Wow. What a year 2020 was, we certainly experienced some significant shifts in our lives.  And we’ve seen a shift in the way people purchase and consume food - significant growth in both online and ready meals.  We’re recommending you to look at the positive aspects that you can control and embrace 2021 with a can do mindset. 

The team at We Feed You learnt a lot about consumer behaviour during 2020.  We now know more about what you enjoy eating, what you want more of, and how focused you are on supporting the physical and mental health of your families through these challenges.  

For you, we’ve combined our insights with current evidenced-based nutrition to highlight seven key food trends that we believe will help you achieve your best life in 2021!

We’re talking healthy habits that can become part of your everyday life.  And we’re not talking about counting calories, cutting carbs, detoxing (whatever that even means) or clean eating.  Because there’s no good news story to be had in diet stress, food guilt and restrictive eating habits.  Instead, let us tell you about seven ways you can support your physical health while nurturing your relationship with food.

1. Maintain a healthy gut

    Everyone’s talking about gut health these days.  Science tells us that our digestive system is key for nutrition and physical vitality, but we’re now learning how much this flows on to our mental health.  While the science is complex and ever-evolving, the key research findings point towards straight forward, real food changes rather than expensive pills and potions. Top tips for a healthy gut include:

    • Eating more plant foods – aiming for as much variety and colour as possible
    • Increasing fibre intake from a range of plant foods, to help keep you regular, feed the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut and reduce inflammation in your body.
    • Increasing antioxidants (often found in brightly hued fruits and vegetables) which provide vital protection and support for gut bug diversity.
    • Don’t forget plant based foods like whole grains, tea, coffee, herbs, spices and dark chocolate, which are also awesome antioxidant sources.
    • Minimise the things your gut doesn’t really love – highly processed and salted foods, saturated or trans fats, alcohol and preserved meats that may disrupt our gut barrier and harm the healthy microbial community within.

    We Feed You Low FODMAP meals are made without the foods that can make you bloated, cause embarrassing flatulence or discomfort and cramping. They will also help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. 

    2. Food and mood go hand in hand

      After a tough 2020, we’re all looking for tips to fortify our mental health, and here’s some simple, home grown research that proves we have the tools at hand to do just that.  In 2012, Deakin University launched an intervention study, which set out to answer the question If I’m already depressed, can eating better help me feel better? The study proved that dietary intervention (using a healthy Mediterranean diet, and no weight loss) had a huge impact on mood.  In fact, analysis showed that the more diet quality improved, the better participants felt.  Here’s a snapshot of the diet:

      • Liberal use of ‘good’ fats like olive oil, nuts and fish
      • Moderate amounts of fermented dairy, eggs and meat
      • More fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grain breads and cereals

      3. Plant-based is where it’s at

      Definitely on trend this year is the increase in plant-based food consumption. The bottom line here is that you don’t need to become vegan (or even vegetarian) to reap the benefits of plant based diets.  Simply reducing consumption of meat and dairy, and shifting your habits toward more veggie-based meals will improve your health.  And let’s not overlook the powerful effect that you and your family can have on the environment and climate, by doing so.

      Researchers tell us that when it comes to plant foods, thirty is a magic number.  Striving for thirty different plant foods per week is a simple and wholesome way toward better health.  So if you’ve got a minute, why not tally up the different plant foods you’ve eaten so far this week?  How are you doing?

       

      Our Thai Green Coconut Curry contains sixteen different plant-based foods making it a popular addition to a weekly meal plan

      4. Diversify your protein

      Once again, that diversity word.  And when it comes to protein, diversity and quality are the buzz words we want to hear.  Protein is an essential macronutrient, made up of amino acids, which are literally the building blocks of our body.  As each protein food has a unique matrix of amino acids, it makes sense that nutritionists advise us to diversity our protein sources.

      Another thing we love about protein is that it satisfies and helps keep our hunger in check.  However, as our bodies are limited in how much protein we can use at any one time, we should spread protein foods over the day, rather putting all our eggs in one basket (so to speak).

      Some great sources of quality protein include lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy foods. But let’s not forget plant based protein foods like legumes, whole grains, soy products, nuts and seeds.  Chances are - if you’re eating a variety of these, you don’t need that $30 protein powder!

       

      Our Aromatic Fish Curry helps customer get more fish into their week. It is made with Australian Blue Grenadier, fresh turmeric, Australian extra virgin olive oil and more healthy ingredients.

      5. Make friends with grains

      Let’s be real here – grain-based foods like bread and pasta have been given a pretty bad reputation by the wellness community.  Poor gluten has really copped it in recent years! And while We Feed You aren’t big fans of the highly processed, ‘white’ varieties, we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

      Whole grains contain fibre and key nutrients such as B group vitamins (key for energy metabolism), antioxidants and good fats. They take longer for our body to digest, which helps us to feel fuller for longer. Whole grains can also help keep blood sugars more stable and research tells us that grain based foods may even be more protective against bowel cancer than fruits and vegetables!

      Let’s take a closer look at the whole grain quinoa: It’s low in fat, but does provide vital omega three fats.  Quinoa is a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, as well as vitamins E and B complex. It has double the amount of protein compared to other grains, and is a great source of fibre. Sounds a bit like a superfood to us.

      Our Greek Shredded Lamb with Mixed Grains is made with three different types of grains including quinoa, lentils and chickpeas then mixed with slow cooked lean lamb. This meal has a total of 20 different plant-based foods plus lean protein.

      6. Give a F about fibre

        The F word is liberally dotted throughout this post, so we’re pretty sure you’re already on board with this one. Fibre is an important plant-based nutrient that has a wide range of health benefits and plays a crucial role in keeping your gut ecosystem thriving.

        Essentially, fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods, that scoots through to the large intestine and becomes food for our gut microflora. Different fibres will play different roles in our digestive system, so once again, diversifying your fibre sources is the key to a thriving ecosystem. Oh, a final tip here: wash or scrub your fruit and veg, but leave the skin on if you can!

        Here’s a few examples of different fibre sources:

        • Soluble fibre – think oats, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds
        • Insoluble fibre – this is the ‘roughage’ found in minimally processed fruits, vegetables and wholegrain varieties breads and cereals
        • Resistant starch – reach for bananas, cashews, oats, legumes and ‘cooked and cooled’ starches like fried rice, potato and pasta salads 

        7. Celebrate those healthy fats

        The ‘90s called and they want you to know: Fat is not the enemy.  We’ve come a long way since the shoulder padded, big-fringed ‘99% fat free’ years.  And we’ve learned that cutting out all fat doesn’t make food healthier (in fact it often means more added sugars and mysterious fillers).  It turns out that healthy fats are important to protect us against heart disease and stroke, and that they can actually improve our cholesterol profile.

        If your hair breaks or easily falls out, or your nails are brittle, it may be a sign you’re not consuming enough good fats. Polyunsaturated fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds can help your skin glow.  And extra virgin olive oil might actually improve your skin’s natural protection against harmful UV rays. 

        Here are some delicious ways to include healthy fats in your diet:

        • Replace butter with avocado, nut butters or tahini or almond.
        • Replace coconut oil (a saturated fat) or cheap vegetable oils with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). And yes! You can cook at high temperatures with quality EVOO.
        • Eat more nuts and seeds (one serve is a small handful or 30g). Sprinkle them over your food, enjoy in cereals and salads. Experiment with flaxseeds, hemp and chia.
        • Add oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel or sardines to your menu.

        By embracing these seven healthy food trends, together with regular exercise and plenty of water, we hope you’ll be well on your way to a healthier and happier 2021!