When it comes to eating well, meal planning helps make things a little easier and can bring a number of benefits.
Late last year in Nashville at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, food experts from around the globe gathered to discuss which health trends will be the next big things in 2016. While kale, juicing and acai bowls have obviously established a powerful presence on the healthy eating hotlist, the conference re-affirmed 2016 as the Year of the Pulses, and collated their predictions and suggestions for what’s to come.
Pulses are the grain seeds of legumes. Some of the most familiar pulses are lentils, beans, and peas, such as chickpeas, mung beans, adzuki beans and even peanuts and lima beans. Pulses are praised for their high levels of fiber, protein, vitamin B and lysine.
Sprouts & Sprouted Grains
Sprouted grains are slightly more mature versions of the grains you’re already used to; corn, rice, wheat and barley in foods such as breads, pastas and cereals. By allowing these grains to sprout, they become more nutritious with higher amounts of proteins, vitamins and minerals and less starch.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts remained a popular choice, but seeds were vetted as the next big thing. Chia, pumpkin, sunflower and even watermelon seeds will soon make more of a presence in granola, snacks, salads and cereals.
There are many health benefits to following the eating patterns of Greek and Italian cultures. Olive oils, full fat yogurt and traditional cooking styles equate to foods lower in saturated fats and higher in monosaturated fats and fiber. Greek yogurt is also a great source of probiotics, which was another focus of the conference.
No Added Sugar
Consumers were warned to be weary and diligent when identifying sugar additives in packaged foods. Buzzwords such as ‘organic cane juice’, ‘corn syrup’ and ‘dextrose’ are things shoppers should avoid in favour of natural sugars present in foods such as fruit and milk.
Pre-portioned meals, salad kits and meal planning services were a new topic of discussion and their benefits; saving time, money and calories make it clear this is going to be a big trend.
Meal planning services are not necessarily a new thing; diet companies have been doing mass-produced frozen meals for years. But, what the conference highlighted were the benefits of choosing a meal planning service that focuses on tasty gourmet meals made with high quality ingredients and packed with all the good stuff like vitamins and nutrients.
We asked award-winning executive chef of West Palm Beach’s Fuel for Fit, John Savarese, to break down the benefits of using a meal planning service. “With busy lifestyles it is difficult to find the time to grocery shop, prepare, portion, cook, and clean up when making your own meals. We have the ability to source higher quality ingredients (such as Faroe Island salmon), our entire menu is gluten and soy free and all of the options on our menu are healthy, clean, and packed full of flavor.”
Chef John’s 20 years of culinary experience throughout Palm Beach County resonate in his dishes, and while his meals are healthy and portion controlled, his passion for cooking means that taste is always on point.
Fuel for Fit’s USDA certified menu is completely customizable, allowing diners to mix and match different proteins (sourced from specialty farms throughout the US), salads, carbs and veggies, so it actually seems more like ordering from a gourmet restaurant than dieting.
Chef John revealed to us his recommendation from the menu, “One of my personal favorite Fuel for Fit dishes is the all-natural white meat turkey bolognaise over roasted spaghetti squash with garlic and fresh basil. The reason I love it so much is because it looks and tastes like a high calorie high carb meal but it is absolutely a healthy choice with low carbs and low fat.” That sounds like a plan we can stick to!