Are you a trendy eater?

In our never-ending quest to belong, we are constantly checking our status to see where we sit in popularity charts.

  • How many friends do you have on Facebook?
  • Are you wearing the right kind of shoes, or make-up
  • are your skirts or pants in the most popular pattern or colour?
  • Do you eat the kind of food that pundits say will keep you healthy and let you live longer?

With the start of a new year and a plethora of statistics on what was popular last year and what should be a hit this year, it’s easy to score your progress – or lack thereof.

I thought I’d offer you both sides of the story; this week I’m going to include the forecast food trends for 2019, but I’m also going to include some tips for those who want to be rebels. That way no one needs to feel left out.

After all, in a democratic world you can’t be popular unless there is a group against which you can offer a contrast.

Here’s to standing your ground, wherever that may be.


Chicken – if you want a more traditional meal that pleases a crowd, this is the meat of choice. No one is asking where the beef is any more; it’s all about lean meat. You might still be eating potatoes, but if you’re making an effort at being trendy, you also switched those up for quinoa or kashi.

Avocado – you are living in a cave if you haven’t eaten avocado toast in the last few months. This hip Australian snack has taken our continent by storm, especially since this spreadable vegetable is also a healthy fat (see below for more on how good fat is so much better than sliced bread). Get ready to eat avocados in all kinds of ways – as “fries,” in chocolate mousse, and spread on lots more than just toast.

Legumes – chick peas lead the way, either whole or crushed into hummus or tahini, but so many other legumes are heading into the mainstream as well. Lentils, white beans, kidney beans… you can’t go wrong with plant-based proteins in your meals. Chick pea flour is gaining popularity in baking as well, as is tahini. Have you had chocolate tahini mousse yet?

Keto diets – a diet program that was first introduced in the 1920s as a treatment to prevent epileptic seizures has now become a popular weight loss diet. It works by putting the ratio of food elements in a different combination, with up to 80 per cent fats, 15 per cent protein and only five per cent carbohydrates. (The recommended ratio from government agencies has 20-30 per cent protein with 45-65 per cent carbohydrates and 10-30 per cent fat.)

Such a change in nutrient consumption puts the body into a state of ketosis, where it uses stored fats as fuel instead of stored carbohydrates.

As such, the rise of recipes and ready-made dishes with “good fats” such as avocado and coconut has been volcanic. Just try searching #keto on social media and you’ll have no lack of inspiration.

To strictly follow this regime, one needs to greatly reduce or even give up grains, dairy, beans and fruit. The results can be dramatic, the evidence of which is seen by the profiles of many bodybuilders sculpting their forms for competition.

A word to the wise: changing one’s diet to a large degree can be hazardous if not done properly, so be sure you have proper support if you embark on this journey.

Pseudo-meat – Remember tofurkey? Now everything from vegan jerky made from soy, coconut or mushrooms to fake bacon is now widely available. New developments including ground meat substitutes from a plant-based source, some of which are made in laboratories.

Many of the folks enjoying these items are not vegetarian or vegan; they want to try something new. They may also be concerned with the environmental pressure that results from the large scale farming of meat animals that is now the norm.

New frozen treats – in conjunction with all the diets that restrict dairy consumption, this category is getting much more creative. Can you wrap your tongue around “ice cream” using tahini, coconut, banana and/or avocado? (The good news is, many of them still involve chocolate of some sort.)

Cannabis/hemp food products – well, this is no surprise, is it? We will have to see how this trend develops in Canada, but it’s going a long way past brownies and gummi bears, that’s for sure. Infused water, peanut butter, pretzels and even fish crackers are available in some places.

“Big picture” food – more transparency with eco-friendly farming, processing and packaging and fairness in company practices is more important to many consumers.

Both younger generations and baby boomers say they want restaurants to offer less packaging; the demise of the plastic straw is well underway, and more paper and plastic items are compostable.

Does it affect your buying or choice of places to visit, whether they make an environmental effort? Do you support companies with fair trade or fair hiring policies? It’s something to think about whether we buy local or international foods.


Perhaps you’re one of those people who likes to buck the trends. You are not into fast food, you don’t care what the most popular pizza topping is right now. If you want to stand out as a rebel, here are some counter-culture trends that have popped up:

Stick to the grain – heritage breads and resistant starches have a following with those who don’t want to go the carb-free route. Ancient grains with less processing or sprouted grain flours can offer more nutrients, and freshly milled flour is like freshly ground coffee, giving more flavour and a higher ratio of vitamins.

For other high-carb foods, think beans and potatoes (regular and sweet) and rice – all of them offer a chance to keep blood glucose levels low, which means feeling full for longer and staying heart and gut-healthy.

Support small – there is a loyal following of folks who support their local farmers and producers as well as local businesses. That can also mean supporting your local Walmart, which does help local jobs but possibly not local items.

If you want to keep those traditional specialities alive, you need to speak out and encourage local bigger stores to buy from local suppliers. There are often options for them to list these items in a smaller area.

We just need to be prepared to pay to support local wages and rent rates that make up the costs of these items, as opposed to ones that come from places where the cost of living is much lower.

Resist supporting celebrity sponsorship – David Chang’s Spotify list, KFC-scented fire logs, Neil Patrick Harris telling us to drink Heineken Light... Let’s face it, running shoes with the Dunkin’ Donuts logo won’t help you run faster or lose weight. Just go for a donut if you want one.

Avoid using labels to be trendy – pegan (a combination of paleo and vegan), keto, organic… Sometimes these words are thrown around without much thought. Be sure you are aware of what’s in your food and where your ingredients come from. Apply a bit of moderation. Then take it from there.

Grow some food, cook some ingredients – grow your own lettuce in a pot and quit worrying about E. coli in the romaine. Instead of warming up a ready-made meal, look at quick “sheet pan suppers”, where you can cook protein and veggies on one pan in the oven, timing the elements to finish all together.

Trying just one of these ideas won’t turn you into a hippie, unless you want to become one.

We all make our own choices. I’d like to offer a revised version of an old saying… “We represent what we eat.” Let’s just chew on that for a while, shall we?

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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