A new year means a new opportunity to refocus your goals, your dreams and your health habits. We thought it would be fun—and hopefully beneficial—to spotlight a dozen (one for every month) of the top nutrition trends that everyone’s hearing about, thinking about, talking about for 2023. In no particular order, here we go:
- Plants Rise Up—In popularity, that is. We’re not talking about the rise of Audrey II, the scheming, carnivorous plant from “Little Shop of Horrors.” No, we’re talking about the growing number of consumers who are choosing more plant-based foods in their diets. The media outlet Deals on Health claims that in 2022, 22% of the global population was vegetarian, 5% of the U.S., with vegans representing an even smaller percentage.
However, the real trend is flexitarians, those who, depending on which definition you choose to adopt, are either “casual vegetarians” who will still occasionally eat seafood, poultry or meat; or, based on the even more “flexible” definition, people who do not consider themselves vegetarian but consciously choose to reduce their meat meals by one or more times a week.
What’s the draw for plant-based food? Better for you, better for the planet, for starters. But equally important for those for whom taste is an issue is an emphasis by chefs and cookbook authors on flavorful, delicious plant-based alternatives and a food industry that is discovering new technologies that allow for more palatable, visually appealing and varied animal-based food alternatives. Watch for plant-based innovation to go beyond meat and dairy in 2023, says foodinsight.org, and keep an eye on plant-based pasta, rice and snacks as a growing trend.
- Keeping Up with Fermented Food—Kombucha, Kimchi, and Kefir are not the names of the newest Kardashian off-spring, but rather of three fermented foods we expect will continue to trend up in 2023. While the creation of fermented foods doesn’t sound particularly sexy—add yeast or bacteria to a food source and watch what happens live (see what we did there?)—the results can be a pleasant, but also strong and (for some) funky flavor profile. Think acidic, tangy, sour flavors.
You can certainly enjoy fermented foods in restaurants as made clear by this trend-generator article from Bon Appétit or make them yourself. Why? For one thing, fermented foods are thought to have benefits ranging from immune health to gut health and maybe even heart health, for another, why not take your taste buds on a little culinary adventure in 2023?
- Hello Butter Boards—We’re not going to bring Pennsylvania politics into this, but let’s just say if you thought crudites was a fancy schmancy appetizer, wait till you get a gander at the latest starter trends at dinner parties. It’s all in the presentation. And if we have to blame (or thank) “someone,” the butter board trend owes its life to TikTok and Instagram, says USA Today.
Some say butter boards will replace charcuterie boards going forward, but we say that charcuterie boards, and even cheese boards, are up to the challenge. You can up your game with all three, as long as you’re willing to be creative, know your guests’ favorite noshes, and scale the edible board pieces accordingly. And don’t worry, there’s still a role for veggies.
- Budget Busters Begone—With lingering concerns about the economy, many of us will be splurging less and seeking cost-savings in the supermarket when possible. We’re all for stretching the family dollars—one way to do this is to cut down on empty calorie foods—those that offer little to no additional nutritional benefits besides providing some energy. The government offers six tips for eating healthy on a budget and Harvard’s School of Public Health offers some more
- Eco-conscious Nutrition—We liken this trend to a twist on the golden rule: treat the planet as you would like to be treated. In other words, practice and support nutritional approaches that are healthy for you and healthy for our planet. The three main pillars of this approach are environmental, economic and societal—and all three have at their heart a broadened concept of sustainability meant to fulfill the needs of today’s population while protecting the needs for future generations.
Specifically related to eco-conscious nutrition, from an environmental perspective, one of the latest trends is upcycled foods—those made from ingredients that previously would have been identified as waste products. For example, some companies are repurposing (or upcycling), rather than discarding, cascara, the sweet fruit surrounding the coffee bean, using it for syrup to add to other beverages including iced or hot coffee, lattes or cocktails. Other trends include companies with a focus on reducing environmental stress, by practicing regenerative agriculture, carbon neutrality and conserving land and water resources—ways to help fight climate change and support sustainability.
From an economic and societal perspective, those who practice eco-conscious nutrition advocate supporting companies that engage in environmental nutrition practices, such as those just discussed. In addition, another tenant is to support companies that help protect their employees by providing safe work environments and fair compensation so, those employees, in turn, can support their families.
- Personalized Nutrition—By now, we can probably all agree that while there are some “hard and fast” rules for what constitutes healthy eating, food is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The more we learn about personalized nutrition, the more we understand that there is so much more to uncover and so many more technological advances to come. In fact, it’s been said that personalized nutrition is still in its infancy. This is one trend we plan to watch in 2023, and not only because of our commitment to personalized nutritional testing. It’s also because of our belief that good nutrition is a core component of healthcare trends in 2023 and beyond.
- The Fascination with Fasting—Now what kind of a nutrition trends blog would this be, if we didn’t address either a trendy new diet or weight loss program? Instead, we’re focusing on a diet that suggests when you eat is as important as what you eat.
Intermittent fasting is an approach to eating that “switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule,” says this post from Johns Hopkins. There’s more than one way to do that. For instance, this doctor names three possibilities: 1) the daily time-restricted fasting recommends eating within an eight-hour window, starting around noon and ending by 8 p.m.; 2) alternating between days by eating regularly (but not to excess) one day, following up the next day with a full fast or one small meal (less than 500 calories); and 3) the 5:2 fasting option where you eat normal meals for five out of seven days and fast for the other two.
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept and first gained attention back in 2012. It does seem, though, that in recent years, it’s gained traction and we expect more buzz in 2023. While the results may be useful for weight loss or weight management, some research has also found that intermittent fasting may be helpful in other areas too. For example, brain health, potentially verbal memory. This kind of eating regimen may also positively impact some heart-related measurements, such as improved blood pressure and resting heart rates. There’s even been some research showing that intermittent fasting could help people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight, reduce insulin resistance, and lower levels of fasting glucose. More scientific research is encouraged.
There’s promise in this approach; however, don’t jump in on your own. Consult with a doctor (and also perhaps a registered dietitian) before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, have kidney stones, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux, or have other medical issues.
- Nootropic Ingredients—The dictionary definition of nootropics refers to substances that enhance cognition and memory and facilitate learning.
Botanicals (like ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, and turmeric) are not the only category of dietary supplement ingredients that are considered nootropics. B-complex vitamins and omega-3 DHA and EPA are also getting shoutouts for their cognitive enhancing properties. And the latter nutrient shouldn’t surprise you because fatty fish has long been called a “brain food.”
If you’re curious about conventional food nootropics, in addition to fatty fish, blueberries, walnuts, coffee and tea are also thought to have nootropic properties.
While nootropics themselves aren’t “new”—some claim the name was coined back in the 1970s, and many of the botanical nootropic ingredients have been around many centuries. What we expect will trend in 2023 is consumer interest in nootropic dietary supplements.
- Snacks from the Sea—When Martha Stewart talks food trends, we listen. And while the style-setter says that kelp has been on food trend lists for several years, she thinks 2023 just may be the year that kelp swims into the mainstream category. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Whole Foods Market also included kelp on its 2023 trend list, owing to the popularity of seaweed-centric broths, sauces and noodles. To its credit, thanks to kelp’s ability to help absorb carbon in the atmosphere, it also checks off the box as a climate-conscious food.
- Mushroom Mania—Marie Claire magazine is betting that mushrooms are on the move, ready to step up from their position as the “next big thing” to mainstream status. Holland & Barrett, a leading international health and wellness retailer, predicts a popularity-surge for mushroom-derived supplements, extracts and beverages—calling the anticipated leap a “shroom boom.”
But foods too, will get in on the mushroom madness, thanks, in part to the trend toward plant-based, sustainable eating. Looking for a meat alternative? Mushrooms—from portobellos, to shitakes to oyster—make for a satisfying, flavorful substitute for steak or pork.
Also look for medicinal mushrooms and mushroom stacking (combining a variety of mushrooms—or even combining mushrooms with other adaptogens like ginseng, maca or ashwagandha) into supplement powders and pills.
Mushrooms will be so on-trend in 2023 that the experts at Glamour magazine say that mushroom décor will be “huge.” Yeah, but you can’t eat décor.
- Walk a (Nutritional) Mile—In someone else’s shoes. The number one food trend from The Fresh Market chain of supermarkets is the continuing role that new global flavors play in food discovery. For instance, Matbucha (the “c” is silent), a Moroccan tomato spicy dip (also served as a sauce or salad) adds heat (in a good way) to cocktail or dinner parties. Mexican cuisine is now America’s new favorite comfort food while Indian cuisine’s punch of spicy flavor is happily welcomed.
In a 2023 trends survey of 83 international restaurant chefs, Geronimo Lopez, chef-owner at Botika in San Antonio, Texas expects that this year, ethnic foods will become even more relevant, especially Latin-American (other than Mexican) and lesser-known Asian foods such as Burmese or Cambodian. Some say food is the language of love. We applaud a nutrition trend that encourages inclusion and acceptance of other cultures by getting to know—and love—food diversity.
- Here’s to Health and Wellness 2023—This is the one where you get to find your own nutrition trends for 2023. It seems everyone and their brother has a list of what will be nutritionally hot this year. We’ve enjoyed scouring the lists and hope you will too. Here are six additional nutrition trends stories that you may find intriguing. Click here, here, here, here, here and here.
We appreciate the time you spend reading our blogs. Here’s to your good health in 2023!