By: Bonnie Taub-Dix
Today's hottest health foods are everywhere--think about the last time you sat down at a restaurant and didn't see kale somewhere on the menu--but just a few years ago it would have been hard to imagine people lining up for the crunchy green roughage. What's responsible for the shift? It's not that trendy superfoods like quinoa and cauliflower were anything new when they exploded onto the food scene in recent years, but perhaps it took the right alchemy of popular taste, inventive preparations by notable chefs, and social media stardom to ensure these foods had their avocado toast moments.
Curious to know what nutritious foods people will be going nuts for next? Chances are they're already in your supermarket, you just haven't discovered them yet. I asked my nutrition pro colleagues to weigh in on the items you are bound to be seeing (and eating) a lot more of soon.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that's been around forever, but not many people know you can "pop" it like popcorn in a covered pan over medium-high to high heat. Amaranth packs a hefty dose of protein and fiber, in addition to calcium phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. And, it's the only whole grain known to contain vitamin C. You can eat it plain, top it like a cereal with yogurt, or use it to make your own granola or dark chocolate bark!"
--Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT of Shaw's Simple Swaps
This tropical fruit is native to Southeast Asia but it's also commonly grown in parts of Africa and South America. In the U.S. it's typically sold canned or vacuum-packed, though the fruit may also be found whole in ethnic grocery stores. It has a subtly sweet flavor but mainly picks up on the flavors of whatever you cook it with, and because of its taste and texture the fruit is best known as an all-natural meat substitute for pulled chicken or pork dishes, like barbecue sandwiches. Jackfruit is a good source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins, and using it as a replacement for meat helps you cut calories and saturated fat from your diet. However, it should be noted that jackfruit has a much lower protein content compared to meat, at 2.8 grams per serving versus around 21 grams, as well as 31 grams of sugar per cup, sliced.
--Diana Rice, RD, staff dietitian and recipe editor for Meatless Monday