The food trends in 2020 directly reflected the shift in food consumption as a result of COVID-19. As more families stayed home to protect themselves and their communities, there was a sharp increase in home cooking and consuming foods that promoted health. As a nurse and a mom, it was imperative to me to do all I could to help boost my family’s immunity, and keep each of us healthy while we learned more about the virus.
The 2020 food trends emphasized comfort foods and an emerging interest in foods that do double duty—like taste tremendous and boost health. Activities like baking increased, as did recreating restaurant favorites at home (here is my favorite cookbook on that topic!). More people began trying a wider variety of healthy fruits and vegetables to access their wide range of health benefits. One of the star foods emerging in 2020 was mushrooms!
One of the Top Five 2021 Food Trends is Mushrooms
One of the 2021 food trends includes a renewed interest in mushrooms as a primary ingredient in home cooking. The health benefits of mushrooms have been recognized since ancient times. Some cultures still use mushrooms regularly as a form of medicine. Here in the states, we tend to focus on mushrooms as a great addition to meals, and almost forget their health benefits.
Mushrooms are a powerhouse of nutrients and offer a surprising number of health benefits. They are filling and offer a comforting umami taste and are currently in the top three most purchased items in the produce section. Though many consider them a vegetable, they are technically a fungus with over 10,000 known types to date.
Check Out the Incredible Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, and cholesterol-free. The nutritional benefits of mushrooms vary depending on the type, but overall, there are consistent and excellent health benefits in each variety.
Copper – Copper is essential for making red blood cells that help oxygenate the blood. Copper also helps maintain healthy bones and nerves.
Potassium – Potassium is essential for heart health, muscle, and nerve function.
Selenium – Selenium is a trace mineral that comes from food because our bodies can’t produce it. Mushrooms are one of the best sources of selenium. Our bodies use selenium to make antioxidant enzymes that prevent cell damage, heart disease, and cancer.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps build strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium.
Vitamin B6 – Vitamin b6 helps convert food into useable energy, plus it helps build neurotransmitters, red blood cells, and DNA.
Incorporate Mushrooms into Your Kids’ Diet
With all the health benefits of mushrooms, they are an important food trend in 2021 to check out. Aside from their health benefits, they taste delicious. Our tongues have five different taste experiences when we eat. Foods tend to be:
Umami is the Japanese term used to describe the savory taste, which is generally characterized by meats, broths, and gravies. Mushrooms often play a vital role in these types of foods because they have an amino acid called glutamate (a natural flavor enhancer). Mushrooms complement a variety of dishes, or they can stand alone as a primary part of a meal, especially in vegan or vegetarian diets.
Kids may warm up to mushrooms right away, or they may need to be introduced to mushrooms in creative ways. If your child loves savory dishes, they may adopt mushrooms into their diet quickly. Some children are more sensitive to texture may still enjoy the taste of mushrooms, but they may need to be integrated in imaginative (read: sneaky) ways. *wink*
Mushrooms come in a variety of tastes and textures. Some are mild, while others are more intense. You can easily choose the right mushroom variety for your child’s taste.
Here are 5 Fun Ways to Incorporate Mushrooms Into your Kids’ Diet in 2021
- Mushrooms are a grab-n-go snack – Add fresh raw mushrooms to a vegetable platter with dip or slice on top of salads for a nutritious snack.
- Make mushrooms the main event – Mushrooms are the star of the show in my creamy and comforting mushroom wild rice recipe. It’s a beautiful main dish or can be served alongside protein and vegetables. My kids love our Minnesota favorite Cream of Mushroom Soup!
- Use as a healthy pizza topping – Kids love pizza, and it’s easier than ever to make healthy pizza at home. Let kids make their own pizza using a variety of vegetables, including mushrooms. Try making fun individual-sized cauliflower crust pizzas, or use my gluten-free pizza crust recipe.
- Add mushrooms to pasta – We love pasta at home, and mushrooms are a perfect umami addition to my bacon and mushroom keto alfredo. You can also add mushrooms to traditional marinara or other pasta sauces to serve over their favorite noodles.
- Blend into soups and sauces – If your kid is touchy about eating mushrooms, you can easily puree them and add them to soups and sauces, which helps them thicken and increases their savory flavor. The easiest way to do this is to add mushrooms that are already in powder form! I drink mushroom elixirs regularly and also add them to recipes to add the health benefits of mushrooms into our meals. Bonus: these powders do not lend a flavor to the foods.
There are plenty of ways to get kids excited about eating mushrooms. If they resist the first time you try, keep at it. Having a positive attitude and offering them in a variety of ways helps. Make sure to let your kids see you enjoying mushrooms and sing their praises to boost their curiosity. If they refuse them, don’t worry; their tastes change as they get older, and they may embrace mushrooms down the line.
You can also look for some of the 2021 food trends that use mushrooms—undetectable by picky eaters. Choose condiments, spices, and seasonings that use mushrooms as a key ingredient, and you can get the benefits into their meals without any fuss. Buy mushrooms in powder form and sneak them into recipes!
The popularity of mushrooms is on the rise, and what a great thing since they offer so many health benefits. Introducing kids to mushrooms is pretty easy with so many ways to prepare and use them. Find the recipes and meals that they love, and you’ll be adding mushrooms to your grocery list regularly.
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