Every year when I attend the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, I wonder beforehand what the trends will be for this annual huge foodie event – usually it’s pretty obvious to me, but there have been some surprises in the past. So what were the trends in 2017? I would say coconut (there was some form of it in just about everything) and bone broth.
After taste-testing so many different products, it’s difficult to narrow down my favorites to just a handful. Note that I not only consider the taste of them, but I also consider how healthy the product is, the simplicity of preparing it, and how readily available it is for the public to purchase.
So what made my list in 2017?
Grainful meal kits
I absolutely loved the new Tuscan Bean variety that Grainful introduced at Expo West! Unfortunately, it’s not available for purchase yet, but their other meal kits taste great as well and are just as easy to prepare! The meal kits can be prepared on the stove, in a crockpot, or in a rice cooker – you only need to add water. The Tuscan Bean variety contains whole grain steel cut oats with red beans, tomatoes, and spices. Of course, you can add meat, seafood, and veggies if you choose to add even more taste. Regardless of how you serve it, these meal kits are perfect for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. The meal kits are 100% all natural with no artificial colors or flavors, and are gluten-free and non-GMO.
When I made this at home, I topped it with cheese and added fresh arugula and chives from my garden – it taste so good!
GF Harvest GoPack Oatmeal
I sampled the Sweet Cinnamon & Golden Raisins variety at Expo West. So what did I love about this product? The clever packaging – you don’t need a bowl to prepare it because the package converts into a bowl. All you have to do is just it open the package, pop it up, and add hot water. How easy and convenient is that? Each package contains a single-serving. These GoPacks are perfect for work, camping, and traveling. They are also gluten-free and non-GMO.
I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa
This toasted quinoa is a great hot cereal alternative for those on a gluten-free diet. The only ingredient is toasted quinoa flakes. All you need to do to prepare it is add some hot water, and some cinnamon for added taste if you choose. This product is also organic and non-GMO.
Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits & Dips
I actually met Cool Foods at Expo West a couple of years ago and love this product because I think it is so versatile. This alternative to bacon bits is made with pinto beans (there is no bacon in these veggie bacon bits). I use it on salads, potatoes, and pasta (I love it on pasta with some olive oil and fresh veggies). These veggie bacon bits can also be used to make dip – all you need to do is add boiling water and then let it cool. They are also gluten-free and non-GMO.
Ginnybakes chocolate chip mini cookies
These chocolate chip cookies have so much going for them – besides tasting great, they are organic, certified kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO. I also love that Ginnybakes has a foundation – the foundation teaches free baking and cooking classes to individuals and families in schools and community centers who may not have easy access to healthy nutrition information.
Back to the Roots Ready to Grow kits
No, this isn’t a food product (they have everything at Expo West)! Back to the Roots Ready to Grow kits are a simple way to grow organic herbs inside your home. The Garden in a Can kits come with everything you need to start your indoor garden: organic seeds, nutrient-rich soil, and the cans. All you have to do is plant and water. There are kits available for growing basil, cilantro, dill, and sage. How does it work? According to the Back to the Roots web site, it uses biochar technology, which is “the charred remnants of organic agricultural waste (pyrolysis) – a technique mastered by Amazonian tribes centuries ago. Its highly moisture retentive capacity helps avoid over-watering issues, aerates the soil for quick root growth, and increases nutrient absorption and microbial activity in the soil.”
I look forward to seeing everyone at Expo West 2018!