Healthy Eating

The 13 Healthiest Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2022

Potato milk, booze-free beverages, Kernza (a brand new grain), and more.

By: Lexy Parsons

The New Year is always a welcomed opportunity to start fresh and make positive changes toward achieving your goals. And as one of the most important aspects of health, of course, a healthy diet is at the forefront of our minds. But when we say ‘diet,’ we’re not talking about the typical fad diet that arises at the start of every year and promotes excessive calorie restriction or an unhealthy mindset. You won’t – ever – find that here at FitOn! What we’re talking about are the healthiest foods to eat in 2022 that will support your health and wellness goals in a sustainable, attainable way. 

From superfoods to sustainability, these 2022 health food trends are going back to basics (think: real, whole foods) while taking mental, physical, and environmental health into consideration! As we leave behind low-cal foods and artificial flavors, we’re excited about the new – nutrient-dense – direction of the health industry. With fresh flavors and nourishing nutrients, we’re willing to bet these trending health foods will inspire newfound motivation for your healthiest year yet. 

13 Healthy & Trending Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2022

#1 Moringa 

We foresee a lot of green in our future, thanks to the “miracle tree” known as moringa. According to the 2022 Whole Foods Trend Report, expect to see this nutrient-dense plant steal the spotlight as one of the healthiest foods to eat in 2022. In fact, global technology research predicts a 2.85 billion dollar growth in the moringa-product market by 2025 – wow is right. But, this superfood isn’t just another weight-loss gimmick or unsubstantiated food trend – just look at its medicinal benefits.

Moringa is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. It’s rich in important vitamins like vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, plus it’s full of minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. Research shows it can even reduce weight gain thanks to its low-calorie, nutrient-rich profile. And, its fibrous pods have also been shown to support digestion, not to mention its leafy constituents, which are rich in protein. 

Moringa has an earthy taste – similar to matcha but without the caffeine – and can be utilized in a variety of dishes. Sneak it into your smoothie, add it to savory stews, or even sprinkle it on your salad or veggies. 

You’ll also see it added to lots of health food products, too! Here are some products to look out for:

  • Yolélé fonio chips made with a nutritious fonio pilaf (we’re intrigued) grain and moringa 
  • Moringa tea and latte mixes
  • Pure moringa powder
  • Moringa-infused protein and energy bars

#2 Yuzu 

This small but mighty citrus fruit is about to make a flavorful splash into our diet. Think of this less commonly known fruit as a cross between a sour lime or lemon, a tangy grapefruit, and a vibrant tangerine. It’s more flavorful and aromatic than most citrus fruits, which is why its peel, rind, and juice are being utilized in kitchens across the globe to enhance flavor and benefit health. 

Similar to other citrus, Yuzu is rich in Vitamin-C, antioxidants and full of immune-supporting properties, but the benefits don’t stop there. The nutrient profile of Yuzu is pretty incredible. Not only is it low in calories (just 20 calories per 100-gram serving), but it also benefits skin health and mood, reduces inflammation, supports brain health, benefits heart health (and healthy blood circulation). Impressive, we know.

So, how do you incorporate Yuzu into your diet? Add this citrus fruit to sauces, dressings, drinks, and desserts, which is what lots of health food products appear to be doing. Think: yuzu-infused honey, Hemp-based botanical beverages, and lots of sauces, vinegars, and dressings. You’ll even see restaurants utilizing this nutritious citrus fruit!

#3 Seagreens 

If you’re trying to optimize your health and fill your diet with nutrients, start by adding more seafood to your plate. But, this isn’t the kind of seafood you’re probably thinking – no fish (in fact, no animals) are involved. What we’re really talking about are sea greens – or more specifically, foods like kelp and seaweed! Yep, the benefits of greens are wide-ranging and they aren’t limited to what we can find on land. Foods like kelp and seaweed are jam-packed with micronutrients and minerals, and the good news is that our plate is about to get a hefty filling of them. Seagreens like seaweed and kelp are rich in a slew of nutrients like vitamins K and A, iodine, magnesium, folate, calcium, and more. 

Add them to soups, make your own sushi, or mix them into your salad. Best of all, not only are these some of the most nutrient-dense foods, but they’re also extremely low calorie (on average, 20 calories or less). Not surprisingly, seagreens have been shown to benefit health in a big way, supporting everything from thyroid health to weight loss

With benefits like these, brands are jumping on board. While there are already lots of healthy food products utilizing these sea veggies – like Mary’s Gone Crackers and gimMe Organic seaweed strips – expect to see lots more in your future.

#4 Hibiscus 

Flowers are more than just beautiful decorations! Well, in the case of hibiscus at least, which is proving to be one of the healthiest 2022 foods. You may have passed by this flowery plant on the herbal tea shelf or in the refrigerator section, already bottled into a ready-to-drink beverage. But if you passed by without adding Hibiscus to your cart, you may want to rethink your decision in the year ahead. The hibiscus flower is full of powerful antioxidants. Plus, this all-natural plant could support your weight loss goals. While more research is needed, studies show a reduction in body weight, body fat, body mass index, and hip-to-waist ratio in participants who took Hibiscus over a 12-week period.

Make it into an herbal tea at home or find it in lots of healthy store-bought beverages such as SunWink sparking herbal tea and CBD-infused Recess beverages. 

#5 Sunflower Seeds

Nuts, nut butters, and nut-based dairy alternatives will always have a special place in our heart (thanks to their protein-rich, satiating benefits), but we’re making room for lots of seeds on our plate as we enter the new year. While we love seeds like pumpkin, chia, and flax, our 2022 eyes are set on sunflower seeds. You may have seen this product buzzing across the wellness market in the form of Sunbutter, a seed-based nut-butter alternative, but you can expect to see a lot more sunflower-based products in the year ahead (…Ben & Jerry’s has even made it into a non-dairy ice cream). So why are sunflower seeds on our list of healthiest foods to eat in 2022? Because they’re allergy-friendly, heart-healthy, rich in protein, and packed with fiber and antioxidants

Did we mention they taste amazing? Try them roasted on top of a salad, spread as a butter onto fruit or a sandwich, spooned into a smoothie, or eaten plain! Along with sunflower seeds, look out for more seed-based dairy-free products as brands continue to grow their plant-based product lines.

#6 Kernza

If you’ve never heard of this food, it’s probably because it’s (relatively) new to the wellness market. But, trust us – with benefits like these, you’ll want to get fully acquainted! Meet Kernza: the eco-friendly, nutrient-dense perennial grain made from intermediate wheatgrass. Why is this grain so special? Because it supports the 2022 push for more sustainable foods. This new wheat-based grain has the potential to save soil, reduce nitrates and pesticides, and minimize the environmental impact of agriculture.

It has a sweet, nutty flavor that can be utilized in everything from cereal to bread and even ice cream. So, keep this trending 2022 grain on your radar – it’s making its way into some of the healthiest products on the market. Patagonia Provisions is already utilizing Kernza in some of its products, and you can expect to see Kernza in many more as we make our way into the new year. 

#7 Turmeric 

Of course, turmeric makes our list as one of the healthiest foods to eat in 2022. But, with so many powerful benefits, are you really surprised? According to the 2022 Whole Foods Trend report, turmeric will make its way into even more health food products! Let’s recap on all the reasons you need this vibrant yellow spice. 

Turmeric is full of potent anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to benefit everything from immune health to brain health to weight loss, plus it’s full of nutrients like antioxidants vitamins, and minerals. 

While you’re probably familiar with the classic (and delicious) turmeric milk latte, expect to see this super-spice appear in a variety of health foods. According to the 2022 Whole Foods trend report, expect to see turmeric-infused granolas, sauerkraut, plant-based mylks, and more. 

#8 Buzzing Botanical-Rich Beverages

Adaptogenic drinks have been creating a buzz in the wellness market for some time, and they are here to stay. Different from the trending rise in mocktails (more on that below) these functional beverages serve the purpose of enhancing your health with botanical-rich (and century-old) medicinal ingredients that support everything from brain health to gut health.

Here are some of our favorite trending brands: Recess, Moment, Sweet Reason, and Olipop, just to name a few. 

#9 Mocktails

Speaking of bubbly beverages, healthy mocktails are expected to line the shelves in the year ahead. And, we’re not talking about drinks that can be enjoyed as healthier alternatives to mixers (which are great too). These booze-free beverages are branded specifically as healthy alternatives to alcohol-based drinks, and given the (nutritious and all-natural) ingredients, we’re looking forward to enjoying plenty in 2022.

Some of the brands? According to Whole Foods, this is the buzz: 

  • Greenbar Distillery Non-Alcoholic Cocktail beverages, including flavors like: Lavender, Orange, and Earl Grey
  • Ritual Zero Proof, with mocktail beverage alternatives for whiskey, gin, and tequila 

And, in case you missed it, Bella Hadid just bought Kin Euphorics, the first branded “brain-care beverage” also promoted as an ‘adult drink’ – so, as you would expect, this industry is (luckily) about to get a lot of great publicity! 

That’s not to say all alcoholic drinks are bad or unhealthy. But, it’s reassuring to see the 2022 market support sober socializers in a health-conscious way! With that said, if you are reaching for a drink, here’s how to incorporate alcohol into your diet in a healthier way.

 #10 Potato Milk 

Potato milk!? You heard it here first. Don’t worry, your favorite dairy-free beverages like oat milk and the OG classics such as almond milk are here to stay. But, there’s a new plant-based beverage in the works: potato milk. While it hasn’t hit the market just yet, the word on the street is it’s on its way. Potato milk is not only sustainable and nutritious, but it’s also a great dairy-free alternative for those who have allergies to nuts and seed-based products, which currently dominate the market. So, be on the lookout for this 2022 health food!!

#11 Aji Amarillo Chili Peppers

We’re turning up the heat in 2022 and adding some extra spice to our plate! One of the healthiest foods to eat in 2022 is none other than aji amarillo chili peppers. Think of this spice as the new cayenne pepper. It appears to have all of the metabolism-boosting benefits thanks to its thermogenic properties, plus it’s full of flavor, low in calories, and makes for an extremely healthy addition to your plate. 

Mix it into chilis and soups, add it on top of your avocado toast, or even sprinkle it on fruits like pineapple and mango.

#12 Fruit & Citrus-Based Vinegars 

Step aside, apple cider vinegar — there’s a new vinegar trend in town. There are lots of tart new flavors coming to the 2022 market, including fruit and citrus-based vinegars. One of the healthiest ways to incorporate them into your diet? Use them as healthier alternatives to sugar-filled dressings and seasonings. You’ll also start to see brands (and restaurants) adding them to boosted bubbly beverages. 

#13 Upcycled Produce 

Following the 2022 sustainable diet trend, upcycled produce is heading your way! What does this mean, exactly? It means companies are making a mindful push to reduce food waste by utilizing the entire plant or produce while working to preserve food in as many ways as possible. And we’re very happy about this, seeing as 30% (1.3 billion tons) of the total food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost per year. So, how will you see this on the market? Think: dried fruit bars made from banana peels and cold-pressed cacao juice (yum) made from leftover cacao pods. 

But beyond being eco-friendly, how is this one of the healthiest 2022 foods, you ask? Well, tons of nutrients are often found in some parts of produce and plants that are typically discarded. So, not only will you support the environment, but you’ll also benefit your health. 

The Healthiest 2022 Food Trends to Keep On Your Radar 

And speaking of the diet trends, here are the two biggest (and healthiest) 2022 food trends to look out for according to the 2022 Whole Foods trend report.

Local & Sustainable Diets

As you’ve seen with the health foods above, there is a *huge* push for more local and sustainable diets (yay!!!). Think: everything from farmer’s markets, to home-grown vertical gardens (like Lettuce Grow), to local urban farming. It seems like we’re moving in a positive direction for both the health of our body and the environment, and it’s very encouraging to see.  

And, this will take place in both health food markets and restaurants. Restaurants are starting to approach their menu with a more eco-friendly, health-conscious mindset. You’ll start to see menus shrink with fewer options but more nutrient-dense foods. And, there will be more nutrient-dense, easy-prep meal kits available for consumers who want something healthy, quick, and convenient but want to dine in the comfort of their own home.

Plant-Based Everything (including proteins/protein replacements)

Say hello to plant-based everything in 2022. From breakfast to dinner to dessert, (nutrient-dense) plant-based products are booming. While the plant-based market has been on the rise for quite some time, our diet is shifting away from “diet foods” and focusing on products made from whole foods.

According to the Whole Foods 2022 trend report, one of the healthiest 2022 diets will be the “Reducetarianism Diet,” which is simply a diet focused on minimally processed plant foods with a sprinkle of animal-based products. But, what makes this diet different (healthier) than similar food-based structures is the plant foods that are incorporated are very health conscious (think: pasture-raised and grass-fed). So, again – not only is health on our mind, but sustainability is, too!

Plus, you can expect to see a lot of plant-based meat options appear on your plate. And like all of the 2022 health food trends we’ve been seeing, the focus will be on foods that are minimally processed. Think: less tofu, more mushroom, and legume-based products. 

The Food & Mental Health Connection

Over the last nearly two years, the conversation of mental health has been brought to the forefront, and we’re here for it. Mental health matters (in a BIG way), and in 2022, expect to hear more about the connection between the foods we eat and how they affect the brain! Keep an eye out for more talk about eating trends for brain health, such as The MIND Diet. 

The Takeaway

Now that you know the healthiest new foods (and their nutrient-dense benefits) plus all of the healthy 2022 diet trends that are on the rise, prepare for your healthiest year yet. Following this mindset, approach your diet with a new mentality. Gone are the days of calorie counting and restriction! Instead, we’re focusing on minimally processed foods with maximum nutrients while keeping sustainability in mind. Sounds pretty incredible (and totally manageable), right!?

Cheers to good health – mentally and physically – and some yummy, nourishing recipes (which we’ll be whipping up with these foods sooner than you think).