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Trends with benefits: Foodie fads you can feel good about


Mom might have told you not to jump on every craze that comes along. But some fads can be fun—and even help you eat your veggies. That will make even Mom a believer.

Here’s a look at four food trends that live up to the hype.

Spiralized veggies

Vegetables are nutrition powerhouses. Packed with vitamins and fiber and naturally low in calories, they can help with weight control and help lower the risk of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Most adults should eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day.

Seem like a lot? Try making spiralized veggies the star of the show. A spiralizer gadget or a sharp peeler is the only tool you need. Or you can find precut “zoodles” in the produce or frozen foods section.

Turn zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips or beets into curlicue-shaped noodles. They can replace pasta or be tossed into salads or stir-fries.

No-waste cooking

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans waste about 90 billion pounds of edible food each year. Finding ways to cut back on food waste can help you get vital vitamins and minerals, save money and keep trash out of landfills.

To take part in the no-waste cooking trend:

Shop smart. Plan your meals, make a thoughtful shopping list and buy just what you need. Use up what you have before buying more.

Know what’s fresh. Some produce keeps longer in the fridge. Watch for spoilage—and keep an eye on the expiration dates of other foods. Eat foods with a shorter lifespan first.

Get creative in the kitchen. Many food parts you might normally toss are actually edible. You might:

  • Roast squash seeds in the oven for a crunchy snack.
  • Add broccoli and cauliflower stems to a stir-fry.
  • Sauté beet greens in olive oil for a side dish.
  • Use carrot tops to make a delicious pesto for those zoodles!

Eating local

“Locavores” aim to eat foods that are grown locally, with a focus on healthy fruits and vegetables. Eating this way helps you contribute to your local economy and support sustainable food systems. You may even discover a local delicacy or two.

The perfect way to start: Hit your farmers market. Look for new fruits and vegetables to try. And ask the farmers for tips on preparing them.

Fermented foods

Some fermented foods contain good-for-you bacteria called probiotics. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, probiotics promote digestive health and may give your immune system a boost.

But not all fermented foods are created equal. Some go through processes that destroy the beneficial bacteria by the time it makes it to store shelves.

So look for foods that have “probiotics” on the label. You might find them in yogurt, kefir, aged cheese, kimchi, miso and tempeh. Keep in mind: Some of these foods have added sodium and sugars. So it’s still important to read labels carefully—and choose wisely.

Healthy or hype?

You might be surprised by some of these “health foods” that aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.