Gen Z – The New Food Movement

Image Source: Classy – https://www.classy.org/blog/gen-z-next-generation-donors/

There has been so much talk about Millennials lately that many have forgotten the next Generation right around the corner – Generation Z.

Generation Z are those born in 1995 or after (some say it’s more like 1996, depending on who you ask).  Some of them are teenagers, while others are in their early 20’s and are in or starting college. Either way, they are starting to shape their own food future.

This generation, even more so then millennials wants to make a difference in the world – especially their food world.

  • 60% want their work to make a difference in the world
  • 76% are worried about the planet
  • 75% of this generation consider themselves foodies

It’s no surprise as many of them are children of parents that were born in the 60’s or 70’s – the decades that started the food revolution. You know, the generation lost in space!

So what do we have to look forward to with this next generation of food enthusiasts?

Sustainable Food

#1. They care deeply about sustainability

  • Gen z’ers are a very environmentally and socially conscious generation
  • They want to know the story of their food from farm to table
  • Gen z’ers want an abundance of sustainable food that has a positive impact on people  and the planet

Heart shaped fruit

#2. They want health supporting foods

  • Gen z’ers love to snack but want healthy snack options
  • They prefer to snack on the go vs. sitting down for a meal
  • Gen z’ers have learned how to set healthy eating habits in school and at home
  • They know that whole, unprocessed foods are the more nutritious choice

They are also interested in boosting energy throughout the day – so energy drinks are on the rise!

Food acceptance

#3. They accept new foods easily

  • Gen z’ers are more likely to have been exposed to new and different foods early in life and are willing to try new ones
  • They have been exposed to foods from all over the world and enjoy them!
  • Gen z’ers are willing to at least try unusual flavors and ingredients

Teen purchasing

#4. They are starting to purchase their own food

  • Gen z’ers want foods that taste good, contain quality ingredients and are a good price
  • They care more about small, local foods vs. the big name brands
  • Gen z’ers buy from companies that share their values
  • They are willing to pay for foods that support the environment and support food companies with a social mission

MCHS Fresh Salsa Fiesta #2

#5. They love to cook!

  • Gen z’ers love to express themselves through the meals they make
  • They like to make their own creations and often do not follow a recipe
  • Gen z’ers may take pictures of their creation and share on social media
  • They generally learned how to cook at an early age

Cooking is very empowering to them!

So… any of you that educate students; you know teachers, parents community members, have this unique opportunity to help shape the food habits of this young, amazingly socially conscious generation.  You can have a conversation with them about sustainable foods or explain the benefits of choosing more whole, nutritious foods. You can bring this information to life by taking them on a tour of a farm or community garden, introducing them to more fresh and local food manufacturers or just helping them learn how to cook – a skill that lasts a lifetime!

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2018 Food and Nutrition Trends Clean Meat

Now here’s a very interesting food trend – Clean meat.  When we saw this, we thought – we have to find out more! CM is made from the cells of animals, eliminates the need for animal slaughter and supposedly tastes like the “real” thing.

How are they made? They take a tiny bit of muscle fiber from an animal, isolate the cells that are the precursor to skeletal muscle and start culturing them in a lab. The cells keep dividing and growing until you have an actual muscle that is “meat” ready to eat.

What products are being tested right now? So far, they have made ground meat, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and hamburgers.

Why are they doing this? The speculation is that these foods will be better for the environment, reduce animal suffering, eliminate antibiotic use and can be mass-produced.

Companies that have already jumped on the bandwagon: Hampton Creek, the makers of “Just Mayo” (the vegan mayo), have said they will have a product to market by 2018 while MosaMeat, a ground out of the Netherlands predicts they will have something to market by 2021.

“An inspirational look into a future where the cellular agricultural revolution helps lower rates of foodborne illness, greatly improves environmental sustainability, and allows us to continue to enjoy the food we love.”

 Kathleen Sebelius – former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services

Source: https://cleanmeat.com/praise/

We’d love to hear what you think about this new trend.  Feel free to share you thoughts below or on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AnOunceofNutrition/.

Fermented Vegetables

 

In sticking with our theme of gut microbe trends, I thought I would highlight a couple of probiotic powerhouses. One of the best – “fermented” vegetables.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It is high in fiber and provides a good source of iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It is also considered a “cruciferous” vegetable, which have been shown to lower your risk of cancer.

Kimchi is also made from fermented cabbage. It also includes radishes, scallions and cucumbers and seasonings.  Kimchi is an excellent source of Vitamin K (64% of the daily recommended amount in a cup), iron (25% of the daily rec amt) and folate.  It also provides Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and zinc. And since it’s a cabbage, it is also a “cruciferous” vegetable.

Pickled cucumbers, beets, onions, carrots, etc. – You get many of the vegetable benefits from these including Vitamins A and C. Plus, they have been shown to lower blood sugar, are excellent sources of anti-oxidants, help relieve muscle cramps and may treat restless leg syndrome. Just make sure it is the live, raw, fermented kind to help keep sodium levels low.

One final note:

The Vitamin C in cabbage becomes more bioavailable (more able to be digested and absorbed) when it’s fermented to become sauerkraut and kimchi. The process also creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics such as Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus that improve digestion and gut health.

Sugar is Sugar is Sugar – Really?

I’ve had many people tell me that they avoid fruit because of its sugar content.  But is it really the same as other sugars?

Basics: When sugar is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, it causes the sugar levels in your blood to rise.  Your pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin to bring your sugar levels back down to normal, by pushing sugar into your cells. Your cells then release sugar in the form of energy to keep you going throughout the day. Sounds good, right?

But not all sugars have the same impact on your blood sugar levels.  Here’s the difference:

White table sugar or sugar is a highly processed, highly refined sugar.  It enters your blood stream rapidly and causes a significant spike in your blood sugar levels.  Large amounts of insulin are released from your pancreas to bring your sugar levels back down to normal, but sometimes it pushes them too low.  This results in what is known as the “sugar crash.” Headaches, feeling tired, lack of energy, inability to concentrate and craving more sugar may be the result.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is also an extremely refined, highly processed sugar – processed with sulfuric acid (think battery acid!). Because of their molecular structure, they are absorbed even more rapidly in the blood stream than sugar.  And they go straight to our liver where a bunch of chemical reactions turn them into fat. Over time, these fats build up in our liver and can result in a condition known as “non-alcoholic” fatty liver.  This condition may result in liver swelling or scarring (cirrhosis) and may even contribute to liver cancer or failure.

Fruit on the other hand is “sugar from nature.” It is absorbed much slower because of what it is packaged in.  Fruit is high in fiber!  Fiber slows the breakdown of sugar into our blood-stream.  This causes a slow rise in blood sugar and a small amount of insulin to be released from our pancreas.  This means that you have less blood sugar spikes and lows. A steady amount of blood sugar release gives you just enough to keep you alert and provides energy throughout the day. Fruit is generally high in water – so naturally low in calories and keeps you fuller longer. Plus fruit is generally loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin C!

The bottom line, fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth without impacting your blood sugar levels, along with providing many other health benefits.  Sugar and HFCS – not so much.

Food for Thought: I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing the “sugar-crash” after they ate a piece of fruit! Have you?

Tune in for more discussions on sugar types in future posts……

Photo: Courtesy of “That Sugar Film”

Local Produce is Here!

I’m like a kid in a candy store in the summer.  There are SO many farmers markets to visit, and it gives me the opportunity to sample some unusual fruits and veggies that I may not have tried before.  Plus I always learn something new.  For example, last weekend I learned that palisade Bing and rainier cherries grown in Colorado are only in season for a few weeks (end of June – 1st week of July), so we have a small window of time to purchase them locally.

July – October is the height of the growing season in Colorado and so local fruits and veggies are in abundance.  Strawberries and lettuce are the earliest crops (in-season starting in June). This month we’ll start to see more tomatoes (to me they are the sweetest in July!) and some sweet corn.  Some farmers sell peppers now, but they are baby sizes.  The real sweet and hot peppers aren’t in season until August.

Why local produce? First of all you can meet the farmer that grows your food or even visit their farm.  A lot of local produce is grown organically – even if it’s not certified organic – which means no pesticides. It doesn’t travel very far from the farm to your table, so to me it tastes fresher.  Generally, it’s sold at neighborhood farmers markets, which is a way to bring the community together. And lastly it’s good for the local economy.

So what do you do with all of this amazing produce grown locally?

Why grill them, of course.  You may have heard that grilling meat releases chemicals called HCA’s that have been shown to cause cancer.  Fruits and vegetables do not release these chemicals and actually supply cancer-fighting nutrients instead.

Spring Onions: Two of my favorite grillers are spring onions and garlic scapes.  Spring onions look like scallions but have large bulbs at the top.  They are the beginning of a regular onion, but are harvested before they develop into a large, round mature onion. They are called spring onions, because they are planted in the fall and harvested the next spring. They have a highly-flavored, sweet taste that makes them perfect on the grill.  To eat, cut the top off and if desired the bottom green stem.  Slice like you would a tomato into thick pieces and grill with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  Spring onions are extremely high in Vitamin C and A and a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium and iron.  They also contain a small amount of protein.

Garlic Scapes: Have you ever seen a garlic bulb attached to a long, green, scallion-looking stem?  Well these are called garlic scapes.  They are harvested in late spring and you can generally find them throughout the summer. The garlic bulb attached to these scapes has a milder flavor and doesn’t seem to cause as many digestive issues as regular garlic.  The stems are great grilled and have a light garlic flavor.  Please note: The garlic bulb has a fibrous outer coating that needs to be removed first before grilling.  Grill as a bulb or separate the cloves and grill them individually.

Since there are many, many, many more in-season fruits and vegetables to write about, there will be more to come soon!