Seven things you will be eating in 2017

First appeared in Women’s Health Magazine

It’s time to ditch the avo – there’s a new superfood in town. And a new Matcha. Meet the seven ingredients you need in your shopping basket in 2017

Protein-packed cricket crisps; black raspberries containing three times the antioxidants of blackberries; and a cheesy nutritional yeast product called nooch, favoured by vegans. These 2016 crazes have certainly broadened our gastronomic horizons but there’s more to come in 2017, say food trend forecasters. ‘With more than 70% of us regarding healthy eating as part of our identity, it’s no longer something to be coy about,’ says Waitrose MD Rob Collins, referring to findings in the supermarket’s latest Food and Drink Report, which also highlights that 44% of us make an effort to style our suppers (and breakfasts, and lunches, and snacks), in case they end up being posted on social media, and one in five of us already share our food on Instagram. ‘As a nation, we’re expressing ourselves through food as never before,’ he says. We’re being more conscious with it, too, shopping 2-3 times per week (as opposed to once) using our freezers to minimise food waste, and favouring wonky veg and sustainably sourced fish.

Fermented food and drinks rich in gut-friendly bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, will become more mainstream.

Looking to update your fruit bowl? Try the pipless, fibrous South African Sharon fruit, which experts from The Co-op say will become our new avocado food crush. Want to boost your digestion? Fermented food and drinks rich in gut-friendly bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, will become more mainstream. Dedicated Kombucha bars, serving fermented, flavoured, water-based drinks, could even start popping up near you, a 2017 rival to coffee chains. As for eating out? ‘Antioxidant, gluten-free Vietnamese food is on the up but meaty burgers are sliding down the scale,’ says food trends expert Matt Steinhofel (ontradeconsulting.com).  Food industry expert Jane Milton agrees: ‘I predict we’ll serve America’s plant based burger, The Impossible Burger (impossiblefoods.com), in the UK in 2017,’ she says.

VEGETABLE YOGHURTS

Why eat sweet when savoury is so more en vogue? ‘Expect to see new varieties of yoghurts on supermarket shelves – more like a sauce than a pudding,’ says Milton. ‘As our understanding of sugar-free eating continues to deepen, consumers are realising that even the so-called more natural sugars (such as those in dates and coconut sugar) can negatively impact the body, if consumed excessively.’ In the US savoury yoghurts are nothing new. American manufacturer Blue Hill (bluehillyoghurt.com) already makes carrot, tomato, sweet potato, butternut squash and beetroot alternatives that are gluten-free, packed with probiotics and made from milk from grass-fed cows. But how to enjoy? Dollop on baked potatoes or stir through curries in place of sour cream.

SEEDS AND SEED BUTTERS

No longer just an accoutrement: ‘Seeds are a sustainable source of protein, essential fatty acids for brain and hormonal health, and virtually all the B vitamins required for energy, good sleep, neuronal connectivity, focus and concentration,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson, whose book Amazing Edible Seeds is out early 2017 (Jacqui Small; £20). But we’re moving on from standard snacking. Edgeson recommends sprinkling caraway on your salad to prevent stomach cramps and indigestion; putting cardamom in your curry to boost immunity and help relieve colds; adding nigella to smoothies to aid weight loss; and mixing fenugreek into scrambled eggs to lower bad cholesterol. Seed butter blends are the upgrade for your nut butter addiction: think innovative new flavours such as Tiger Boost from Jakes Boost (jakesboost.com), which combines sunflower seeds with tiger nuts, Brazils and coconut.

HAWAIIAN POKE

Shift over hamachi (yellow tail) and make way for the Polynesian favourite poke (pronounced po-kay), a raw fish salad marinated with lime, soy and sesame. Bolder and less acidic in flavour than cerviche, and less cloying than tartare, poke is a high-quality marinated tuna that boasts virtually no saturated fat and is more dense in protein than salmon – while also being a rich source of brain-boosting omega 3s. According to Waitrose’s Food and Drink Report, it looks set to beat the gills out of sushi and sashimi in 2017. Serve with a choice of rice, quinoa or kale (or a mixture).

MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS

Think you know your portobello from your shiitake? That old chestnut! Fungi are finally being noted – and it’s not only for their taste, but their medicinal properties. According to a study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, mushrooms can boost immunity by reducing inflammatory proteins in the body. But that’s not it. Mushroom specialists Indigo Herbs (indigo-herbs.co.uk) reported a 54% increase in 2016 in sales of the “lion’s mane” powder after researchers identified its notable nerve-regenerative properties. Meanwhile, maitake is known for helping with immunity, and studies have suggested a potential link between the consumption of the Chinese mushroom ganoderma, and weight loss. ‘Stir mushroom powders and blends into soups or smoothies,’ says nutritionist Christine Bailey. Magic.

GOAT

First it was their cheese and then their milk that caught our attention, being gut-friendly alternatives to dairy. Now it’s time to appreciate the meat of the matter, too. Low in saturated fat and with double the iron content of chicken, goat is having its moment, with the amount of livestock being reared in the UK for this purpose, increasing from around 70 to 10,000 in the past three years. Ocado jumped on board last Christmas, adding Cabrito Goat Meat to their collection, and Sainsburys has followed suit. Nutritional expert of Cardiff Sports Nutrition Matthew Plowman has also noticed a demand for more adventurous meats such as crocodile, zebra, kangaroo and ostrich. ‘Ostrich tastes beefy but is very low in fat. The amino acid profile of exotic meats is often slightly higher than that of chicken,’ he says. Supermarket safari.

WATERMELON JUICE

Birch and maple water: #over. Even cactus water is a bit ‘last year’. The true hero staking its claim on your 2017 drinks list is watermelon juice. Rich in vitamin A, containing twice as much vitamin C as fresh orange juice, and naturally rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium, this aqueous drink boosts hydration and immunity. Plus it contains an amino acid called L-Citrulline, which, according to a report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, aids recovery from intense exercise. If it’s good enough for Beyonce, who invested in Watermelon Water in 2016, it’s good enough for us. Try Mello (mellodrinks.co.uk), available from Waitrose and other health stores. Fruity.

CANNED BCAAS

Been lifting heavy all year but seeking new results? Supplementing with Branch-Chain-Amino-Acids (BCAAs) could be the secret to doubling your muscle and strength gains per workout. No longer the provision of body builders and fitness models, calorie- and sugar-free BCAA drinks-in-a-can are taking the faff out of measuring pills and powders. ‘Amino acids are the building blocks for protein synthesis and the number one ingredient for muscle growth,’ says sports nutrition expert, Plowman. Try nocco.com and musclemoose.co.uk. Power on.

– By Lucy Fry

1: Marine Stewardship Council

2: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416112826.htm

3: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814124907.htm

4: Study presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

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