At the Specialty Food Show last month in Edison, N.J. I was able to see the newest and most innovative natural and organic options that the food industry has to offer. Below, are four of my personal favorite healthy food trends.

Hemp and plant-based proteins

As consumers move away from animal sourced proteins, alternative sources are jumping to the forefront of the food industry. Hempseed protein is one of the newest players. Hemp is rich in protein, fiber, and cholesterol lowering Omega-3 fatty acids. I personally enjoy Manitoba's Hemp Hearts, which makes flavorless protein seeds that you can add to anything — think: smoothies, oatmeal, soups, salads, cereal, etc.


Yes, you read that right. And I'm not talking about that lollipop encasing an insect that you daringly once tried when you were a kid. Crickets are considered another alternative source of complete protein. They are also less impactful to the environment, and a cost-friendly choice for both consumers and manufacturers. Crickets have been incorporated into protein bars, protein powders, baking flours, chips, granola, and for the brave hearted, whole cricket snacks!


This trend, which sparked a few years ago, is still going strong. I personally recommend probiotics to all of my clients. Probiotics can be found in foods such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, kimchi, natto, and even chips and popcorn. When hunting for healthy probiotics, always look for "live and active cultures" on the package. Or better yet, check to see if the package has the exact probiotic listed, such as "lactobacillus acidophilus".


Pinole, an ancient grain once utilized by the Aztecs, is the newest fueling carbohydrate. It is slow roasted maize combined with cacao beans, cinnamon, and allspice. Pinole provides roughly 7 grams of protein, 7-8 grams of fiber, and 38 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The grain has gained a following with runners who use it to fuel their long-distance endeavors. My favorite brand is Native State Food's Purely Pinole. Try my this pudding recipe to incorporate the grain into your diet:

Pinole Chia Pudding

Purple Layer:

  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Blueberry + Banana Purely Pinole
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Yellow Layer

  • ½ banana
  • ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds


  • For the purple layer, blend blueberries, milk, pinole, and cinnamon until liquid. Then stir in chia seeds.
  • For the yellow layer, blend banana, milk, tahini, cinnamon, and honey until creamy. Then stir in chia seeds.
  • Refrigerate both layers for a minimum of 45 minutes.
  • Layer pinole and banana chia mixes.
  • Top with coconut, almonds, and fresh blueberries. Enjoy!

Elise Deming is a registered Retail Dietitian Nutritionist in N.J. For more nutrition tips and recipes, visit her Instagram account @eat.with.elise.