Jan. 20. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

With a new year comes new beginnings, fresh starts, new habits, and new goals. Also, comes new food trends so today I’m going to share some trendy “new” items you can check out this year plus some of my essentials that deserve a little PR and recognition even if they’re not “new” to you. So, read on to learn 10 foods every kitchen should have in 2016.

Stock it

Prepping meals is key to staying on track with healthy eating, creating more space doing what you love to do, detoxing your decision making when it comes to meal planning, AND it all starts with a fully stocked kitchen. I could go on and on about the specifics of what to stock your kitchen and home with in order to be 100% prepared, but I’ll leave that to the NS Society and today we’re chatting all about the top foods for 2016!

No. 01

Medicinal mushrooms: I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I truly believe medicinal mushrooms have so much nutrition and health benefits waiting to be further unlocked. Check out more about them here.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Ultimate Tonic, Far Out Fudge, Raw Assorted Chocolates, Coffee Elevated, Mood Boost Cocoa Smoothie.

No. 02

Cacao nibs: These little brownish-black crunchy gems are one of my favorite things to pop in my mouth when I’m craving sweets- and no, it’s not because they’re sweet it’s because they’re incredible mineral rich and contain a small amount of natural occurring caffeine which can help stunt that sweet craving. If you’re curious about cacao nibs health benefits and nutrition, check out this post all about my favorite thing in the world…chocolate.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes (where do I begin?!): 4-Ingredient Chili-Cocoa Truffles, Cocoa Covered Kale Chips, Skillet Chocolate Cornmeal Cake, and Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse.

No. 03

Coconut milk: I routinely talk about coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut water, and all things coconut! Coconut contains high amounts of medium chain triglycerides which are a healthy saturated fat that we all should be consuming more of. MCT’s are digested unlike “normal” or LCT that we’re used to such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, etc. MCT’s are quickly used by our bodies for energy AND coconut milk specifically is a great non-dairy alternative to milk when you want to thicken a smoothie, a dessert, etc.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Creamy Green Ginger Smoothie, Simply Coconut Milk Ice Cream, Coconut Whipped Cream, and savory in Thai Green Curry with Coconut Rice.

No. 04

Spirulina: One of my all time favorites! Spirulina is a blue-green algae and is incredibly rich in protein (almost 60-70% protein by dry weight- what that means for you is about 8g of protein every 2 tablespoons). I use spirulina weekly if not daily in smoothies or raw dessert recipes listed below. Try adding in this funky green food and you’re body will thank you with the extra minerals, nutrients, and protein!

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Spirulina Energy Globes, Tropical Green Smoothie, Blue Morning Smoothie Bowl.

No. 05

Turmeric: I’m so predictable with this one, right guys? Geez, I talk about turmeric non-stop and I have a hunch that if you’ve been reading along your kitchen already has turmeric BUT on the rare chance that some of you don’t have turmeric your kitchen yet, now’s the time! Turmeric can be used and beneficial for almost everyone- it’s high in antioxidants and helps our bodies fight inflammation, something we all experience no matter if we’re “doing all the things” right.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Turmeric Milk (the most popular and shared recipe on NS), Golden Savory Cake, Curry Cauliflower Cashew Soup, Simple Spinach and Butternut Squash Daal….and about 10209304 other recipes on NS.

No. 06

Nori sheets and seaweed: Seaweeds are essential in my kitchen and I hope they can become that for you as well. Hear me out, I know eating seaweed might sound weird or only reserved for eating sushi but I promise there are so many delicious applications for seaweed. So much so that I have a REALLY unique dessert recipe in the NS cookbook coming out in the fall (can’t wait to share that one with you). They’re high in minerals, especially thyroid which is helpful at keeping our thyroid healthy and metabolism revved up. I’ll touch base on this later, because there are of course some special considerations for people who have thyroid issues + iodine.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Veggie Sushi Rolls, can be used inside of the Epic Thai Spring Rolls, Sushi Deconstructed Bowl, and I love sprinkling Kelp Flakes on top of sliced cucumbers or raw veggies for extra iodine and a boost of minerals (hello, happy thyroid).

No. 07

Kelp noodles: Okay, these actually need to be refrigerated but they’re one of my favorite foods I’ve been playing around with this past year and more recently in a delicious thai spring roll. These are great for those of you watching your carb intake or for people like me who just LOVE huge portions of pasta and noodles, but definitely don’t want to send my blood sugars all over the place with that amount of carbohydrate and still feel full afterwards. Kelp noodles zero everything but fiber and iodine, trace minerals, and calcium.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Epic Thai Spring Rolls, served with this Thai Green Curry, simple Peanut Sauce, even marinara sauce!

No. 08

Sprouted grains: Sprouting our grains, legumes, even nuts and seeds are great ways to increase the nutrition of said food and it’s fun to change the texture with them. Try this guide on soaking and sprouting your own grains or you can now purchase them in the store and then cook!

No. 09

Kimchi or fermented foods in general: One reason and one reason only. Gut health. Okay, and maybe flavor, it tastes really good. When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Sushi Deconstructed Bowl, my favorite way is to eat it straight out of the jar or top on a big ole’ salad or Nourish Bowl.

No. 10

Sweet potatoes: You might think sweet potatoes are just, well, potatoes and they are but they’re also far more than that. They’re a great starch and you can add them to so many recipes for added vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and a great carbohydrate.

When you stock this in your pantry, try these recipes: Sweet Potato and Greens Bowl, Flourless Blackberry Chocolate Cake, Cinnamon Sweet Potato Truffles

Your turn.

What are some foods that you can’t live without in 2016? I’d love to hear your food trends and kitchen staples this year.

Fully stock your kitchen like a pro! Be sure to sign up for the NS Society where we talk all things wellness, healthy meal plans, recipes, videos, galore– all aimed at helping you build a foundation of you

xx McKel

Photography @kelseycherry