Being the start of a new year (with tons of newfound inspiration), now is the perfect time to restart or revisit all your health and wellness goals! And if you’re like most people, healthy eating is likely at the top of your 2023 New Year’s resolutions list. The good news? January is no longer focused on restrictive diets, and intense post-holiday cleanses. Instead, we’re (finally!) seeing a shift toward eating for nutrient density rather than calorie content — we’ve come a long way.
While this past 2022 year was focused on superfoods, sea greens, botanicals, and booze-free beverages, the year to come appears to have a lot of yummy new goodness in store! According to the 2023 Whole Foods trend report, the healthiest foods for 2023 seem to be focused on eating for sustainability, keeping labels clean and wholesome, and continuing the conversation in consumer awareness with cruelty-free meat eating and a push for plant-based options. Plus, expect to see lots of healthy swaps for your favorite childhood throwbacks (think: sugary cereals and mac and cheese), clean caffeine and alcohol alternatives, and even healthy choices for your pets!
RELATED: 20 New Year’s Resolutions Worth Making
Prime Your Plate: The Healthiest 2023 Foods
Yaupon: A Clean Caffeine Alternative
Look out, matcha — it appears there’s a new clean caffeine alternative headed your way! Enter: Yaupon, an increasingly popular leafy shrub that is North America’s only native caffeine source. With an earthy flavor similar to Yerba Mate and about one-third of the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, this botanical beverage may just be the jitter-free caffeine alternative you’ve been searching for. It’s rich in antioxidants, has been shown to reduce inflammation, and unlike other teas, yaupon won’t turn bitter if over-steeped.
Expect to see it in mocktails, cocktails, and as a healthy alternative to coffee and tea!
Related: 8 Ways to Boost Your Coffee (Including Superfoods For All Your Needs)
Upcycled Nut & Seed Pulp
Non-dairy milk is certainly here to stay, but why not drink your non-dairy milk and eat it too? By that, we mean — enjoying leftover nut, seed, and oat pulp! In an effort to be more sustainable and avoid food waste, expect to see more dairy-free products made with upcycled non-dairy milk pulp. Think: nut and seed pulp crackers, flour made from leftover coconut, oat, or almond, protein bars, and energy bites — the list goes on!
The best part? If you’re making your own non-dairy milk, it’s easy to create upcycled recipes at home!
Have some leftover pulp? Try making this homemade granola:
- 1 cup of leftover nut milk pulp
- ½ – 1 cup nuts, chopped (hearty nuts like pecans, almonds, or walnuts work best)
- ½ cup mixed seeds of choice (such as pumpkin, sunflower, or flax)
- ½ – 1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cinnamon (optional)
- Sea salt (optional)
Step #1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Step #2: Add all of the above ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Step #3: Evenly spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once golden brown, remove from oven to cool. Serve and enjoy!
Plant-Based Pasta Alternatives
In addition to the ever-popular chickpea pasta, zoodles, and cauliflower-based dishes, get ready to expand your plant-based pasta palate! Whole food alternatives like green bananas, hearts of palm, and spaghetti squash are expected to hit the market as some of the healthiest 2023 foods. Comfort food made healthy? Sign us up!
Medjool Dates: Nature’s Candy
Dates are nothing new, but according to the 2023 healthy food trends, it looks like they’re going to get the attention they deserve! Also known as nature’s candy, Medjool dates are a tasty and healthy solution for even the sweetest of tooths. Rich in fiber, full of magnesium and potassium, and a natural energy booster. Plus, they are delicious as a natural sweetener in nearly any recipe. Try them in brownies, cookies, caramel, energy balls, smoothies, and more! Goodbye, processed sugar — 2023 is getting a healthy upgrade.
Nostalgic Recipes Made Healthy
Thanks to TikTok and the #vintagerecipes trend, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and bringing back those childhood favorites — but they’re coming back with a healthy twist! Think: mini pizza bagel bites, mac and cheese, and retro childhood cereals made healthy. Instead of processed sugars and artificial and refined ingredients, expect to see products full of whole-food ingredients made for a variety of different diets (like Paleo, plant-based, and keto). Yum!
Our refined Canola days are (long) behind us — we’re ready to welcome a healthy and wholesome oil to the market! Made from cold-pressed avocados, avocado oil is full of vitamin E, rich in heart-healthy omega fatty acids, and loaded with antioxidants. Plus, it naturally has a high smoke point, meaning (unlike most oils) it can be heated at high temperatures without breaking down. Use it in dressings, sauces, and marinades when cooking at home. Shopping at the store? In place of hydrogenated and refined oils, look for brands using avocado oil as a healthy alternative!
As one of the most sustainable food sources on the planet, we’re filling our 2023 plates with kelp! And sustainability aside, this seafood doubles as a superfood. It’s rich in iodine, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s extremely low cal with just 12 calories per 28-gram serving.
Make a simple kelp salad or add it to soups, stir-fries, poke bowls, or your favorite Asian-inspired dish.
Healthy 2023 Trends to Keep On Your Radar
Committed to Cruelty-Free
With the rise of the Better Chicken Project, a new initiative addressing the sourcing and animal welfare standards of poultry and eggs, 2023 is focused on healthy and humane animal and meat consumption. Instead of just cage-free, look for a rise in pasture-raised poultry products when shopping for chicken and eggs!
Not a meat eater? Don’t worry, plant-based is here to stay! In addition to continued (and expanded) production of consumer favorites like plant-based pasta, pizza, and everyday pantry staples, the 2023 plant-based market is pushing toward expansion. Look out for plant-based seafood, new and innovative alternatives for nearly every food group, and a heightened commitment toward clean labels and whole food ingredients.
Going Green: Climate-Conscious & Sustainably-Sourced
From sustainably-sourced ingredients to eco-friendly packaging, environmental concerns are a major market motivator for the upcoming 2023 year. Whether it’s chips and crackers, dairy and non-dairy products, or boozy beverages and mocktails, expect to see an eco-friendly push in the health and wellness world. Think: recyclable and compostable packaging, local and sustainable ingredients, and plant-forward products.
Premium Pet Food
Pet parents, rejoice! Your furry friends are getting a nutritious upgrade (it’s about time). In place of the refined oils and fillers that can be found in most current products, anticipate newly formulated pet food and treats made with whole food ingredients. You wouldn’t want refined and processed ingredients in your food, so why would your pet?! And be on the lookout for aging pet products! From hip and joint health to gut support, our fur babies need love too.
Trending in 2023: Healthy Eating Made Easy & Accessible!
Whether you’re cooking at home or leaning on store-bought options, your healthy eating goals are looking attainable and sustainable this upcoming year. Centered around sustainable and ethical sourcing, whole food ingredients, and healthy indulgences for all diet types, the healthiest 2023 foods, and food trends are looking good for our mind, body, and planet. So, if you’re looking to prioritize your health and wellness goals in a positive way, you’re in luck! Say goodbye to diet culture once and for all — this year is focused on fueling our bodies in a mindful manner.