and everyone anxiously awaiting to announce their “New Year’s Resolutions,” we’d like to FIRST encourage you to take a moment and reflect on the accomplishments you’ve made this past year --
and celebrate every single one of them!
We have seen more progress this year than ever in SO MANY people transforming their lives and getting outside of their comfort zones...where the magic happens!
Here are just a few examples we have seen over the last 12 months:
Fruits and vegetables living together! At least once a month, we have heard someone say they don't eat fruits and vegetables together. "I will eat fruits (well...some fruits) and I will eat vegetables (well...some vegetables), but putting them together just seems wrong." Then we watch them get outside of their comfort zone and try something like the Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza or the Christmas Quinoa Salad.
One of my favorite stories from this year was from the farmers' market where a sweet couple attended one of our cooking demos. The husband humbly raised his hand and shared that he was so skeptical when we were preparing the Sweet Surprise Corn Salad. He said he was one of those people who thought fruits and vegetables should not be living together in the same dish. He reluctantly tried the sample and said he was shocked that he loved it. Then, a couple months later, we were doing another demo and we served up the Pear & Butternut Squash Salad. He now had more of an open mind, but still sat there shaking his head saying, "Krista, you did it again! You put fruits and vegetables together and it is delicious!"
Savory Sweet Potatoes! This year was no exception in hearing people say, "I don't like sweet potatoes." It's probably not a surprise by now - my response is always, "Have you had them other than at Thanksgiving with marshmallows and brown sugar?" It was so exciting to see people take the leap and try sweet potatoes in new ways - especially in savory dishes - even though they thought they didn't like them.
One of the favorite things someone said to me this year was "You got me to like sweet potatoes." How was this possible? It was thanks to dishes like the Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and the Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soup and the Loaded Mexican Sweet Potato Fries! If you or someone you know thinks they don't like sweet potatoes, give them another try!
Breaking Up with Keto! Several people asked for advice this year on transitioning from the Keto diet. They said they just didn't feel like it was sustainable, and they were concerned about the long-term effects of this high fat, low carb eating plan.
Congratulations to all of you who have made the transition from Keto the wider variety of REAL food that provide so many nutritional benefits!
Tropical Delights! What do coconuts and dates have in common? They are both foods that SO MANY people say they don't like. That was us too - these were both on the list of foods we thought we didn't like before our REAL food journey. This year, we heard so many people saying, "Maybe I do like coconut" after trying dishes like the Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal, the Chocolate Chia Energy Bites and the Harvest Pumpkin Bars.
Look for dates to become increasingly prevalent in 2023, including date syrup, paste and sugar showing up as an ingredient in more and more foods. And raw dates are delicious all by themselves, salads, overnight oats, desserts and more!
Beating Inflation! It's no secret that food prices are WAY up versus this time last year. We are so impressed with the strategies you all have used to beat inflation! We hear all kinds of stories about how you have taken advantage of in-season foods, stocked up on discounted and sale items, repurposed your leftovers (or should we say planned-overs) and made your own dressings! And, of course, cooking at home will always be cheaper than eating out. This study found that, on average, it is 5 times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than to cook at home.
2023 Food Trends!
For those of you looking forward to 2023, you will see all kinds of food trends showing up in your newsfeeds and on social media. Here are just a few examples:
Butter boards. We're not quite sure where this trend started (maybe TikTok?). If you haven't seen it, the idea is to spread softened butter on a cutting board, and then decorate it with a variety of toppings (things like sausage, smoked salmon, nuts, seeds, fruit, radishes, jams or honey). Then, serve it up with crackers or toasted bread (something to transport the butter and toppings from the platter to your mouth). Some of these creations are absolutely beautiful, while others just look like an excuse to eat a bunch of butter!
We are actually intrigued by the concept and have some ideas how to "healthify" these boards. Stay tuned for some ideas from the Eat REAL kitchen in 2023!
Mash-ups. Think of two distinct cuisines coming together. Maybe something like how Japanese and American cuisines come together in the Spicy Tuna Roll Burgers! Or the Korean flavors in the incredibly good Bulgogi Pizza!
What mash-ups would you like to see? What about Cheeseburger Spring Rolls? Or maybe a Sushi or Crab Rangoon Pizza? Or maybe a PB&J Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Don't be shy - no idea is too crazy!
Recreate your favorite meals at home. Since eating out has gotten so expensive, wouldn't it be great to recreate your favorite meals at home? We did a coaching tip on this in October and just had someone tell us how much better the Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup is compared to the Olive Garden version. Of course, it is healthier too! If you want help recreating a meal at home, let us know. Eat REAL America member requests were the inspiration behind meals like the Butternut Squash Lasagna and the Lemony Chia Seed Pudding and the REAL Rice Krispie Treats!
We wish you a wonderful transition to 2023!
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?