PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier is losing steam, it’s time to try something new.
KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen sat down with dietician Leslie Bonci and chef Bill Fuller, who oversees the Big Burrito restaurants including Eleven, Casbah and Mad Mex.
They revealed six food trends that are good for your health, your taste buds and your tummy and how you can work them into your diet.
Food Trend No. 1 — Ancient Grains – Spelt, Bulgur Wheat, Farro, Quinoa & Wild Rice
“Not only are they a carbohydrate, but they provide fiber, and they provide plant nutrients, and they also provide an intriguing taste,” Bonci said.
What Fuller likes about them is the texture and the taste.
“White rice is good. Mashed potatoes are good,” Fuller said. “But, when you want to have a starch on a plate, you have all these nutty flavors and textures (in ancient grains).”
Food Trend No. 2 — Power Bowls
Many Asian cultures have served meals in big bowls for centuries, but a meal in a bowl is quickly becoming popular here. It’s also a good way to keep your portion in control.
Fuller created a delicious bowl with the ancient grain farro, plus baby bok choy, crimini mushrooms, turnips and a special beef broth.
“If there’s a broth in there, it’s a good way to make you feel full. It’s a good way to do a vegetarian entrée or vegetarian dish because people struggle with feeling satisfied without that piece of meat in that dish,” Fuller said. But, he also said that you don’t want to drown the food in the broth.
Food Trend No. 3 — Vegetable As The entree.
A power bowl is one great way to do that, and Fuller suggests roasting or grilling vegetables like celery root, turnips, cauliflower and carrots.
Or, Bill said you can take a plain old baked potato and add an interesting spin for a topping with toasted pumpkin seeds, chili oil, maybe some frisée or crisp lettuce underneath.
Bonci said lentils are good on top too.
“So, we get something vegetables, very low calorie cost, very high in fiber, very high in vitamins and minerals,” Bonic said.
Food Trend No. 4 — Beans, Peas & Lentils.
Did you know this is the “year of the pulse,” which is the umbrella term for beans, peas and lentils?
“They also are higher in protein; they’re higher in fiber, and for people who are looking to make the transition to having less animal based protein on the plate, these work beautifully,” Bonci said.
Fuller said his favorite is French green lentils.
“They’re delicate and beautiful and cook easily, but cannellini beans, chick peas, black beans, pinto beans, cranberry beans, we’ve always loved to use those,” Fuller said.
Food Trend No. 5 — Avocados
Bonci said avocados are filled with good fats, not the bad ones.
“Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, and those are the fats that really tend to help in terms of improving the cholesterol profile,” she said.
Fuller said it doesn’t have to be complicated. He made an amazing avocado toast by just spreading on toast some avocado topped with some diced radishes, tomatillo and cilantro. He adds more ideas for avocado other than guacamole: chunks of avocado in a salad, maybe even on a steak; an avocado salad with the roasted chicken; if you take some chunks of avocado, some lime juice, olive oil and herbs, toss it with some tomato and put it on a chicken dish.
Food Trend No. 6 — Fermented Foods
Pickles and sauerkraut are probably the most well-known fermented foods, but chefs are now fermenting much more than just cucumbers and cabbage. They’re fermenting all kinds of vegetables.
Fermentation increases the amount of probiotics, which are the good bacteria.
You hear about that in yogurt, which is also fermented.
You’ll also find fermented foods in a popular Korean dish called kimchi.