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Top Food Trends of 2022 - And How You Can Use Them for Health and Weight Loss

January 6, 2022
Top Food Trends of 2022 - And How You Can Use Them for Health and Weight Loss - Lark Health

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In this article:

  • The New Year is sure to see many food trends.
  • Trends in 2022 may include "health halos," limited menu options, a focus on sustainability, the use of technology, plant-based foods, and more pasta.
  • You can recognize these trends and make healthy choices for yourself.
  • Lark's personalized coaching can help with health and weight loss through healthy choices in 2022. It includes tips and tracking, and is available 24/7.

1. "Health Halo"

Have you ever chosen a food, or eaten a lot of it, because of a health claim it had? If you have, you know what the "health halo" is. It happens when a food has a healthy-sounding word or ingredient and so you think the food is healthy overall or you can have large portions of it. 

These are some halo words and foods that may have them.

Halo Word Example
Low-fat cookies can be higher in carbohydrates and as high in calories.
Fatty meat has no carbohydrates, but is high in calories and unhealthy fat.
Gluten-free bread can be made with refined rice or corn flour, while whole-grain bread is healthier.
Some meat substitutes, such as the Impossible Burger, are high in unhealthy fat and calories.
Butter, sugar, fatty meat, and white flour are all examples of all-natural items that may not be the most nutritious choices.
No artificial sweeteners or corn syrup
That means the product may be packed with sugar, which is a natural sweetener. It is not the healthiest!
Granola has whole-grain oats, but it can also have added sugar and unhealthy oils.

As you can see from the above table, halo words can show benefits, but they do not automatically make a food healthy.

Your turn: 

  • Keep portions in check even if the food is "healthy."
  • Remember that one nutrition claim does not imply another. For example, a "low-carb" item may be high in calories or unhealthy fats.
  • Make sure you know what the term means before choosing a food based on it. For example, how far away was that "locally-sourced" tomato grown, and was it transported using a low-carbon emissions method? 

2. Menus May Shrink

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to staffing shortages and service interruptions at restaurants. And global supply chain issues can bump prices up and make it harder to get specific ingredients. Restaurants may pare menus down to offer fewer items. 

Your turn: Many restaurants still offer basic items. Grilled chicken, lettuce-based salads with vinaigrette, and steamed vegetables are safe bets for a healthy meal. If you do not see anything on the menu that you think is healthy, you can ask the server to put together a plate for you with two or three of the following items.

  • Lettuce and tomatoes with olive oil and vinegar
  • Fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Celery or carrots
  • Tuna fish
  • Cottage cheese

3. Sustainability Is a Buzz Word

A focus on carbon neutral production may continue through 2022, says US News and World Reports. That can be good news for the environment. And plant-based foods tend to have a lower carbon footprint than beef, milk, chicken, and other animal-based foods. But there is not yet a standardized way of measuring the carbon footprint across the supply chain. So it is hard to assess if a food is truly "carbon neutral."

Your turn: It is important to look into the effects of food on the environment. Some foods have a surprisingly high carbon footprint. Avocados are an example (olive oil is a more sustainable source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats). More processed foods, such as plant-based burgers, may have a supply chain whose environmental impact is harder to trace. 

4. The Food Industry Uses Technology

Laboratories will continue to be critical for the food industry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, says new plants, developed by modifying genetic material, can have potential benefits such as improved nutritional profiles and reduced environmental impact. Meat products made from cultured cells are another example of tech in food, as the FDA describes.

Your turn: Keep an open mind. "New" or "high-tech" does not mean "bad," "unhealthy," or "low-quality." Consider these examples, that Forbes describes, of tech being used in the food industry.

  • Making edible packaging that is more environmentally friendly.
  • Using drones to monitor crops for signs of disease or drought.
  • Using robots for butchering meat and reducing injuries to workers.

5. Comfort Foods Turn Plant-Based

Plant-based, or vegan, meat alternatives have been on the market for years. But the AARP says the options will continue to grow. You may see more burgers, sausages, deli meats, and cheeses. And comfort foods, such as mac and cheese and vegan mozzarella sticks may all pop up.

Vegan choices can also become more common on menus. Some fast food joints already offer plant-based burgers and pepperoni, and others are testing burgers and other items such as meatless chicken and vegan pizza.

Your turn: Vegan alternatives can be healthier. But they are not always. Some plant-based meats and cheeses have as many calories and as much saturated fat as animal-based products. And many ingredients in comfort foods, such as margarine, sugar, potatoes, white pasta, and white flour, are the same whether or not the product is vegan. 

6. Pasta

The AARP says pasta is coming back. Menus may have pasta dishes from traditional spaghetti and meatballs to more fanciful mushroom gnocchi with eggplant and capers. 

Your turn: Enjoying pasta does not mean you need to take in high amounts of refined carbs. There are all kinds of healthier pasta options.

  • Whole-wheat or gluten-free brown rice pasta.
  • Bean-based pasta.
  • Vegetable noodles, such as spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini ("zoodles"), or shredded cabbage.
  • Shirataki noodles, which have only 10 calories per serving.

Stick to 1/2 to 1 cup of a grain-based pasta. Then add a healthy sauce, such as olive oil and garlic, tomatoes and basil, or marinara sauce. Load up on vegetables, such as cooked broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach. And turn your pasta into a one-dish meal by adding protein, such as cooked chicken, turkey meatballs, or shrimp, low-fat parmesan cheese, or low-sodium canned beans.

Losing weight and eating well can have big returns. They can boost health, energy, and confidence. And they can be part of your daily routine. You can even eat your favorite foods and lose weight.

Lark makes weight loss and healthy eating simple. With Lark, weight loss and healthy living happen when you make small changes that fit into your lifestyle. Lark offers tips, tracking, instant feedback, and friendly suggestions. Over time, small healthy changes can become habits for long-term success. Your personal Lark coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss. 

The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.

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