, milk beverages, spreads, crackers and baking mixes as so many of our clients struggle with irritable bowel syndrome, food sensitivities and food allergies. We are always looking for practical and delicious options to accommodate them. We've sampled and tried over 20 new products sent to our test kitchen in preparation for more additions to our e-recipe library for North Texas Nutrition Associates clients. We will be sharing some of our favorite recipes in our blogs and stories and welcome your input and suggestions as we have fun along the way!
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