2021 Nutrition & Wellness Trends To Try

By Lindsey O'Connell

Last year around this time, we were all wondering how the new decade would look. We were hopeful (daresay thrilled) about all the exciting things to come. Well, never in a million years would we have predicted what the year 2020 would be like. We  went on a journey together, and we all learned something new.

We baked (a lot) of banana bread. We learned new hobbies. We perfected the art of Zoom meetings (business on top, sweatpants on the bottom), and we felt a lot of feelings. For better or worse, 2020 taught us a lot. And, as the year comes to a close, health is top of mind for many. We need a fresh start—and that means prioritizing our mental and physical wellbeing.  

Each December, health, wellness, tech, and fashion companies alike report on what they predict we will all clamour for during the following year.  Last year, it was CBD, kale, spiked seltzers, and the Keto diet. This year, mental health, immunity, and climate diets are at the top of the 2021 list.

We’ve rounded up eight of the top trends we think will be big this year—with an added bonus. Our founder and expert RD, Keri Glassman, weighs in on just how effective they may be. 

Here’s to a fresh, healthy New Year!


Supercharged Wearables

We love our fitness trackers (thanks to Apple Watch and Fitbit); but, in 2021 wearables are kicking it into high gear to track far beyond steps and sleep—i.e. respiratory rate and metabolic health.

There are a couple companies who are making waves with their tech. Whoop, worn by athletes and olympians has been helping to track COVID-19 symptoms throughout the pandemic. Levels developed a bio-wearable, metabolic sensor that tells users how food is impacting their blood sugar levels.  

We are likely to see more companies getting on board with supercharging their devices as the year progresses.

Keri’s Take:

People like tracking things. The more information we have about our habits, the more we can change those habits. Most of us are used to using more tech—so if we can do it to take our health up a notch, even better! 

Postbiotics are the new Prebiotics

We’ve all heard of probiotics, that “good” or “friendly” bacteria that keeps our microbiome healthy.

Postbiotics (although they’ve been around forever) are new to the trend scene. A little bio of this important bacteria: postbiotics are leftovers of the fermentation process carried out by probiotics in the intestine. So, as probiotics feed on prebiotics, postbiotics are produced. Essentially, they are the “waste” of probiotics (I promise it’s not as gross as it sounds!)

Postbiotics are found in any food which has been fermented by live bacteria such as kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, yogurt, and even pickles.

Keri’s Take: 

We already know that the link between the gut and overall health is huge, and we are just at the beginning. I believe we’ve only learned a tiny fraction of what we’re going to learn in regards to the microbiome. Understanding postbiotics is another step in terms of understanding how our gut influences our health. 

Eat Your Microgreens

We recently wrote about the benefits of starting an indoor herb garden, and microgreens were the #1 thing botanists and farmers were really excited about. While they aren’t new to the scene for nutritionists, they may be something others haven’t tried.

Microgreens are basically baby plants that are loaded with nutrients. Studies have found they can help to boost immunity, aid in gut health, and can even lower cholesterol.

You’ll see these microgreens in juices, smoothies, as garnishes, or on top of pasta or pizza! 

Keri’s Take: 

Microgreens are more nutrient dense than their more “mature” adult counterparts. This is a very simple way to add a mega dose of nutrient density to a meal along with a boost of flavor. 

Spice, Spice Baby

According to Pinterest Predicts (its annual trend forecast), spicy foods are going to be taking over 2021—or as they put it, “bland is banned.” They’ve shared that searches for the “jalapeño pepper jelly recipe” and “hot honey recipe” have been on the rise which doesn’t surprise us (We’re putting Mike’s Hot Honey on basically everything!).

This is a trend we can get behind. Not only has it been found to aid in weight loss, capsaicin, found in most hot spices works as an antioxidant, protecting cells from harmful free radicals that can cause cancer.

Keri’s Take:

I’m a huge fan of spices, in general. You get flavor which adds satiety; and, are virtually calorie free with the added bonus of antioxidants. So, whether it’s a hot and spicy kick like capsaicin adds or other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, I”m usually all for it.

Your Morning Buzz Isn’t In the Cup

Whole Foods’ annual trend report revealed that coffee isn’t just going to be enjoyed in your favorite mug. Java is going to be giving a “jolt” to a variety of foods. You’ll find it in granola bars, smoothie boosters, and even booze. 

Soon, you just may be enjoying a cup of coffee with some coffee yogurt parfait topped with coffee granola. 

Keri’s Take:

I’m all for this trend if you don’t go overboard with it. Coffee is the #1 way Americans get their antioxidants. It often gets a bad wrap because so many of us add sugar and unhealthy creamers to our morning cups. But, in its whole form, coffee actually has a variety of health benefits.

Mental Health Foods

Otherwise known as the Brain Health Diet, experts have been studying how food impacts your mental health for years. After the year we’ve all had, our mental health is top on the list of priorities (finally!).  While a proper self-care routine is necessary, what we eat has a huge affect on our mental health. 

Nutrition plays a critical role in helping to fight disease and activate our body’s defenses at every stage in our lives. And, even more, foods can actually boost your mood, help you focus, and lessen anxiety. (Don’t worry, we will be covering ALL that and more this year on NL.)

Keri’s Take: 

There’s so much research going on surrounding the microbiome, how it affects mental health, and how diet, in general, and specifically sugar, affects our brain health. Even Alzheimers has been called Type-3 diabetes. We know how important diet is to our brain, and it’s about time we start prioritizing what we put in our bodies to better serve our minds.  

Eat to Build Immunity

Similar to the mental health cooking trend, COVID-19 has impacted the way we think about food in a big way.  Tell us you haven’t Googled “what to eat to ward off Covid” (or something like that)!

The food we put in our bodies can provide many essential nutrients that our immune system needs to function properly. On the flip side, a diet loaded with unhealthy foods can cause inflammation which compromises your body’s immune system. So, in 2021, you’ll see more “superfood” recipes all over your IG feeds. 

Be on the lookout for whole foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and other antioxidants to add to your daily meals and snacks.

Keri Take: 

This one may seem obvious. It’s something we’re going to be thinking about more…forever probably.

Eating to Help the Environment 

The environment is going to play a big part in many aspects of our lives—including food and nutrition. 

In an effort to beat climate change, many are moving toward a more plant-based, flexitarian eating style.  Eating less meat will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and munching on locally-grown plants not only supports the community, it takes less energy to transport. That’s a win-win.

Food waste has been a big, hot-button conversation with companies like Misfits who launched to help us waste less. Chefs are looking to use what was otherwise thought of as scraps in their recipes (think broccoli stems, carrot stems, and potato peels) as well as single-serve, portioned meals.

On top of all that—packaging is also going to be a factor.. Companies are working hard to make the most sustainable, eco-friendly containers. There will be more upcycled materials, reusable containers, and no more scoopers in your powders.

Keri take: 

“Living consciously” is the pillar of a Nutritious Life that is all about the environment, so this trend is definitely one we’re all behind. There are so many simple ways to reduce waste and something many people jumped on board with during the pandemic. I’m hoping people stay focused on this going into 2021 and beyond, and I’m happy that many companies are making it easier to do so.

About Lindsey O'Connell
Former Editorial Director, Nutritious Life

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