It seems that change is in the air when it comes to foods trends for this spring, with renowned dietitian Peta Carige discovering that what might have been ‘in’ last spring/summer may now be on its way ‘out’.
And we’re talking some big time health influencer favourites here – like the acai bowl, coconut water, and coconut oil. But as with most trends, we’ve already begun spotting influencers starting to herald the newest kids on the block…
Here, Peta talks us through what foods are in and what’s out this spring.
Acai bowls are out and poke bowls are in
The facts are finally superseding flavour when it comes to Acai bowls. Yes they are tasty and yes they are nutrient dense – but they are also very, very energy dense for a ‘healthy’ breakfast with a lot of natural sugars from the frozen acai berries (often combined with banana, honey and topped with granola, nuts coconut and more). Instead swap your Acai breakfast for a poke bowl brunch where you are literally served a tasty bowl of whole food. You can pick and choose what you add at most stores and if you can see exactly what you are eating rather than it being hidden in a blended form, then it is better for you, lower in energy and much higher in fibre. It feeds your gut’s flora, keeping your whole body healthy from the inside out. Fun fact – some acai bowls provide the same amount of energy as a Big Mac burger!
Coconut water is out and watermelon water is in
Watermelon water is preaching its health benefits of being 100% natural – which it is, because watermelon is 92% water. Therefore they are able to produce a sweet drink that is natural and low in calories. For this reason, it may be a good replacement for those that are use to including soft drink and orange juice in their daily diet routine – which are both very energy dense and full of added sugar. However, at the end of the day, it is a money-making product and we can all gain more benefits from eating our fruit whole and drinking organic, sugar-free, natural, no fat water from the tap.
Gluten-free is out and wholefood is in
That one friend at lunch who turns down the banquet option because they are eating ‘gluten-free’ will now be turning down cake because they only eat ‘wholefoods’. The gluten-free movement is referring to the portion of the population who eat or request gluten-free (GF) food because they think it is healthier (not the coeliacs of the world who genuinely need to eat gluten-free). However, the ‘trendy GF’s’ who turn down pasta but have a teaspoon of their friend’s dessert have made it difficult for the true coeliacs of the world to be respected by chefs. As a health profession, I am really happy to see the trendy GF’s move on to the wholefood movement, which is healthier for them individually and also will restore chefs and cooks faith in humanity once again.
Protein powder is out, high protein foods are in
You may have noticed that there are ‘high protein’ food options in every aisle of the shopping centre these days. From cereal and muesli bars to milk and yoghurt, there is high protein versions of most staples. This will see people start to move away from buying expensive, protein powders and move towards using high protein food sources to recover with after their training sessions. It will save them money in the long run and also ensure they meet all of their nutrient requirements by eating real food rather than supplements. However, just because food is higher in protein, does not mean that we should be consuming it or that it is healthier. This trend is a great one for the gym junkies who are sick of drinking their protein requirements, but maybe not so great for someone trying to simply get back into their bikini body shape this spring.
Coconut oil is out and olive oil is ‘back’ in
Coconut oil can increase your good cholesterol, but it can also increase your bad cholesterol (the one responsible for increasing your risk of heart disease), especially if you are predisposed to this genetically. Finally we have turned back to the old faithful extra virgin olive oil, which has been the consistent health staple of the healthiest populations in the world for literally hundreds of years. It has withstood the coconut oil fad and the bloggers who are still pushing coconut oil, with all evidence now pointing towards including 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in our diet each day. It’s beneficial for our health, our heart, and our waistline.
Vodka is out, scotch is in
Did you know that scotch is actually the lowest energy spirit? Health is not the reason why people are turning towards scotch on ice and fighting over what whiskey bar to try next. Scotch has become trendy as a hobby, a collector’s item, and as a nation we have learnt that there are so many varieties that it is literally impossible to not find one that you like. The lovely side effect of this trend is that scotch is the lowest energy spirit (yes, lower than vodka) and is often consumed on ice or with soda water – removing any excess energy and sugar that comes from the juice and soft drink that people mix with their vodkas. The trend is that we are now choosing to have a couple of higher quality drinks when we go out rather than more drinks of lesser quality. This is one health trend that pleases your dietitian, your waistline and your Sunday self with less hangovers.
Smashed avocado is out and green breakfast bowls are in
This trend is due to a couple of reasons, firstly, avocados are in season and in surplus, therefore it is increasingly difficult to justify paying $18 for a quarter of an avocado on toast because it is sprinkled with micro-herbs. Secondly, green breakfast bowls are so damn tasty and packed full of nutrients from quinoa, kale, spinach, nuts, eggs, avocado. Plus let’s face it, the food preparation involved in these bowls of goodness results in value for money when compared to something that you can prepare at home (smashed avo on sourdough) for less than $5. This is a trend that is great for your health and your back pocket.
Main image: @talinegabriel
Peta Carige is the owner and director at Functional Food Solutions and is considered one of Australia’s top sports dietitians. She is currently responsible for looking after the likes of the Australian Rugby 7s teams, the Manly Sea Eagles, and the NSW Waratahs.