These Were the Most Popular Healthy Food Trends of 2019

Not all trends are meant to last forever.

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December 31, 2019


Photo by: Alexander Spatari

Alexander Spatari

With 2020 approaching, it’s always a good idea to take a look back at the healthy food trends of 2019 to see what we should stick with in the new year. Below, we break down seven of the most popular trends of the past year, including why they should or shouldn't be a part of your life come 2020.

Plant-Based Eating

The idea of eating more plants on your plate has been coined “plant-based” or “plant forward.” As most Americans don’t eat the recommended daily amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, eating a plant-based diet certainly can help meet these goals. Sometimes the term “plant-based” is equated with veganism. However, there is no true definition of plant-based and if you'd like to eat more plants in any capacity — go for it!

Will this trend stick around? Absolutely! Upping plant-based foods like whole grains, legume, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables certainly has its benefits. They can be complimented with dairy, eggs and lean proteins.

Meat Alternatives

Piggybacking on the plant-based trend, several companies have released plant-based meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat. Chain restaurants have even developed burgers and other dishes using these meat alternatives. You can now also find tuna, shrimp and eggs in plant-based form.

Will this trend stick around? This trend is going strong for now, but it's unclear how many of these products will stick around. Many of the plant-based meat alternatives are made from many ingredients. Plus, the Impossible Burger bleeds like a burger thanks to the genetically modified heme that it contains. It's unclear whether these are actually "healthier" alternatives to the real deal.


Many health professionals have started looking into the interaction between genetics and how the bioactive compounds in foods influence an individual’s health. The study of this interaction has been coined “nutrigenomics”, which has become quite popular in 2019. The touted benefit of nutrigenomics is prescribing a precise diet for an individual. Researchers are also looking at how nutrigenomics can help obese individuals and those who want to lose weight. However, nutrigenomics is not without controversy. Some registered dietitians feel it is a too simplistic approach and doesn’t take a person’s lifestyle and environment into account.

Will this trend stick around? The science of nutrigenomics is in its infancy. Plan on seeing more research and discussions on the topic come 2020.

Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Although dairy-free milk has been around for years, 2019 brought about an influx of dairy-free ice creams. Companies like Oatly, SO Delicious, Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s, Daiya and Coolhaus have dairy-free ice creams available.

Will this trend stick around? This trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Expect to see more dairy-free ice cream developments in 2020.

Pea Protein

Pea protein has been taking the plant-based protein world by storm. The protein is derived from yellow split peas, which are part of the pulse family along with beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. There has been an increase in the amount of products containing pea protein including plant-based beverages, protein powders, protein bars, veggie burgers, plant-based yogurts and plant-based meats.

Will this trend stick around? Pea protein certainly offers a valuable plant-based option for protein. Expect to find it in more products soon.

Sea Salt Flakes


Sea Salt Flakes

Photo by: Robyn Mackenzie

Robyn Mackenzie


Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has had a bad reputation for many years. Many folks believed it causes symptoms including headache, generalized weakness, palpitations and numbness in his arms. However, the myth of MSG began with a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968 where the author said that the symptoms he had after eating Chinese food could have been from a number of foods he ate including sodium, alcohol from the cooking wine or MSG. The letter was enough to cause the public to go in a tailspin, blaming and banishing MSG. Newer research has found that MSG actually has two-thirds less sodium than table salt and is unlikely to cause any of the negative symptoms mentioned above. You can now find MSG on tables in popular chef’s restaurants throughout the country.

Will this trend stick around? Debunking the myth of MSG will still be around in the upcoming years. You may also start seeing MSG bottles on more restaurant tables and added to more packaged foods.

Food Network Kitchen’s Keto Breakfast Sandwich for NEW FNK, as seen on Food Network.


Food Network Kitchen’s Keto Breakfast Sandwich for NEW FNK, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

The Keto Diet

The most popular diet of the year is certainly this very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet. Ketosis uses fat to provide the body with energy instead of glucose. The diet is so popular that food companies have created an influx of products that are keto-friendly, and much of the diet culture online is about this diet.

Will this trend stick around? Keto is still going strong and will continue to do so in the upcoming years. However, the diet isn’t sustainable and will wane after several more years.

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