21 Health and Food Trends for 2021
2020 saw a variety of new food and health trends arise and 2021 will be no different. Here we’ll look at the top 21 food and health trends to watch for in 2021.
1. Ancient Grains (Not Just Quinoa)
Ancient grains have been gaining popularity in the past several years, but quinoa has often stolen the spotlight. Now, watch for other ancient grains such as:
Most ancient grains are gluten-free and offer a high dose of fiber and nutrients. They also pair well with just about any meal, making ancient grains easy and delicious to incorporate into your lifestyle.
2. Plant-Based Butters
We’ve all heard of peanut butter and almond butter, but 2021 is a time to watch for an increase in the variety of plant-based butters. Expect to see new, fun, unique options on store shelves such as:
- Chickpea butter
- Watermelon seed butter
- Macadamia butter
- Cashew butter
- And more!
Each type of plant-based butter offers a different nutritional profile, texture, and taste, making them ideal for individuals looking to add variety to their diet. These new options are also helpful for individuals who may have peanut allergies but still want to enjoy other nut butters.
Plant-based butters also packs a nutritional punch, offering vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and more.
3. Celery Juice
Beginning around 2019, celery juice began gaining popularity as a potent way to start mornings. Beloved by numerous celebrities, celery juice is often praised for its rich source of magnesium and the hydration it provides.
While there is minimal scientific evidence to back up the actual health benefits of celery juice, expect to see this trend continue into 2021.
4. Minimizing Soy
Soy has been touted as a top plant-based protein for many years, but other nutritious alternatives are gaining traction. As more people realize how often soy is overused as a cheap filler, expect to see an emphasis on healthier protein options such as hempseed and mung bean.
5. The Pegan Diet
The Pegan Diet, a combination of the Paleo diet and vegan diet, focuses on:
- Clean eating and whole, unprocessed foods
- Ample intake of fruits and vegetables
- High-quality fats
- Minimal sugar
- Little to no dairy
- Organic foods
- Lean protein such as wild-caught salmon, sardines, eggs, and grass-fed meat
- Limited to no grains or legumes
This way of eating can be excellent for individuals looking to focus on whole, clean foods but may be difficult for anyone that easily feels restricted or overwhelmed.
6. The Ayurvedic Diet
Although the Ayurvedic diet is thousands of years old, this ancient practice is quickly becoming popular and will likely become even more sought after in 2021. It places a heavy focus on inflammation-fighting spices and herbs such as cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger.
The Ayurvedic diet focuses on mindful eating using Ayurvedic doshas, personality types that correspond to elements such as earth, fire, water, and air. To learn about this way of eating, individuals often work with an Ayurvedic doctor to determine their dosha.
7. Low-Carb Diets
2020 saw the keto diet absolutely explode in popularity. Although it has helped millions of people lose weight, the research remains limited on the long-term benefits of low carbohydrate diets. Scientific studies on low carbohydrate diets show mixed reviews and potential cons.
Experts theorize this is due to the limited intake of fruits and vegetables that sometimes results from a low carb diet.
Even though the U.S. News and World Report labeled the keto diet one of the worst to follow, expect to see low carb diets continue in popularity through 2021, and likely beyond.
8. Oat Milk
Almond milk? Coconut milk? Time to make room for oat milk, the latest non-dairy milk alternative to show up. With many individuals choosing dairy-free options, even if they are not lactose intolerant, oat milk is sure to gain traction in 2021.
If you choose to give this trend a try, pay close attention to the label. Watch for a brand that avoids added sugar and additives and uses simple ingredients and choose organic when possible. You can also make homemade oat milk using one of the many easy oat milk recipes.
9. Dessert Hummus
Anything with dessert included in the name deserves some attention. Enter ‘dessert hummus’. With chickpeas as its base, dessert hummus features protein, fiber, and nutrients.
Along with an impressive nutritional profile, dessert hummus offers an indulgent, sweet taste, making it popular among individuals looking to indulge while still fueling their bodies.
As with oat milk, watch the label carefully when selecting dessert hummus at the store. Many brands feature excessive amounts of added sugar and surprisingly low amounts of protein.
To enjoy this treat in the healthiest way possible, consider making your own dessert hummus so you have full control over the ingredients. Here are some fun dessert hummus recipes to try:
10. Essential Oil-Infused Drinks and Foods
If you don’t already use a diffuser to enjoy the benefits of essential oils, you may be missing out. But using a diffuser or applying diluted essential oils topically aren’t the only ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. 2021 will likely see an increase in the number of essential oil-infused foods and drinks.
With proper guidelines and supervision from a physician, ingesting essential oils can be an excellent way to enjoy even more benefits of essential oils. For example, a drop of peppermint oil makes the perfect complement to an IsaLean Shake.
*With essential oils, it is imperative to check with your physician and read all instructions before ingesting them as some oils or combinations of oils may be unsafe for consumption.*
11. Adaptogens In Drinks, Protein Powders, and Snacks
Adaptogens are herbs and roots that are used for a variety of purposes such as supporting mood and healthy stress response. Although the science around adaptogens is limited, expect to see this trend continue into 2021.
Popular adaptogens such as:
- Maca root
- Asian Ginseng
- Siberian Ginseng
- Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi
- Holy Basil
12. Home Cafes
With many people working from home or spending more time at home, more people are making their own coffee at home instead of getting it from a coffee shop. And the process of making coffee at home is getting taken up a notch.
2021 will likely bring a continued increase in indulgent creamers (think plant-based creamers and fun new flavors like s’mores or coffee cake), pour overs, gourmet packaged coffees, and frothers.
Microgreens, tiny shoots of plants such as broccoli and carrots, are already a popular trend and will only continue to gain popularity in 2021.
Although similar to sprouts, microgreens are not the same. Typically, microgreens are between 1 to 3 inches tall (larger than sprouts). Also, sprouts have a shorter growing cycle (2 to 7 days vs 7 to 21 days to harvest microgreens) and do not include leaves.
These tiny shoots pack an impressive nutritional profile, often much higher than mature greens. Depending on the variety, expect to find a host of vitamins and minerals in these nutritional powerhouses including:
Microgreens can be grown from many different types of seeds, with some of the most popular including:
- Amaranthaceae family – Amaranth, beet, spinach, quinoa, and swiss chard
- Amaryllidaceae family – Garlic, leeks, and onion
- Apiaceae family – Celery, dill, carrot, and fennel
- Asteraceae family – Lettuce, radicchio, endive, and chicory
- Brassicaceae family – Cauliflower, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and radish
- Cucurbitaceae family – Melon, squash, and cucumber
Certain grains and legumes are also sometimes grown into microgreens:
You can purchase microgreens or easily grow your own microgreens at home from special seeds and kits. In as little as 7 days, you can have your own fresh little sprouts of goodness to enjoy!
Microgreens make a delicious, nutrient-packed addition to salads, smoothies, main dishes, sandwiches, egg dishes, and so much more.
14. Move Over Kale — It’s Time For Kelp To Take Over
Kale has long reigned as one of the most popular superfoods, with a host of devotees and countless recipes (kale chips anyone?). But 2021 will likely usher in a new superfood that begins with the letter ‘k’ — enter kelp.
Used for thousands of years in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine, kelp (seaweed) is finally breaking into mainstream cuisine in America. While you may have already enjoyed it in miso soup, in sushi, or as a snack (dried nori), kelp may start showing up in more foods and snacks this year and beyond.
In terms of nutrition, kelp is well-deserving of the title of ‘superfood’. With B vitamins, numerous minerals such as calcium, and other important nutrients, kelp is packed with health benefits.
It is also a sustainable food source (more on that below) as it requires no fertilizer, helps keep the water clean by removing nutrients that contribute to algae blooms, and takes only a single season to progress from seedling to full-blown plant.
Looking for creative ways to add more kelp to your diet? Try adding a kelp cube to your next smoothie! Or experiment with some kelp recipes.
15. Foods That Fight Against Climate Change and Support the Planet
Food production has been found to play a significant role in climate change, with some estimating that up to a quarter of global greenhouse emissions result from the production of food.
Fortunately, we can choose foods that help fight to keep our planet healthy. Many companies are working to lower their carbon footprint, increase transparency, and empower their customers by providing meal options with sustainability in mind.
Growing your own food is also an easy, fun way to help lessen your impact on the planet. You can also help fight to support our planet by seeking out foods with sustainability in mind. Just like kelp, mentioned above, takes minimal resources to grow and harvest, many other foods offer an excellent way to support our planet.
16. Pickling and Fermenting
Although the pickling and the fermenting trend is already well underway, expect it to continue well into 2021 and beyond.
Expect to see harvests turned into jars of pickled radishes, red onions, cucumbers, and more.
New to pickling and fermenting? The internet is packed full of beginner guides to pickling and fermenting, delicious recipe ideas, and tips for pickling and fermenting. The options are endless! Have fun experimenting with different spices, different vegetables, and fun combos.
17. Virtual Cooking Classes
Trying to plan a fun, unique, safe idea for a date night? Wanting to get together with your friends over Zoom? Want to try something new with your family? Enter virtual cooking classes, a trend that is sure to see continued popularity in 2021.
From famous chefs to popular restaurants, the options for virtual cooking classes are endless. Virtual cooking classes are a great way to try new foods, enhance your cooking skills, bond with family and friends, and be exposed to a wonderful variety of cuisines and cultures.
18. Mindful Eating
2021 will likely see the continued trend of embracing mindful eating and saying goodbye to fad diets and strict meal plans. What is mindful eating? Essentially it comes down to listening and trusting your body when it comes to food.
Needing energy? Your body might be telling you it needs some whole grain carbs such as quinoa or brown rice? No more shunning carbs or counting calories — mindful eating comes down to listening to exactly what your body needs, what makes you feel good, what gives you energy, and what foods you enjoy.
Rather than eliminating your favorite foods, learn healthier ways to prepare them, be creative with sweet treats (hello dessert hummus!), choose reasonable portions, or plan to enjoy a little bit of your favorite food every day.
With mindful eating, it is also important to eliminate distractions while eating so you can focus entirely on your meal and your body’s cues. Consider setting aside your phone or computer and sitting down to a meal with your family and enjoying your meal free of distractions.
19. Homemade Pasta
2021 is likely to bring an interest in making and cutting pasta from scratch. Think gnocchi, bucatini, and more. It may be time to start Googling pasta attachments to add on your KitchenAid!
If you have never made homemade pasta before, be sure to check out the many great recipes available to try.
This, perhaps, is one of the best trends on the list and one we’d love to continue to see in 2021 and far beyond!
Whether you have a huge yard with ample space for a large garden or a small deck with just enough room for a few pots, it is entirely possible to grow your own food. Along with growing your own healthy food, gardening is relaxing, fun, and even offers benefits.
As mentioned above, gardening can even play a small role in helping to keep our planet healthier!
21. Plant-Based Meats
Plant-based meats saw their popularity soar in 2019 and the trend continues as more people grow curious about the possible benefits of including more plant-based foods in their diet.
As with any food, it is important to check the label to avoid plant-based meats with excessive salt, fillers, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
What Health Trends Will You Try in 2021?
From gardening to pickling to virtual cooking classes and mindful eating, there are several exciting ways to try to improve your health and have fun doing it. The new year is a great time to experiment with new things and explore ways to boost your health.
Do you plan on trying any of these trends in 2021 or adding any of these foods to your routine? Do you already enjoy any of these health trends? Are there any trends we missed that you think will be popular in 2021? We would love to hear from you in the comments!