TWIN FALLS — Fewer fad diets. More leafy greens and brightly-colored berries. Fermented milk.
These are a few culinary trends expected for 2017. That’s according to a survey of dietitians across the country, with results in Today’s Dietitian magazine.
What’s expected to be popular? Eating healthier, preparing food at home and using new kitchen gadgets to reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare a meal.
Other predicted trends: a focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting consumption of highly-processed foods, using technology such as cell phone applications to track food intake, and using pre-portioned and home delivered meals from services such as Blue Apron.
Sarah Renaldi, a registered dietitian/nutritionist at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, said she’s glad for the decline in consumer interest in dieting.
“I think that’s a good thing that we’re going away from some of those fad diets,” Renaldi said.
With some new culinary trends, though, Twin Falls may not see interest pick up for a year or two, said Tom Ashenbrener, owner of Rudy’s — A Cook’s Paradise. That’s often true for places further inland from the coast, he added.
Here are a few insights into culinary trends in 2017:
Less dieting and more mindful eating
Instead of dieting, a better approach is making small, sustainable lifestyle changes over the long term, Renaldi said. “As a dietitian, I’m always trying to tell people that diets don’t work.”
A predicted trend for 2017 is a focus on mindful eating and clean foods, she said.
What’s mindful eating? “Focusing more on the quality of the food you’re eating,” Renaldi said. It’s a “slower, more thoughtful approach to eating.”
Clean eating focuses on whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, grains such as quinoa and barley, and plant-based proteins such as nuts and seeds.
The survey of dietitians in Today’s Dietitian lists the 10 top superfoods that could be popular in 2017.
Superfoods have added nutritional benefits, Renaldi said, such as fiber, probiotics or vitamins and minerals.
Those include chia and hemp seeds, avocados, nuts, fermented foods such as kefir (a fermented milk), kale, green tea, exotic fruits such as papaya and guava, salmon, coconut products, and more convenience whole grains — such as quinoa — that can be prepared in the microwave.
The sous-vide has been around for years, but it’s starting to catch on with home cooks, Ashenbrener said.
It’s a slow cooking technique where food is put in a vacuum-sealed bag and submerged into temperature-controlled water. The device ensures food is cooked evenly throughout.
Ashenbrener also pointed to fermented foods as a popular trend. “I think that’s going to continue to be strong,” he said.
And electronic pressure cookers are gaining in popularity. You can end up with a healthy meal all in one, including vegetables and meat.
But not everyone plans to try out new kitchen gadgets this year.
Mark Owsley, executive chef at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, said he doesn’t plan on using any new equipment. He likes to stick with the basics.
“I’m old school,” he said.
For home use, though, Owsley said he thinks food savers will become more popular. They allow home chefs to vacuum seal food to preserve it for longer.
There’s a larger awareness of food safety — such as making sure meats are cooked thoroughly and food isn’t sitting out too long without refrigeration.
Owsley said he remembers that in the “old days,” it was common to leave out fried chicken at a picnic for six hours and then eat it for two days afterward. “Now, that scares the heck out of people.”
Perishable food shouldn’t sit outside for more than two hours. If it’s a particularly hot day — such as 90 degrees or warmer — limit it to less than an hour.
For the minimum internal cooking temperature for meats, FoodSafety.gov offers these recommendations:
Ground beef, pork, veal and lamb — 160 degrees Fahrenheit
Turkey and chicken — 165 degrees Farenheit
Fin fish — 145 degrees Farenheit or until flesh separates easily with a fork.