Food trends aren’t just for fancy restaurants anymore. They’re showing up everywhere: on food trucks, on Instagram, and even in the office. This year’s trends are easy to incorporate in weekday lunches, break room snacks, and on-the-go breakfasts. Here are six you can expect to see at your workplace.
1. Spotlight on Veggies (and Legumes!)
Keep an eye out for the “root-to-stem” movement (eating all parts of the vegetable), burnt vegetables, and vegetable-based proteins like pulses. There are a lot of ethical and environmental problems with the production of meat, and being vegetarian or flexitarian is a great way to stay healthy and eat sustainably. The rising number of vegetarian and vegetable-forward restaurants is helping, too. Swap your chicken for chickpeas and try packing a vegetarian lunch one day a week. It’ll be healthier for you and for the planet.
2. Really Good Granola
Remember that instant oatmeal you used to eat when you were camping? Well don’t. Scratch that. Forget it. This year, we’re seeing all-natural granola with the addition of hazelnuts, goji berries, roasted figs, and flax. Try making one of these recipes and keeping some in a jar at work. It makes a fantastic snack when you need an energy boost, or add some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for a gourmet breakfast at your desk. Or keep some gourmet granola bars in the office kitchen for everyone to snack on. Everyone likes snack sharing.
3. Office Lunch Delivery
We’re not talking pizza delivery here, but real, healthy food delivered from local restaurants. If you’re in Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Toronto, or Vancouver, you can skip the hassle of finding good places that deliver and get Foodee to bring a delicious lunch straight to you and your team.
4. Sour Everything
Sour power is the name of the game this year. Fermented condiments, house-pickled vegetables, kimchi, and krauts will add complexity and richness to side dishes and toppings. Feeling thirsty? Sour beers are growing fast in craft breweries across North America (but save those for after you leave the office). Added benefit: fermented foods contain probiotics that can help restore your immune system and aid digestion. Pack some kefir, sauerkraut or grapefruit in your weekday lunch for a burst of flavour.
5. Eating Wild
Eating wild foods is a great way to learn more about the local edibles in your area, but be careful—foraging laws vary from place to place, and it’s best to go with someone who has knowledge of local, edible plants. Wild foods used to appear only in very high-end restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen, but organizations like Wild Harvest Network in Vancouver are beginning to make them accessible to smaller restaurants and retailers. You can bring wild plants to work, too: try growing herbs on your office’s patio or window sill. They can add a ton of flavour to your salad at lunch.
6. Asian Inspiration
It’s not all lemon chicken and chow mein: Asia and the South Pacific have a huge variety of flavours and dishes to offer. The three favourites for this year are koji, poke and seaweed. Never heard of the first two before? You will. Koji is the base of the rich umami flavour in soy sauce and miso soup. Chefs this year will be using it in marinades, dressings and more. Hailed as the next sushi, poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a traditional Hawaiian dish of chopped raw fish on rice. It’s seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil and served with a variety of veggies and other toppings. And seaweed isn’t just for sushi. Dried seaweed is packed with nutrients and lasts pretty much forever, so it makes for a fantastic office snack.
The thing all 2016 food trends have in common: quality. Artificial colours and flavours and preservatives are on their way out. Buzzwords to watch for: locally sourced, sustainable, wild, organic, and all-natural.
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