Despite the mildly traumatic meme that 2016 turned out to be, we have to admit some amazing food trends blossomed from the wreckage. It seemed the food industry dealt with the year by introducing fun colored foods and desserts galore, but hey, I'm definitely not complaining. I could go for a crazy donut or some rolled ice cream any day of the week. 

With this year's fresh start, 2017 has become a time of political debate and new healthy food trends. This year already has some promising items on it's food trend list including greens, amaranth, veggie fries, and purple foods. Let's take a look. 

1. Amaranth

pasture, groats, quinoa, corn, wheat, millet, cereal
Talena Keltner

Amaranth is an ancient "grain" originated from Aztec nations. Although this is often called a grain, it's actually a seed (like quinoa) from the amaranth plant. It has a similar nutrition value to rice, but with twice as much protein and fewer carbohydrates. It is also completely gluten-free. For these reasons, it has been labeled as a super-food and is making a star appearance this year.

I followed a basic cooking method for the amaranth; it's very similar to cooking rice. The taste on its own was kind of reminiscent to eating radishes. The flavor is earthy and strong. Use it to garnish your oatmeal and you got yourself a hearty breakfast. 

2. Greens

spinach, salad, collards, swiss chard, cabbage, vegetable, kale, chard
Talena Keltner

Even though I've heard of collard greens and rainbow chard, I'd never tried either of these delights at the beginning of the week. Those, along with carrot tops, dandelion greens, and sorrel are taking over for the ex- star, kale. All of these greens are making a huge emergence this year and are coming up with a mission. 

After cooking rainbow chard this week, I found it surprisingly delightful. The leaves are tender even while raw and make a good salad, but I personally preferred them sautéed with bacon. Way better than kale.

3. Veggie Fries

vegetable, sauce
Talena Keltner

Veggie fries are making a killing right now. They are also being paired with unique homemade condiments (like this Tzatziki recipe) that are also on the rise this year. There are a dozen different veggies that can be turned into fries including: carrots, avocado, zucchini, and asparagus. This trend also includes the already beloved sweet potato fry. These veggie fries are a delicious and healthy substitute for potato chips. 

For my veggie fries, I cut up carrots and baked them in the oven. I used heirloom carrots to give a variety of colors to my fries. The carrots turned out crispy and had a sweet flavor to them that reminded me of sweet potato fries. 

4. Kefir

coffee, milk
Talena Keltner

This fun beverage is taking over the yogurt isle. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that has been around since the 1800s. It's basically Danimal's Smoothies but for adults. Kefir comes in a variety of flavors and is being praised for its health benefits, including being a higher source of probiotics than yogurt. Probiotics are live bacteria that help with things like digestion (kind of important).

I wanted to get the full kefir experience so I tried The Greek Gods Kefir in plain. The consistency is a bit thinner than yogurt but much thicker than milk. It's smooth and creamy. The flavor of this one is similar to Greek yogurt—tangy, tart, and a little sour. Overall, I found this drink to be quite addicting and could easily use it in smoothies. 

It's easy to see that 2017 is making a big push on the health front and the trending food is no exception. It's still early in the year, and it's never too late to add in some new food to help create a new you.