10 Healthy Food Trends You’re Going to Spot in 2016

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Last week San Francisco welcomed the Winter Fancy Food Show, featuring thousands of food and drink producers from around the world. You could happily eat your way through miles of cheese, chocolate, and olive oil, but healthy superfoods were the standout stars. From avocado oil to chia seeds to lots of love for legumes, here’s what’s coming to a grocery store near you in 2016.

1. Coconut Everything

First, there was coconut water. Then, coconut oil. Now, the nut is nearly inescapable. There’s cream, butter, sugar, syrup, coconut dipped in chocolate, and even coconut toasted into chips. But the next big thing might be the sweeteners, like Big Tree Coconut Sugar, which offers an intriguing alternative to white sugar. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, slowing down that sugar rush, but it’s still high in calories, so don’t go overboard. 

2. Super Seeds

Nutrient-rich seeds are on the scene, sold simply in bags, or baked into granola, crackers, cookies, and more. You might already be familiar with chia seeds, which pack protein, fiber, and omega-3’s. This year, flax gets a turn in the spotlight, with extra points for disease protection, and sacha inchi seeds and hemp hearts, like Manitoba Hemp Hearts, are getting some attention, too.

3. Açaí Berries

If the açaí bowls you’ve been seeing on Instagram weren’t convincing enough, you can rest assured, the amazing purple berries are here to stay. Will they help with weight loss and anti-aging? The jury is still out on that myth from the Amazon, but like other brightly colored fruit, açaí berries do contain healthy antioxidants. Sprinkle a powdered version, like Navitas Açaí Powder, in your smoothies and drink in the benefits.

4. Avocado Oil

The new coconut oil has arrived. Avocado oil, such as Chosen Foods Avocado Oil, is fabulously buttery and bursting with the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fats found in the fresh fruit (surprise, avocados aren’t vegetables!). And with a smoke point up to 500°F (260°C), it’s a reliable choice for high-heat cooking. Also available now: avocado mayo, which is as delectable as it sounds. Can you hear the fish tacos calling?  

5. Freekeh

With more protein and fiber than quinoa, freekeh (pronounced “freak-ah”) is an ancient grain worth freaking out about. It’s a type of wheat (note: not gluten-free) that’s harvested while still green and then roasted to release a slightly smoky flavor. Try an organic option, such as Village Harvest Organic Freekeh, tossed in salads or served alongside chicken or fish.

6. Lentil Chips

The United Nations declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses,” singing the praises of lentils, beans, and peas. Skip the old-fashioned tater chips and snack on lentil or black bean chips, like The Daily Crave Himalayan Pink Salt Lentil Chips, instead. Enjoy the extra protein boost—just be sure to keep an eye on that fat content.

7. Roasted Chickpeas

If you’re loving the legume trend, keep rolling with chickpeas. Roasted and tossed with savory spices, they can be your new healthy afternoon snack solution. Make your own or tried a ready-to-eat option, like Saffron Road Bombay Spice Crunchy Chickpeas.

8. Hummus Reimagined

There’s no rule that hummus can only be made with chickpeas. Market shelves will soon be filled with versions of this simple dip featuring other beans, including white beans, black beans, or yellow lentils, and edamame, like Eat Well Embrace Life Edamame Hummus. Or try a lighter veggie version, which slips sweet pureed carrots or beets into the mix.

9. Freeze-Dried Veggies

Step aside, kale chips. There are a whole lot of dehydrated, freeze-dried, and chip-ified veggies getting into the game this year. Next up: beet chips, like Rhythm Superfoods new line (hitting shelves later this year), which are bright purple and full of vitamins.

10. Full-Fat Yogurt

Fat is back, and very soon you’ll spot more of it in the yogurt case. Even the big-name brands are expanding beyond low- and nonfat with whole milk offerings. Keep an eye out for superfood Greek yogurt, like Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, with full fat and full flavor.

What do you think of these trend foods? Is there anything you’re excited to eat this year? Join the conversation below.

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