(BPT) - A new year always brings predictions about what trends will rise to popularity, and when it comes to food, there are plenty of trends already underway that will no doubt continue to surge over the next several months. The good news is both your taste buds and your health will likely benefit from the latest trends in eating and cooking.
1. A celebration of global flavors
2020 is an exciting time to explore new flavors from around the world.
A rich array of tantalizing ingredients and dishes from Latin America, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia can now be found in restaurants and even grocery stores almost everywhere — and if you can’t find it in store, you can most certainly find what you’re looking for online.
Thanks to the internet, recipes showcasing global cultures are also easy to access. Americans are more interested in expanding their palates than ever before, unveiling a whole new world of culinary experiences at the click of a button.
2. A bumper crop of plant-based foods
A growing concern for environmentally sustainable diets — alongside the piqued interest in a healthy approach to eating — has combined to create an increased demand for plant-based foods.
This trend goes beyond traditional salads and fruit into a world of deeply creative cooking, using a wide array of vegetables in all sorts of innovative ways. This also means incorporating more plant-based protein sources like beans and legumes in dishes, using non-dairy milk substitutes like almond and oat milk, finding meatless protein substitutions and cooking with natural plant-based sweeteners like agave syrup.
3. Customization is all the rage
Noodles & Company is a great example of a fast-casual restaurant that showcases all these 2020 food trends, including allowing customers to make personalized substitutions. You can dine in or conveniently order for pickup or delivery via the NoodlesRewards app. Menu options range from classic favorite Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to new global delights like the Grilled Orange Chicken Lo Mein, available in restaurants nationwide beginning January 22. This worldly dish boasts authentic Asian flavors in a slightly sweet and tangy orange sauce, complemented by traditional Lo Mein noodles sauteed with fresh broccoli, carrots, snap peas, Napa and red cabbage, then finished with grilled chicken, green onions, black sesame seeds and cilantro.
You can even customize any dish on the menu to suit your taste or diet. Eating more plant-based foods in 2020? Swap out Lo Mein for zucchini noodles (Zoodles) or the cauliflower-infused Caulifloodles while packing extra veggies and nutrients into your diet. Going vegan? Simply remove the chicken!
No matter how it’s ordered, there are never any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, so clean eating in the new year is convenient and easily customizable to any dietary preference or need.
4. Conscious eating
Clean eating means eating foods without additives and artificial ingredients. Today's diners and home cooks demand transparency about ingredients and preparation. People interested in clean eating want to see respect for the ingredients. In other words, they want to be able to recognize everything that's on the plate. They want their food to be less processed, with as few additives as possible — resulting in big, bold natural flavors.
5. Seasonings with added health benefits
Seeking more flavorful food can also provide health benefits. Certain herbs and spices are trending not just due to their unique, strong flavors, but also because they have been shown to boost the body’s immune system, provide anti-inflammatory effects and contain antioxidants. Ginger, turmeric, garlic, cayenne and cinnamon are just some of the latest spices touted as being especially good for you.
Keep up with the latest food trends and check out all the easy ways to make clean eating easy and delicious at more than 450 Noodles & Company restaurants nationwide at noodles.com.