Plant-Powered Trends for 2014

A plant-powered diet - one that puts whole plant foods on the center, not the fringe, of the plate - is a diet trend everyone can benefit from.

A Healthier, Cleaner Trend

Every year, new food trends pop up in mainstream media. 2013 brought a new fascination with eating like a cave man, choosing gluten-free foods, and kale! Some food trends, I’m happy to see leave the mainstream media, while others, I hope stick around forever. A plant-powered diet - one that puts whole plant foods on the center, not the fringe, of the plate - is a diet trend everyone including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores can benefit from. It’s exciting to see that the plant-movement was big in 2013 and will continue to flourish in 2014. It goes right in hand with the increased interest in Meatless Monday, sustainability and eating a “cleaner,” more wholesome diet.

Here are 4 plant-powered trends you can look forward to seeing in 2014:

1. Shunning Sugar

According to the 2013 Food & Health Survey, commissioned by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 58 percent of Americans are trying to limit or avoid sugar for reasons such as weight management and disease prevention. 

Plant-Powered Tip: Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit – whether it’s au natural or in a delicious fruity dessert such as baked apples or poached pears.

2. Skipping sodium

69 percent of Americans consider sodium content when making food purchases, according to the IFIC survey, most commonly to prevent a future health problem. The Institute of Medicine recommends that the FDA set limits on sodium in processed foods—the biggest provider of sodium.  

Plant-Powered Tip: Skip the condiments and sauces when dining out. If you really love the additional flavor they add, ask to have it served on the side so you can add just a tiny amount to food for flavor.

3. Dairy-free Frenzy

“Milks” made out of a growing array of nuts, grains, and legumes will be increasingly available.  And the energized plant-based “dairy” category will also extend to other dairy products, including cheese, cream cheese and whipped cream. You can view my complete run-down of plant-based milk alternatives here. 

Plant-Powered Tip: You can substitute plant-based milk, such as Silk, for dairy milk, cup for cup, in almost any recipe. Substitute it for milk in mashed potatoes, creamy soups and other comforting favorites, such as my Butternut Squash Sage Macaroni and “Cheese.

4. Putting Fresh on a Pedestal

The “fresh is best” mantra will be at an all-time high as people are increasingly shopping the perimeter of the store for “fresh” products.  Consumers are showing increasingly more interest about what’s in a food, how it’s made, who made it, and how it’s packaged. 

Plant-Powered Tip: Some major supermarkets make plant-based eating tough – with their real estate dedicated to processed foods, frozen pizzas, and soda. Seek out small natural food stores or markets that place more emphasize on whole plant foods such as beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Sharon Palmer, R.D.

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, will be in stores spring of 2014.

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