Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions. Maria is also the Founder of MyBiyaya.com, a site dedicated to healthy recipes and kitchen shortcuts.
You’ve probably seen posts on Instagram or TikTok showing food trends and wondered, “Is this something I should try?” There are so many articles, blogs, and posts online about new foods to explore this year. Some foods are definitely worth trying, but others should be avoided because they may cause gastrointestinal side effects and/or are too high in fat, sugar, or calories.
Here are a few must-try foods to expand your palate and prevent burnout from eating the same meals over and over.
1) Mushrooms. One of just a few natural food sources of vitamin D, the many edible types of fungi available to us can be fun to cook with. Pass on the usual button or baby bella mushrooms and instead go for the more exotic mushrooms such as “hen of the woods”, oyster, shitake, porcini, morel, enoki, or maitake mushrooms to name a few. Exposing mushrooms to the sun’s UV rays activates the vitamin D inside, which is similar to what happens when you expose your skin to sunlight. Sauté mushrooms along with other veggies for a delicious stir-fry, or chop and add them to omelets and soups. Mushrooms are high in fiber and contain vitamins B6, B12, and C as well as selenium.
2) Ube. A bright purple-colored yam from the Philippines, this root vegetable is quite unappealing to look at but loaded with nutrients including fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. They contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidant compounds, which gives them their distinct bright purple color. Anthocyanins have been shown in studies to help reduce inflammation and lower high blood pressure. Bake ube just like you would a sweet potato, mash it, and substitute it for white potato. Ube is tasty when cut up in chunks and roasted with a little olive oil, garlic powder, and sea salt.
3) Tinned fish. What is tinned fish, you ask? Think sardines, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, even crab meat, oysters, and mussels. To be considered tinned fish, the seafood (usually cooked in oil and salted) is packed and sealed in tin cans. This trendy food has been around for years and is inexpensive and shelf-stable. Tinned fish is loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin D, selenium, and the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been linked to cognitive and heart health. Tinned fish can be added as filling in omelets for breakfast, added to stir-fried veggies, and used as an appetizer or part of a charcuterie board.
4) Seaweed. Most of us are familiar with seaweed that washes on the shores at the beach or the paper-thin black wrapper on your favorite sushi. We don’t usually think of seaweed as a healthy food, but in recent years, seaweed has gained popularity as a low calorie, high fiber food. The term seaweed refers to different types of algae and marine plants. Algae that comes from the sea is edible while algae that forms in lakes and rivers can be toxic! Seaweed comes in red, blue-green, green, and brown colors.
Kelp is a popular type of seaweed used as crispy snacks. Other seaweed types include nori (think sushi wrapper), sea lettuce, arame, and dulse. Seaweed is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially Japanese and Chinese cuisine, and is a versatile ingredient in many dishes. Seaweed is rich in nutrients such as iodine, B vitamins, copper, and iron. You can find fresh seaweed in natural food stores and Asian grocery stores. Seaweed snacks are available in some local grocery stores and big box stores such as Costco and BJ’s.
5) Yaupon tea. This tea is an ancient beverage, thought to have been brewed by native Americans over 1,000 years ago. It comes from a little evergreen tree or bush which grows in the southern coastal regions of the United States. It is slightly caffeinated, about the same amount of caffeine in green tea, but can be made stronger. It provides an energizing kick but without the crash that coffee can cause. Yaupon tea leaves are available online on Amazon or other websites dedicated to promoting and selling this native American tea.
6) Bambara groundnut milk. This milk is made from the bambara groundnut, a legume that is packed with more fiber and protein than oat or almond milk and native to West Africa. This non-dairy milk also contains iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Look for bambara groundnut milk on Amazon or on what-if.foods.com.
Eating healthy to lose weight can become monotonous and boring if you don’t explore new foods... Don’t get “stuck in a rut”! Try out these new food trends and enjoy!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.