By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
We’ve come to the end of another decade and naturally, it’s a time to look back on the trends we’ve seen come and go. In the world of food, the 2010s were impacted (like the rest of the world) by social media, the wellness explosion, and fad diets. Were these trends good or bad for heart health? That’s a complicated answer. We sorted out the good parts of the trends that we hope continue from the bad that we hope are left in the 2010s.
- Instagrammable foods: The rise of social media caused many of us to do something we’d likely never dreamed we’d be doing—take pictures of our food to share with friends and family. Suddenly, social media feeds were full of pics of everything from avocado toast to zoodles. To take advantage of this, chefs and restaurants created specific dishes with the express purpose of looking good on the ‘gram and going viral. Some of the more popular examples of this were brightly colored acai bowls, over-stuffed, opulent milkshakes and “unicorn” foods (typically consisting of a rainbow-colored motif and lots of sparkle).
- Looking ahead: Oftentimes, the food was meant more to be photographed than eaten and as such, the photos were amazing, but the calories, sugar, fat, etc. were off the charts and probably best left in the past decade. However, foods like sushi, salads, and poké also look quite lovely and appetizing in photos (no filter needed!). If you want to snap and eat, make sure you check what’s in these foods and choose ones with heart-healthy ingredients.
- Diets Trade Carbs for Fat: Gluten-free diets became very popular, whether people suffered from celiac disease or gluten intolerance or not. The 2010s also saw the rise of both the Paleo Diet (where the dieter eats like a hunter/gatherer from Paleolithic times--nuts, seeds, some grass-fed meats, etc.) and the Keto Diet (where the dieter eats a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate meal plan).
- Looking ahead: While many people were able to lose weight with some of these diets, our own registered dietitian, Heather Klug, strongly discourages diets where entire categories of food are drastically cut or eliminated altogether, unless you have a medical condition that necessitates it. The healthiest diets of the year for 2020 are the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet—both of which are very heart-healthy and plant-based. Make sure you check with your doctor before attempting a new diet.
- Wellness Becomes a Priority: In the 2010s, more people were focusing on wellness and self-care. The principles of taking care of oneself spread into the arena of food both in alternative ingredients and in food sourcing. Since many people were steering clear of wheat, the rise of zucchini noodles as a pasta substitute and cauliflower crust for pizza became hot trends. More and more people were also cutting back on dairy which led to the popularity of nut milks (almond, cashew, etc.) as well as non-dairy yogurt. And as vegetarianism gains more popularity, meatless meats found their way onto menus at popular chain restaurants as well as peoples’ plates at home. People were also becoming more aware of where their food was coming from which led to the farm-to-table movement and an increased desire for sustainable foods from meat to seafood.
- Looking ahead: While the majority of these alternative foods are reasonably healthy, many of them are also highly processed. So be aware what you choose to eat to make sure you are truly making a heart-healthy choice. The closer food is sourced to the place where it is purchased means it tends to be fresher and less processed. Eating sustainable foods like seafood insures that not only are we able to eat heart-healthy omega-3s, but that there will be seafood around for our children and grandchildren.
Each new decade brings dozens of new trends. We are looking forward to seeing how many heart-healthy food trends appear in the 2020s.