We love reading all the food trend articles that proliferate as the old year turns into the new, so we’re using this week’s blog to highlight what various sources are saying about whole grain trends for 2016.

Local Grains. A report from SPINS caught our attention right out of the gate.  They’re highlighting the role of whole grains in sustainable, local, farm-to-table cooking – and the importance of paying attention to overall food systems. SPINS says we should look for crops like millet, rye, and barley – traditionally used as cover crops then sold cheaply as animal feed – to show up on restaurant menus more often. 

It always strikes us as the height of irony that we grow great whole grains in this country, then feed them to animals straight off. Or, we refine them and feed the best parts (bran and germ) to the animals while we eat the nutritionally-reduced white flour. I’m all for treating animals well, but let’s reclaim more of those whole grains for our own plates! 

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Pass the Porridge. Two sources, Foodservice Director magazine and The Sterling Group, named porridge as a top trend for 2016. The Sterling Group cited porridges made of rye, spelt, black rice, and quinoa, with a wide range of unusual savory toppings – way beyond a simple bowl of oatmeal. (That’s a millet porridge with pumpkin and nuts, above.) Foodservice Director called the trend “Haute Porridge,” mentioning how soupy whole grains are showing up throughout the day, not just at breakfast. Check out Kelly’s blog last week for some great porridge inspiration.

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Globowls. Ah, two of our favorite things – whole grains and traditional diets – come together in this trend, highlighted by The Daily Meal. What’s a globowl? According to Chef Mareya Ibrahim, it’s a one dish meal that starts with “options such as farro, kamut, millet or noodles” that are then “layered with Southeast Asian, Mediterranean and regional American-influenced proteins and a variety of sauces and toppings.”

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Sprouted Grains, Ancient Grains. Which specific grains get named as tops for 2016? Today’s Dietitian and Wiley Nutrition Bites foresee sprouted grains as growing in popularity, while Whole Foods looks to gluten free flours (like teff flour), SHAPE champions ancient grains, and am NY talks of alternative pastas and udon (Japanese buckwheat noodles). In its annual trend report, the National Restaurant Association named black rice, farro and ancient grains among chefs’ top choices for 2016.

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Bread Glorious Bread. Yahoo! Food says “bread is about to get a big revival as authentic, ancient grain-containing loaves are suddenly in style again… as bread is made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients.” Artisanal bread, made with care from heirloom grains… perhaps incorporating sprouted flour, sourdough cultures and other flavor- and health-enhancers… that’s the staff of life that mankind has lived on for centuries. Welcome back.

The Carb Comeback. In the UK, the Telegraph cites an overall carb comeback, as “we get smart on carbs and learn to distinguish the types that provide nutrients and lasting energy and those that make us fat.” All hail the emergence of carb common sense as a continuing trend, this year and forever! Oldways believes that the true key to eating well lies not in specific superfoods or nutrients, but in choosing the widest possible diversity of foods, with an emphasis in quality among all of them. (Cynthia)

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