I think it’s safe to say that 2020 was a pretty good year … to develop some pretty bad food habits.
We’re obviously coming out of a crazy year where restaurants were off-limits and grocery store trips were way more stressful than normal, so our usual eating habits may have been disrupted (to say the least). Not to mention the fact that gyms were closed, equaling less movement.
Considering all of this, it’s no surprise that there are several diet trends on the rise for 2021 as we fight to gain back some control.
If you, like many others, have been feeling like your eating has changed for the worse, you might be thinking about starting one of these.
Now, trendy diets come and go every single year, and we know not all of them are made equal. But with the added attention this year, I’m breaking down some of the more popular diet trends we’re seeing this year, and if they’re worth trying.
New Diet Trends for 2021: Are They Worth It?
The Flexitarian Diet
In the past couple of years, there’s been an uptick in the number of people following plant-based diets for a variety of reasons, ranging from personal ethics to saving the planet. It does take a lot of commitment to cut out the animal products completely, so this year we’re seeing a lot of people try out the “Flexitarian” diet instead.
As you can probably guess from the name, it’s a combination of “flexible” and “vegetarian” eating, so the aim is essentially to stick to plant-based foods more often without cutting out meat and other animal products completely.
Should you try it? If you’ve been thinking you should eat less meat, this is worth trying. There aren’t any really strict rules about this diet (hence the “flexible” part of its name,” so it might be worth it if you want to reduce your intake of animal products without cutting them out completely. Besides the ethical reasons to start this popular diet, studies are also suggesting flexitarian diets can be good for managing your body weight and improving heart health. [*]
A lot of people get their protein from animal products like meat, so if you do want to try this, I’d recommend making sure you’re researching more plant-based protein options to add to your diet.
If you logged into your social media feed this past Christmas and saw all of your friends celebrating because they got a new air fryer, you’re not alone.
Air fryers became really popular a couple of years ago, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. And obviously, it’s popular for a good reason: we really love the taste of fried foods, but a lot of us don’t necessarily want to be adding in a ton of inflammatory oils into our diet.
So instead of deep-frying your foods in a vat of oil, air fryers add that crispy crunch to your foods by circulating really hot air, and WebMD estimates that this can cut 70-80% of the calories that the traditional deep-fried foods would have!
Should you try it? Yes! Anything that can add a healthy crisp to your meats and veggies without a deep fryer is a win in my book.
While not exactly new (it was first thought up in 1999), this diet has been enjoying increased popularity lately, and for good reason. Like its name suggests, the aim is to eat a high volume of food while still keeping your calories at a minimum. For example, you could pile your plate high with leafy greens or fill your stomach up on broth-based soups, rather than getting extra helpings of the starchy carbs or heavier fats, making it a great choice for someone who wants to lose weight but stay full.
Should you try it? Probably… as long as you make sure you’re still getting all of your nutrients. You still need to make sure that you’re getting enough protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, and the best way to do that would be to eat a well-balanced diet and to keep track.
As designed, the Volumetrics diet does account for these considerations. So if you’re tired of feeling hungry during your diet attempts, this might be something worth looking into if it’s done correctly.
You’ve probably already heard of probiotics and prebiotics and how good they are for your gut health. If not, here’s a quick recap: probiotics are live bacteria that live in your gut and help your body digest food and produce neurochemicals, and are best found in fermented foods. Prebiotics can be thought of as the “food” for probiotics – they’re dietary fibers that those gut bacteria eat.
In 2021, you’re going to start seeing more talk about postbiotics. These are end-products of the fermentation process, and studies are showing that they might contribute to a variety of health benefits including fighting inflammation and boosting your immune system’s responses. [*]
Should you try it? You might already have. If you’re already focusing on getting your probiotics from fermented foods like sauerkraut, you’re probably already getting postbiotics. If you aren’t, it’s definitely not a bad idea to give your gut health a boost.
Immune-Boosting Food and Supplements
No surprises here: in 2020, we were hyper-focused on staying healthy and giving our immune systems a boost, and that trend is still going to be going strong into 2021. Along with the ongoing campaigns to eat cleaner and stick to whole foods, plenty of people are also focusing on how to feed their body to fight off sickness.
According to surveys, we’re going to continue seeing upswings in foods and supplements like Vitamins C, D, zinc, and ginger in an attempt to give our immune systems a boost.
Should you try it? If you’re thinking about adding in supplements for your immune system, maybe not. The dietary supplement industry is controversial, and there isn’t a ton of evidence that shows that getting these vitamins and minerals are great in boosting your immune system. It doesn’t hurt to get more of these nutrients in your diet from whole foods, though.
Diet trends come and go every year, but this year, the name of the game is healthier, more holistic eating – which is always a good thing! The main thing to keep in mind as you explore ways to improve your health through this next year is to keep it simple: sticking to whole, fresh foods and minimizing your intake of the overly-processed stuff is a surefire way to eat healthier.