What’s on this year’s menu? Plenty of plants. Eco-conscious eating is in. And to no surprise, this wellness habit is having more than a moment. It’s a movement—weathering the test of time. For all the best reasons, plant-based eating continues to command center stage. And 2024 is no exception. With that in mind, it’s time to discover (and savor!) a variety of delicious plant-based foods. From nutrient-dense powerhouses to culinary innovations, consider this your one-and-only veggie guide. Meatless dining never tasted so good.
Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.
A Plant-Forward Future
At the end of December, we shared our 2024 wellness forecast. And if one thing’s for certain, it’s this: trending food predictions are plant-forward. In fact, the Mediterranean diet holds the No. 1 Best Diet Overall—a lifestyle that champions fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, herbs, and spices. (Ahem, plants!) Sustainable, plant-based cooking is the future. Speaking of, as longevity goals increase, produce-forward diets will follow suit. This shift is twofold. It recognizes the importance of ethical food choices and the nutritional density of plants. A compassionate approach to nourishment is here to stay.
Is veganism worth the hype?
IYKYK—the landscape of nutrition is vast. Unfortunately, it’s filled with misinformation and inaccurate health claims. So if you’re confused about what to put on your plate, you’re not alone. Ultimately, the goal is to take the stress out of eating. Food is joy, after all!
The aim is to cultivate a feel-good, gut-friendly, and balanced approach to food. For some, that means prioritizing a vegan diet. With its health benefits and positive impact on the environment, veganism is soaring. And while this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, there’s no doubt that plants are paramount.
Can you get all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet?
Yes! Adopting a plant-based or vegan diet can provide all the essential nutrients required for optimal health. That said, it often necessitates careful planning and a mindful approach. Plant-based diets— rich in colorful produce, nuts, legumes, etc.—provide everything from ample protein to energizing carbs and immune-supporting antioxidants. However, certain nutrients (those abundantly found in animal products), may require special attention. Think: vitamin B12. Fortunately, that’s where fortified foods and supplements shine. With intentionality in mind, a diverse, plant-based diet can easily provide all necessary nutrients.
Consider consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to design a balanced, plant-based diet to meet your nutritional requirements.
More Protein, Less Meat
Across the board, we’re becoming savvier grocery shoppers—particularly when it comes to protein. Hooray! We’re inching further away from the disguises of a faux burger (with a laundry list of ingredients) and moving toward simple, non-meat protein sources. And this Whole Food Markets’ 2024 Trend Report proves it. As the year unfolds, we’ll be stocking up on protein sources made from whole foods (edamame, beans, walnuts, mushrooms, seeds, buckwheat, sprouted grains, etc.) to meet our muscle-building goals. Sayonara, complex meat alternatives.
Vegan Seafood is Making Waves
Carrots as lox? Trumpet mushrooms as scallops? Root veggies (konjac) in sushi rolls and poke bowls? You betcha. What started as a subtle dip in the plant-based seafood pond is becoming a head-first submergence. In response to the tinned fish trend, vegan food brands are making their own versions of salty, seafood-esque snacks. We’re jazzed about Mind Blown’s new sea scallops, Seed to Surf’s tinned snow crab, and Konscious sushi rolls. And if you’re ready for watermelon nigiri, book a table at everyone’s favorite plant-based restaurant, Planta.
Fuel Your Gut with Plants
We’ve only explored the tip of the gut health iceberg, but there’s no denying its influence. And it’s no secret that a diverse gut microbiome has benefits beyond digestive health. Think: cognitive function, hormones, mood, sleep quality, and more. With digestion a priority, pre- and probiotics will be rising stars in 2024. And where can you get them? Plants. From kimchi and sauerkraut to tempeh, miso, and pickled veggies, probiotics are a dime a dozen. Fiber-rich prebiotics (food for probiotics) are even more accessible—bananas, blueberries, spinach, onions, artichokes, and oatmeal. Plant-based eating does the gut good.
Quiet Luxury: Food Edition
The “quiet luxury” trend has its hands in the fashion industry, but it’s only a matter of time before the food world gets a bite. What will this look like? Consumers will splurge on the little things: high-quality olives, locally made vegan cheeses, and unique items to help elevate the everyday—like chili-forward spices. Below are elevated plant-based foods you don’t want to miss in 2024.
Climax Foods Cheese
Vegan brie, feta, chèvre, and blue cheeses, anyone? If you’re new to Climax Foods, thank us later. This brand is using science to mimic animal-based ingredients like casein (which gives cheese its stretchiness). You can already find these cheeses at several restaurants—including three Michelin–star Atelier Crenn—but you’ll soon be able to shop them at specialty retailers.
Seeductive Foods Cheese
More plant-based cheese, please. Seeductive Foods’ hemp- and pumpkin seed–based cheeses are packed with heart-healthy omega-3s and vegan protein. Plus, they’re fermented to give them a gut-healthy tang. Uplevel your charcuterie board with a bundle of non-dairy cheese.
Mellody Vegan Honey
As sweet and thick as the real stuff, Mellody’s vegan honey is the world’s first plant-based honey. And trust us, it doesn’t disappoint. From cooking to baking to mocktail-ing, this sweetener is worth the hype.
Crunchy snacks are pantry staples. The newest to our shelves? Outstanding Stuffins. Available in three flavors—Chedda, Nacho Cheese, and Pizza Partay—all of them are deliciously dairy-free. Kiss the munchies goodbye with these crowd-pleasing bites.
Another snack we can’t stop raving about? S’NOODS spicy miso ramen. This vegan, gluten-free, and flavor-packed snack is great for grabbing on the go. If you’re craving instant ramen, this will (totally) satisfy.
Move over, faux meat patties. Shroomeats mushroom-based meats are packed with flavor and texture and have only six simple ingredients. Serve ’em up with your favorite burger buns and condiments.
Zeroe Vegan Caviar
The pièce de résistance of silent luxury? Caviar. If you didn’t think plant-based caviar existed, think again. Zeroe makes a vegan version from responsibly sourced seaweed—and it’s pure culinary bliss.
Welcoming a New Kind of Plant-Based Lifestyle
As we step into 2024, the era of plant-based foods is looking more promising than ever. Sustainable (and delicious!) meat alternatives are at our fingertips. Best of all, they’re appealing to a broader audience of eaters: those seeking healthier, environmentally conscious choices. From simple dairy substitutes to flavorful plant-based snacks, the year ahead promises a culinary adventure. Together, let’s make plants a priority.