8 Healthy Food Trends to Look for in 2016

Food trends come and go. While many are fabulous, others make you scratch your head in disbelief. The healthy food trends forecast for 2016 were created to help fit into your hectic lifestyle and also enjoy indulgences (in moderation, of course). Here’s what you’ll be seeing in the upcoming year.

1. Finer Fast Food
Fast-food fare will be getting a makeover. Some new quick-service joints will be serving up delicious food with good-for-you ingredients at a reasonable cost. Better sandwiches, healthier burgers, falafel, grain bowls and tacos are all on the menu. Think places like BareBurger, Freshii and B. Good.

2. Front-Door Delivery
You will now be able to get pretty much anything delivered to your front door by using new apps. With a touch of a button, you can have groceries, meal prep, prepared meals and takeout delivered. Even food trucks will make house calls to deliver fresh food right to you. Many will also cater to healthy-eating preferences like paleo, vegan and local fare.

3. #Plantstrong
It’s forecast to be the year of plant protein and vegetarianism. You’ll see all types of foods made from beans, peas, lentils and nuts. There already has been a huge explosion of bean and lentil chips, but more are on the way! Chia is another ingredient you’ll be finding in your snack foods.

4. Decreasing Food Waste
About one-third of the American food supply goes into the trash. Restaurants, chefs and home cooks are looking for ways to minimize food waste. “Ugly” fruit and veggies will even make it to a prominent spot on your table — those are the fruits and veggies that are not pretty enough to show up in your grocery store’s produce aisle.

5. Kids in the Kitchen
Cooking is part of everyday life for youngsters (not something that only Mom does), and there will be more cooking shows geared toward the entire family. You’ll be seeing kids cooking side-by-side with adult chefs, as well as pint-sized food critics doing reviews and kids attending cooking camp.

6. Visual Recipes
Recipes are getting made over into pictures, Vine recipes and Instagram video recipes. You’ll also start seeing books combining recipes with essays, music or even comics.

7. Hawaiian and Tropical Food
Mai tais and pina coladas are making a comeback, along with other rum-based cocktails. Dishes with pineapples, plantains, guava and lots of coconut will be on restaurant menus. You’ll see some of the retro dishes, but also lots of creative spins.

8. Puckery Foods
The bold flavors of astringent and puckery foods will be front and center. Think greener coffees, pomegranate, unripe fruit, walnuts and Sichuan peppercorns. Sour beer will also be popular, especially since fermentation and wild yeast were very popular last year.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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9 New Year’s Resolution Diet Mistakes You’re Already Making

Don’t be duped by bad diet advice. To achieve optimum health in the new year, steer clear of these diet don’ts, and stick with our advice on what to do.

Going on a Diet
This implies you’ll sometime go off the diet. Diets don’t work because of this on/off mentality. Many people actually gain back the weight they lost — and then some — after they stop their diet. Instead, find a diet — i.e., a way of eating — that you can live with.

Cutting Out Food Groups
The healthiest “diets” are ones with a variety of whole foods. When you nix entire groups of food (dairy, grains, fruit, etc.) you can potentially set yourself up for nutritional deficiencies as well as an unhealthy way of thinking about food.

Eating Too Few Calories
If cutting calories helps you lose weight, cutting a lot of calories must help you lose more weight, right? Wrong. When your calorie intake goes too low, your weight loss can actually slow. That’s because your body’s “starvation mode” kicks in — slowing your metabolism and hanging on to energy (ahem, fat) for dear life.

Eating Fake Foods
The healthiest way to eat (and lose weight), bar none, is going to be to retrain your palate to eat good, whole, “real” foods. “Lite” diet foods are often loaded with fake sugars and filler ingredients that won’t leave you feeling satisfied in the way “real” fiber- and protein-rich food will.

Letting Someone Else Be the Expert on Your Body
I get it; if you feel like you have weight to lose, it’s hard to trust yourself … because you’re the one who put the weight on in the first place. But by putting your trust in diet books, you’re ignoring the person who knows your body the best: you. Chances are if you eat when you’re bored, stressed or sad, or you feel uncomfortably full after eating, or you eat vegetables as an afterthought (if at all), you’re not really paying attention to you, the expert.

Putting Food Into “Good” and “Bad” Categories
For a sustainable “diet” (a way of eating long-term), all foods need to be on the table. The key is to make the bulk of your diet healthy — lots of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and smaller amounts of healthy carbs (fruit, whole grains, starchy vegetables) — so that when you want to have a doughnut or a whole-milk latte or a piece of really good cheese, there’s room for it.

Setting Overly Broad Goals
“Lose weight” is not the best goal. How much do you want to lose, by when, and, most importantly, what are the sub-goals, i.e. actionable, measurable steps? One example: “Eat five servings of vegetables each day this week.”

Getting Swayed by Healthy-Sounding Foods
Salads are not always the healthiest options. Likewise, foods with virtuous-sounding labels, like “vegetarian,” “organic” and “local” are not always the healthiest or lowest-calorie choices. Be a smart consumer by looking up nutrition facts for the chains you go to frequently, and get some basic nutrition education so you can get a better idea of what’s in your food.

Skipping Meals
Eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism revved. When you skip meals, that slows your metabolism down and also makes you extra hungry when you do eat, priming you to overeat.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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6 Kitchen Hacks for Champagne

After you pop the cork for all the holiday festivities, don’t let the leftovers fizzle! Save the extra bubbly for these innovative culinary goodies.


Give this kid favorite a grown-up spin, layered with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Recipe: Raspberry-Melon Gelatine Royal



Leftover champagne and wine can be fermented into a very special batch of vinegar. It takes a couple of months to mature, so you can be enjoying your homemade concoction by early spring.

Recipe: How to Make Homemade Vinegar



Transform this popular bevvie into a frozen treat. Serve with fresh berries for an upscale holiday dessert.

Recipe: Champagne Granita



Make a refreshing and elegant appetizer. Since fresh peaches aren’t in season, use frozen instead.

Recipe: Champagne Peach and Mint Soup


Cake (and Frosting!)

Yes, you can bake with champagne (or in this case, its close cousin – Prosecco)! Use this sparkling vino as the liquid for a store-bought cake mix and then combine a few more splashes with powdered sugar for a spectacular glaze.

Recipe: Prosecco Pound Cakes with Sparkling Glaze


Poaching Liquid

Move over, water and broth: Champagne can also be used as a cooking liquid for fish and poultry. This brilliant recipe courtesy of PreventionRD.com also includes a creamy champagne-infused sauce.

Recipe: Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce


Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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Can Beer Be a Part of a Healthy Diet?

Frosty craft beers are hotter than ever, and there’s way more to them than just cracking one open to watch the game. Beer enthusiasts are touting their favorite specialty batches for everything from food pairings to exercise recovery. Can these popular brewskis be part of a healthy diet?

Nutrition Facts
Beers will vary by ingredients, flavor, color and alcohol content. On average a regular beer (5 -percent alcohol) contains 150 calories and 13 grams of carbs. A light beer (4 percent alcohol) comes in at closer to 100 calories with 5 grams of carbs. While booze isn’t exactly the key to a healthy diet (those calories can add up quickly!), there’s solid evidence that moderate alcohol consumption (one drink a day max for gals and two a day max for guys) can benefit heart health.

Classes of Beer
Beer is made from a combination of water, malt (usually malted barley), hops and yeast that is fermented to bubbly perfection. These elements create a beverage that can be various combinations of sweet, bitter, dry, light, heavy, strong and mild. There’s quite a bit of technical jargon that goes into how beer is made and named! Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most-popular varieties.

Ale: Technically in a separate class from “beer,” ales tend to have a strong, bitter flavor and high alcohol content. “Pale ales” are lighter and more balanced.

IPA: This acronym stands for “India Pale Ale,” and these beers are super-trendy right now! They are slightly more bitter than other ales and have lots of “hoppy” flavor. An IPA is a hands-down favorite with a slice of cheesy pizza!

Stout: These rich and creamy brews are dark, strong and usually hoppy, with less malty sweetness; some are a great complement to chocolate desserts.

Porter: Heavy, dark and high alcohol by volume sums up a porter; it has a strong flavor from roasted malt.

Lager: Traditionally an aged beer, but made through faster processes nowadays, they’re typically light and bubbly with golden color — pilsners are light and refreshing lagers.

Wheat: These beers tend to be pale and subtle, made from malted wheat.

Cooking with Beer
Cooking with beer can also reduce some of the calories and impart unique flavor to all kinds of recipes. Beer can be used in everything from baked goods to marinades, to sauces and salsas. Beer can enhance the flavor of foods or even take things up an extra notch (alcohol can actually intensify the heat in spicy foods).

In response to all the beer-mania there has been a surge of cookbooks dedicated to the love of beer. Craft Beer Bites and The Craft Beer Kitchen are just a few of the newest titles.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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5 Myths About Bacon – Busted!

According to market research, 80 percent of American households have bacon on their weekly grocery list, contributing to the over 1 billion finger-licking servings being dished out each year. Along with the popularity of pork fat comes many misconceptions — let’s set the record straight on some of the most-popular bacon folklore.

1. All bacon contains sodium nitrate.
Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are preservatives added to foods like bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs to preserve color and prevent bacterial growth. Excessive consumption of these additives may be harmful, and they do jack up the sodium content. You can find some brands that are “uncured” and free of these additives; check ingredient labels!

2. Bacon is always greasy.
An average piece of regular sliced bacon contains 40 calories and 3 grams of fat. But how you cook it can significantly impact the amount of grease you consume. When prepared in a skillet, bacon isn’t allowed to escape the fatty drippings. You can drain away some of the fat or try cooking bacon with other methods. Prepare it in the microwave on a paper towel-lined plate or in the oven on a baking rack to remove some of the excess grease.

3. Turkey bacon is healthier.
Turkey may seem like a healthier alternative to pork, but it really depends on the cut of poultry. If dark meat and skin are used to make bacon, there will be a higher calorie and fat count. Even if lean turkey meat is used, it may be higher in sodium to boost flavor, so check out labels to assess.

4. Bacon is a side dish.
Instead of stacking up a large pile of bacon as a side dish (where the portions become excessive), rely on a small amount for flavoring an entire dish. A small amount of bacon added to a sandwich, or in an omelet, soup or dip is all you need to enjoy that distinctive flavor.

5. Bacon causes cancer.
A recent report published by the World Health Association revealed that consuming lots of processed meats can increase risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 18 percent. The headlines surrounding this got a lot of folks spooked, but it’s important to note that these findings were based on eating more than 2 ounces of processed meat per day, which all health professionals would agree is too much for lots of reasons.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

Comfort food in a big ol’ casserole dish: These cheesy, creamy mashed potatoes are exactly the satisfying dish you want to scoop up when it’s chilly outside. And they’re a must-have for your winter table.

Believe it or not, these spuds are healthy. They are packed with potassium (twice the amount in a banana) and have 8 grams of protein. For more good nutrition plus fiber, leave the skins on half of the potatoes; this trick maintains the fairly smooth texture of classic mashed potatoes. To add extra “buttery” flavor — without a drizzle of real butter — look for Yukon Gold potatoes, which naturally cook up to a creamy texture.

Sharp cheddar and lower-fat cream cheese provide savory richness. Greek yogurt adds just a bit of tang to balance all that cheesiness. The yogurt also helps keep the casserole from drying out in the oven — along with a nifty technique of stirring in a bit of the potato water left over from cooking the potatoes.

And because a crunchy crust defines a respectable casserole, the crowning glory of this dish is composed of more cheddar and homemade whole-grain panko breadcrumbs. Together, these ingredients take a quick trip under the broiler to get all golden and crispy. (Oven-broiling the top quickly, instead of a long oven bake, is another way to keep the casserole moist.) And not to worry, make-your-own panko breadcrumbs are ridiculously easy and super-fresh, and you can use your personal-favorite whole-grain bread. To make, just whizz a buttered piece of whole-grain toast in the food processor or blender. The result is the same flaky, fluffy panko you can buy packaged. Broiling the buttery crumbs on the potato casserole gives them extra crunch.

Ladies and gentlemen, start searching for your casserole dish now.

Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole
Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds Yukon Gold or other yellow potatoes
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 ounces one-third-less-fat cream cheese (neufchatel cheese)
1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 slice whole-grain bread
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Peel 1 pound of potatoes; leave the skins on the other 1 pound of potatoes. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Cover potatoes and garlic with cold water in a large pot and bring to boil. Lower heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving at least 1/4 cup potato cooking liquid. Return potatoes and garlic to pot; set cooking liquid aside in a small bowl.

Add cream cheese, yogurt and half of cheddar cheese to potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes with cheese and yogurt. When mashed, stir in salt, pepper and about 3 to 4 tablespoons of potato cooking liquid (do not overmix or potatoes will be gummy).

Scrape potatoes into 1 1/2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray; gently even out with spatula. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes until heated through.

Meanwhile, toast bread and spread with butter. Place toast in a mini food processor or blender and pulse until consistency of fluffy crumbs — like panko breadcrumbs. Mix 1/4 cup of crumbs with remaining cheese.

Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler to high setting. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of potatoes and broil 3 to 5 minutes until crumbs are toasted (watch carefully to prevent burning). Top with chives.

Per serving: Calories 195; Fat 6 g (Saturated 4 g); Sodium 430 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 8 g

Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com, sharing tips and tricks to help readers find cooking shortcuts for making healthy, homemade meals. Her recipes are created with families in mind.

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No-Bake Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes

Cheesecake was my favorite kind of cake when I was growing up. In fact, every year on my birthday, my family would get two cakes — a yellow or chocolate cake for the normal birthday partygoers and a mini cheesecake for moi.

But as I got older, my cheesecake affinity was minimized by the realization that cheesecake, laden with cream cheese, sour cream and sugar, was not the healthiest choice.

Well, I’m happy to now say that cheesecake is back. And it’s better than ever. These mini cheesecakes are perfectly portioned and super easy to make, and they don’t require an oven.

And in honor of the holiday season, I made a spiced version reminiscent of festive gingerbread cookies. I used Neufchâtel cheese, which contains one-third less fat than cream cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt for the creamy, better-for-you filling.

Serve these up at the holidays alongside your holiday cookie platter and they’re sure to be a hit.

No-Bake Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes
Yield: 12 servings


1 cup walnuts
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 9 or 10 dates)
8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


In a food processor, pulse dates and walnuts until a fine, crumblike consistency is formed. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners and divide walnut-date mixture evenly among cupcake liners (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Press the walnut mixture down into the liners to form a crustlike consistency. Store “crust” in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to harden.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, add Neufchâtel cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, and using an electric mixer, beat to a smooth consistency.

Spoon cheesecake mixture over crust into each cupcake liner (approximately 1/4 cup each).

Let sit in freezer for 30 to 60 minutes or refrigerate overnight to set. If frozen, let cheesecake sit out on counter for 20 to 30 minutes to defrost before serving.

Optional: Garnish with whipped cream, crushed gingerbread cookies and/or cinnamon.

Note: Keep in the refrigerator until right before ready to serve. If these stay out at room temperature too long, they start to lose their firm consistency.

Per serving: Calories 190; Fat 10 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 15 mg; Sodium 75 mg; Carbohydrate 22 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 19 g; Protein 5 g; Vitamin A: 4% DV; Vitamin C: 0% DV; Calcium: 6% DV; Iron: 4% DV

Kara Lydon, R.D., LDN, RYT, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, yoga teacher and self-proclaimed foodie. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, writer and spokesperson. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more mindfulness and yoga into your life.

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