Nutrition Trends in 2021 & Beyond
This last year has left us looking at some of the more bizarre nutrition trends to grace our table with a critical and questioning eye. Rumors about food and nutrition haven’t been taken with the grain of salt they were intended to be served with and we’re still in the final course of some crazy food trends. There’s almost always a miraculous story to back up the ridiculous claims, but with widespread skepticism, it’s often difficult to recognize those practices that we should be embracing.
Yet somehow in the chaos of the last 12 months, there are trends that have emerged (or re-emerged) and there are a select few that we know are here to stay. These nutrition trends won’t just set the tone for 2021, but years beyond.
1. Growing/Making Our Own Foods & Eating Seasonally
Banana bread and handmade pasta were two of the biggest creations to come out of 2020’s global lockdowns, and we don’t anticipate they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Alongside the return to the kitchen came a return to the soil, with people globally creating apartment-sized herb gardens and completely re-invigorating their land with vegetable patches. Some even took it further and grew plants from their food waste! There are many reasons why we love this trend, including tackling food poverty and taking back the power from large food corporations, but it also means from a nutritional perspective we’re supporting our body’s natural circadian rhythms and dietary needs with seasonal eating. And when we’re going to the trouble to create our own foods from scratch, be it baking or dinner staples, we know exactly what’s going into it! And that’s pretty cool.
2. Ditching Fads for Healthy Eating (Diet Culture Overhaul)
Since the beginning of time (or at least long before the turn of the century) we’ve been told precisely what we need to eat to look a certain, often unattainable way. Then six months later we’re being told a new diet for a new bodily ideal. We’re eager for this to be left in 2020, alongside a handful of other negative eating habits. Between extreme restriction, expensive regimes, and unnecessary elimination of foods, the masses are beginning to see through the facade and opt for healthy approaches to eating, rich in good-quality foods and free from the control of the billion-dollar diet industry. So what are people going to be eating? These are our takes…
3. Eating Foods to Support Our Mental Health
For many, mental health goes hand-in-hand with diet culture, especially when it comes to eating foods that are designed to make us feel good, rather than ‘look good’. So some nights (not all of the time), foods that support our mental health might be a slice of homemade pizza. For others who are living with mental illness, there are certain foods that can support minds, bodies, and souls in ways they need. High-quality complex carbohydrates, for instance, offer tryptophan - which is crucial for producing serotonin in the brain. Other foods can promote healthy sleep or regulate energy levels. Further research is being conducted in this area, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what 2021 brings!
4. Eating Locally Produced Foods
One realization we’ve had from the last year is the importance of supporting our local producers. Global trade has essentially ground to a halt, and many of us are left to rely on nearby supplies - and we feel better for it. We’re supporting a circular economy within our region or country, we’re eating nourishing seasonal foods, and we’re taking back our food sovereignty by doing so. Plus, there’s nothing nicer than eating leafy greens you know were in the ground mere hours beforehand.
5. Continue Questioning What’s In Our Food (And Where It Comes From)
With increased awareness around certain foods, and some of the health-defining ingredients they contain, in 2021 consumers are going to question and expect more of their food producers. More so now than ever, our global population is inquisitive about the food they’re eating. They’re exposed to more information that helps them make informed decisions, they’re learning about some of the damaging chemical additives in the plastic-packaged ‘foods’, and they want to know exactly who or what made their meal. We’ve encouraged this kind of autonomy since the release of Food Matters in 2008, and as more people dive into the realm of nutrition - be it through formal studies or exposure in the media - they’re only going to demand better quality foods.
6. Prioritizing Micronutrients Over Macronutrients
It’s a hangover from diet culture, and while ensuring there’s still some balance in our macronutrient intake, we predict that 2021 will finally be the year people begin to pay some more attention to their micronutrient intake. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, all essential monomers of food that are required to maintain homeostasis. Many of us have seen how our health can ail when living with a macronutrient deficiency, iron being one of the most common, and in 2020 we saw the role that Vitamin D played in nourishing our bodies throughout the pandemic. With this at the forefront of everyone’s mind, we can expect this coming year (and many to follow) will encourage a considered approach to everything that needs to be obtained in the diet.
7. Rich Intakes of Beauty Supporting Foods
Any beauty expert knows that true beauty comes from within - and they don’t just mean a kind heart. Some of the last year’s biggest trends in beauty have actually been derived from nutrients. Take collagen, for example, a monomer derived from an animal product that promotes youth, healthy skin, and a radiant glow. Vitamin C is another tried-and-true for ultimate luminescence. The best part is, neither of these requires expensive serums or treatments; they can all be enjoyed in abundance in a healthy, balanced died.
8. Waste-Free Foods for the Planet
The beginning of 2020 seems to be a lifetime ago, but do you remember when our main concern was the Australian bushfires and the impending climate crisis? It’s not any less relevant today and people around the world are choosing (or in some instances being forced) to adapt to foods that thrive on the changing planet. But just as the commonly found foods are changing, we can also adopt approaches to eating that address the global issue. Waste-free foods will be the next big thing in 2021, with many turning to bulk-buy and plastic-free shops, growing their own foods out of wastes, and taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their food miles. It’s a powerful movement and it’s only going to grow.
9. Supporting Detoxification
One thing that we’ve come to understand from our time in the industry is exactly how damaging some foods, and their corresponding toxins, can be for our health. And when our body isn’t able to effectively eliminate these toxins, chronic disease can begin to occur. Over the past year, we’ve seen increased awareness and inquisitiveness about how we can support the body’s natural detoxification pathways, and exactly why we should be doing it. Some of our favorite modalities include Epsom salts, lymphatic drainage massage, and guided juice detox programs.
10. Eating for Immunity
If we reflect on another key takeaway from the chaos of 2020, we can see that good food and nutrition really has the power to impact our health. We’ve always known that oranges are good for a common cold, but this last year has seen our understanding of eating for immunity deepen tenfold. When we first begin to understand the scale of this pandemic, I wrote an article offering our help and guidance in the best way we know how - and it was our most popular piece of the year! With this pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, and people beginning to question how they can prioritize health with preventative measures, we’re predicting that a diet rich in immune-supporting foods is going to be prioritized for years to come.
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