We all get excited about health, diet, food and fitness at this time of the year, but what are the trends we can look forward to?
Steel cut oats comeback
Whilst avocado toast seems to be here to stay, a new breakfast contestant has entered the game. Experiencing a similar comeback, steel cut oats and its versatility is becoming a more frequent sighting on Instagram. Oats is filling and energy-boosting, offering an ideal blank breakfast canvas to be mixed with all your favourite delicious and nutritious toppings, including pear, raw dark chocolate, chia seeds, and (hold on to your seat) avocado. It is also a healthy way to start the day as it contains soluble fibre in much higher quantities than other grains, which helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Studies have shown that a 70g bowl of organic oats is enough to reduce your levels of harmful cholesterol by around 7%, similar to the results of doctor-prescribed statins.
Blue is the new green
Blue lattes and smoothies is the new hottest trend in Australia and it is only a matter of time until London’s coffee shops follow the craze. Made famous by vegan-friendly coffeehouse, Matcha Mylkcafe in Melbourne, the drink includes E3 live blue algae, making it an icy-blue hue. This superfood is packing a surprisingly high dose of protein and is great for blending into nutritious smoothies or making an Instagram friendly latte.
So far Korean food has stayed in the shadow as other Asian foods have hit the top, but it will be taking the spotlight in 2018 as a result of the growing interest in fermented foods such as kombucha. Restaurants will be reinventing old classics with a Korean-inspired twist and will be perfect for anyone looking to upgrade from the weekly pad thai takeout.
This is the new Nordic cuisine, a food trend emphasising the earthly flavours, made famous by chef Rene Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen. The Estonian cuisine comprises the fresh and local, making the most of its season. Whether it’s spruce shoots or pickled ramsons, blackcurrant leaves or grated green pine cones, Estonian chefs are returning to the forest.
HEALTH & DIET TRENDS
The sober scene
An increased interest in improving our health has meant that a growing number of people, particularly those aged 16 to 24, are shunning alcohol, according to National Statistics (2017). As a result, mixologists are starting to provide as much consideration and complexity into their ‘mocktails’ as they do to their theatre like cocktails. We are expected to see a rise in alcohol-free bars across the country as well as wider offerings in shops, with alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip which is making an entrance into the market.
Carbs are back to stay
The trend in recent years for creating carb-free diet and dishes seems to be over (hurrah!). Interest and innovation in bread and pasta making are bringing them back to the table, and we are bound to see an increase in dishes made on artisan pasta or accompanied by a homemade slice of bread on the side again. Supermarkets are starting to stock healthier versions of carbs alternatives such as buckwheat pasta or cauliflower rice.
Time is of the essence
A combination of busy lives and a growing want for home cooked meals has resulted in a need for quick and (very important) healthy 15 minute or less meals. Meal plans and monthly deliveries, such as HelloFresh and Blue Apron are becoming increasingly popular and health apps, such as Lifesum and Wholesome, are offering quick healthy recipes specific to your dietary needs.
Zero waste eating
There has been a growing awareness on recycling and waste reduction for some time now. You might think that you are already doing your bit by visiting the local farmers market and using reusable shopping bags, but the latest figures show that Britons are still binning 4.4m tonnes of household food waste. The new challenge is zero waste eating; the practice of eating without producing waste, avoiding packaging and food waste by eating all parts of the food that we buy. Cutting out packaging waste is also a healthy choice, as canned and processed foods will be the first thing to go. What do you say, have you found your new year resolution?
Accepting the vegans
No longer the ‘weird’ dinner mate, vegans and vegetarians have been fully accepted into the food scene, as chefs known for their meat dishes are looking for a new challenge and diving into the world of plant-based dishes and meat alternatives. Menus are even being reorganised, less by the meat and pasta section and more by the tapas, entrees, and mains. The most recent restaurant to join the hype is Wagamama. The chain has around 120 restaurants in the UK and has introduced a new, expanded vegan and vegetarian menu including 15-items.
Technology will enhance your workouts
As technology continues to advance, we will see further evidence of the impact technology can have on our health and the advancement of fitness. In 2018, we can expect to see increasing numbers of fitness classes which you are able to livestream and join in from the comfort of your own home. In recent years we have seen the focus change from individual fitness to group training, which creates a motivating and encouraging environment for individual progress. The increasing accessibility of live streamed workouts, will enable you to still enjoy the notion of group workouts, while having the added benefit of not having to leave your house to participate. We can also expect to see virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) becoming increasingly involved in our workouts. From gyms integrating VR headsets into their workout options, to the ability to be visually transported to a fitness studio from the comfort of your own home, technological advancements such as these will ensure that our fitness is becoming a totally immersive experience.
Alternative barre workouts
Barre classes, known for their ability to effectively target and work key muscle groups, have taken both the US and the UK by storm over the last year and 2018 will be no different. As barre continues to grow in popularity, we will start to see classes evolving to incorporate other types of training such as boxing and cardio, into the repertoire. This will be a great workout, ensuring that you are still effectively targeting muscles whilst also significantly increasing your heart rate. The popularity of hot yoga, will also extend to barre this year, with many classes being held in heated rooms, in order to maximise the effects of the workout upon your muscles.
We can expect to see fitness taking to the water this year, with water workouts becoming increasingly popular. Working while in water is a great way to workout as the water provides continuous resistance, which allows you to work your muscles through a larger range of motion. Exercising in water is also great for those with injuries as it is low impact while still being a great workout for the body. Expect to see classes such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cycle classes taking in place in water.
Scandi ideas such as ‘hygge’ and ‘lagom’, key trends over the past few years, have increasing influence over our culture and the new buzzword to replace them, will influence us to spend more time this year in the great outdoors. ‘Friluftsliv’, is the concept loosely understood as the importance of connecting with nature and spending time outdoors. This year we can expect to see more people connecting with this notion, forgoing the traditional gym workouts, in favour of getting outside and running, or taking a walk with friends. While hiking has always been popular, we can expect to see increasing numbers of people turn towards walking and exploring the outdoors as great way to get a moderate intensity workout, while also relieving the mind of stress and concerns and allowing it to reconnect with nature.
Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.