SO, HOW was your Christmas? Did you enjoy turkey and all the trimmings? Henry VIII is reputedly the first monarch to eat turkey for Christmas dinner but the trend didn’t really take hold until much later on in the 20th century. Before then, goose was our favoured bird, and in the Middle Ages, peacocks and boars’ heads were the dish of the day!

Each year nutrition industry gurus release their predictions for what will be the new food and nutrition trends in the New Year. Just as turkey started out as a popular trend before establishing itself as our national Christmas meal, over the years many other foods have started out as a new fashion and gone on to become firm favourites.

Let’s take a look at what’s in vogue for 2015...

Old grains: According to the annual What’s trending in Nutrition? survey from Pollock Communications, ancient grains like amaranth, quinoa, spelt and freekah will be gracing our plates next year. Freekah is a new one for me; it’s a type of Middle Eastern wheat which is picked whilst still green and unripe then roasted to give it a delicious smoky flavour. In Turkish cooking it is used to make pilaf and Palestinian chefs simmer it with chicken stock to make a tasty soup.

Spelt is a type of wheat grown by the Romans and has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Its subtle nutty flavour makes it a great alternative to rice for risottos and it is often well tolerated by people with food sensitivities to modern wheat because it hasn’t been genetically altered or cross bred over the years.

Seeds and nuts: Nuts and seeds have been maligned for many years because of their high fat content. During the low-fat food craze of the 1970s and 1980s, they were seen as only suitable for occasional indulgence yet their fats are of the beneficial polyunsaturated type we now know to be good for heart health, mental wellbeing and weight balance. Packed with fibre and minerals, nuts and seeds are a vital addition to any healthy eating plan, particularly for vegetarians and vegans as they offer a good source of protein too.

Coconut products: Coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, coconut cream – these foods are ideal for dairy-free and low-cholesterol diets. The oil is chemically stable at high temperatures making it perfect for stir-frys and roasting and many varieties have no coconut aftertaste so you won’t notice the difference to your normal cooking oil! New research is investigating the memory enhancing benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s sufferers and initial results are very positive.

More snack foods: According to the nutrition survey, formal dining is on the decline and consumers are increasingly interested in snacks and convenience foods. Unfortunately these are generally overpriced and low in nutrients so it’s best to make your own versions with homemade fruit smoothies (add ground nuts and seeds for extra protein); bean dips, houmous or dried fruit truffles.

Sally is a York-based nutritional therapist who enjoys helping people make positive changes to their health and wellbeing with foods, supplements and lifestyle changes.