(ARA) - A visit to your local grocer provides thousands of food options, and it's likely you've recently noticed an increase in the number of healthier choices, including organic offerings and expanded produce selections. But what are the next big things when it comes to healthy food?
Here are some healthy food trends to look for the next time you're at your local grocery store:
Trend 1: Sprouted grains
You've heard plenty about whole grain, but the next level of whole grains is called "sprouted grains." Because the process of germination changes the composition of grain and seeds in numerous ways, sprouting can increase vitamin content and aid in digestion of the entire grain so your body better absorbs all the nutrients. Food for Life is at the forefront of this trend and offers different products using grains sprouted under an exclusive process. For example, new Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Waffles are made from sprouted grains to maximize nutrition while retaining important natural fiber and bran. These waffles come in several varieties including original, golden flax, blueberry and apple nut. For more information about sprouted grain products, visit www.foodforlife.com.
Trend 2: Omega-3 additives
For years, lots of the food found on grocers' shelves has been enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Bread might contain iron, orange juice might have added calcium - these additions are often advertised on the product's label. The newest nutrient being added to some of our favorite foods is omega-3. This essential fatty acid has been shown to have numerous benefits when consumed, from reducing risks of illnesses such as heart disease, to aiding in brain growth for children. You're likely to see more omega-3 additives in your favorite foods, such as cereal, juice, eggs and even your pet's food.
Trend 3: Fruits and veggies galore
The benefits of fruits and vegetables cannot be overstated. This was apparent when in 2011 the USDA replaced the old food pyramid with the new circular icon called MyPlate that recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. More people are making an effort to eat a rainbow of colorful produce each day and they want the freshest items possible. Continued demand for locally produced foods is inspiring droves of people to visit their local farmers markets for seasonal fruits and vegetables. These items are usually picked at the peak of freshness, providing you with an optimum amount of vitamins and minerals. Plus your squash or potatoes won't have to travel thousands of miles before they get to your pantry.
Trend 4: Plant-based "dairy" products
Interest in plant-based foods is building steam, even among those who don't have a lactose sensitivity. This interest has inspired a variety of dairy alternatives to appear on grocery shelves. Plant-based foods are known to contain higher levels of nutrients and often have little or no bad fats/oils. As an alternative to 2-percent cow's milk, now you can easily find almond or coconut milk at your local store. Soy ice creams of today are also far better than in years past. Butter can be made from fruit and sour cream is now made from tofu.
From sprouted grains to healthy new additives, these food trends are growing in popularity because they are delicious ways to benefit your health. Visit your local grocery store or co-op to try something new today.