Good nutrition is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Food is our bodyâs fuel and building material. When properly consumed, it can help repair damage and protect us from disease. While modern medicine has produced life-extending breakthroughs, nutrition is still a primary driver in determining overall health. As a professional on the front lines of America's dietary health, nutritionists and culinary masterminds alike must keep abreast of health trends, emerging techniques, and fresh takes on classic ingredients.
Letâs take a look at three different trends emerging in culinary nutrition. You can use them to enhance your own health, gain inspiration in your home or work kitchen, or even as a way to impress friends and family members coming over for dinner!
Fresh Produce and Ingredients from Local Farms
Whether it's honey made from local wildflowers or shopping at farmersâ markets, much has been said about buying and eating local. Some of the key benefits of local produce, meat, and specialty items include:
- Helping local farmers, fishermen, and other producers to prosper which allows you to build relationships with them and ensure a high quality supply of food to your kitchen.
- Encouraging sustainable harvesting and farming practices by shortening the supply chain between the farm and the plate.
- Bringing varietals, and other rare crops and breeds into the kitchen, allowing restaurants to have a taste and aesthetic different from the rest of the country.
- Buying from local farmers helps to keep locals employed.
New Farming Settings and Techniques
There are a number of new trends in farming that have implications for culinary nutrition. Some of them are innovative while others take time-tested techniques and apply them in new contexts.
- Community and urban gardens: while many community gardens are small-scale, larger ones exist in many cities. Some allow community members to farm, while others are cooperatives with more selective criteria. Depending on where you live, you may be able to source or even grow your own plot.
- Hydroponic gardening requires no soil, just water and nutrients, along with porous growing media and specialized irrigation systems. Because plant nutrients are mostly water soluble, hydroponic produce can grow much more quickly, allowing access to produce earlier in the season.
ECPI Universityâs College of Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of Virginia, features a large hydroponic garden, so you can see for yourself the versatility of this technique in action.
New Focus on Healthy Eating
Changes in demographics, aging baby boomers, and increasing numbers of immigrants from countries with plant-based diets have heightened demand for healthy foods. As Americans have moved to more sedentary lifestyles, obesity has become a major concern for people young and old. Here are some things you can do to make your diet healthier:
- Substitute ingredients to make confections vegan or create meatless alternatives to classic dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs.
- Choose to steam, bake, or braise instead of frying.
- Use strong spices, ethnic ingredients, and colorful ingredients to create robust, low-calorie flavor.
â Culinary Career Now (@CulinaryCNB) January 13, 2015
Check out the Culinary Nutrition Program at ECPI University
With more and more people expressing interest in healthy eating, now could be a very good time to consider a career in Culinary Nutrition. At Culinary Institute of Virginia, offer the education and tools that can help you launch your career. Through our year-round program, you can earn your Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition in less than 15 months through our year-round program. Contact us today to learn moreâit could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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