Eating your veggies is suddenly hip.
You might accuse me of being biased - and for full disclosure, yes, I've always been a huge veggie and plant-based food fan and proponent - but look around you and see the signs.
In restaurants, veggies are taking center plate; menus are listing more plant-based offerings as many Americans declare they are trying to eat less meat. Pinterest reports a 336 percent rise in the search for veggies in comfort foods.
And this trend will only expand next year.
The market research agency, Mintel, recently announced 2017's food trends, predicting further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused interest.
The Baum and Whitman consultancy's trend predictions follow the same lines:
"Vegetables in 2017 will extend their domination of the dinner plate, shoving animal protein to the edges ... or off the plate altogether... It is no secret that Americans are eating less meat (26% of consumers said so last year) ... that vegetarian/flexitarian diets going mainstream ... and that vegans increasingly are gaining respect."
Trends shape health
These current trends are sure to please health and sustainability advocates - and grandmas -- who have been drumming the fruit and veggie advice into everyone's head forever. Plant-centered diets are not only healthful and nutritionally adequate, they have also been shown to prevent and treat many diseases, and people practicing them are among the longest lived and most vibrant people on this planet.
Yet nothing seemed to move for the longest time. And that's understandable: habits are very hard to change.
It seems that a message needs to come from many different directions, in several modalities and forms, in order to affect action, and in that respect trends help greatly. Just look at what the cool factor - or lack of it - did to cigarettes, spinning, yoga and running.
Greens are in, and 2017 is the perfect time to jump on this trend and adopt healthier habits.
To a healthy 2017
New year resolutions are often broken by the end of January, but a trend, by definition, is something that people are 'dragged' into without much resistance, or with minimal effort.
If you've been trying to eat a little bit better, chances are, this will be a good year to clinch a few good habits.
A few tips:
- As you continue to hear the "eat more plants" message from health experts, notice how attractive this option is becoming, by looking at recipes, menus and Instagram posts.
- Make plant-centered options convenient, tasty and attractive; this will make this choice easier for you and for your family. Place that pretty, ready-to-eat fruit bowl a little closer and it will be as convenient as a bag of chips.
- Remember: Making small steps in the right direction helps a lot, and this isn't an all or nothing game. By eating more fruits and veggies you'll be benefiting your health, and displacing less healthy items - such as added sugar, highly processed food and processed meat -- from your dish and cup.
Wishing you happy and healthy holidays, and a peaceful 2017.
This is a crosspost of my blog, Healthy Food & Healthy Living.