Hot food trends: Healthy eating on a budget

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

In a world plagued by inflation, skyrocketing living costs, and the constant struggle to stay healthy, renowned nutrition expert Associate Professor Chalat Santivarangkna from Mahidol University reveals what our plates will look like in the coming year.

This year is set to be the year of plant-powered living, with Professor Chalat predicting a surge in plant-based diets. He attributes this to the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which nudged many towards healthier lifestyles. Not just a fad, plant-based eating is gaining traction due to climate change concerns, making it a sustainable choice.

However, Professor Chalat warns against falling for processed plant-based meats that can be loaded with unhealthy additives. Instead, he advocates for nutrient-dense whole foods like tofu, beans, pulses, and tempeh, which not only contribute to good health but also save those hard-earned pounds.

Professor Chalat forecasts a rise in the popularity of carbonated drinks with less sugar and zero calories. Manufacturers are rolling out innovative concoctions, from low-sugar lemon-lime sodas to caffeine-free, calorie-light lemon & lime flavoured soft drinks. It seems the sugar tax hike last year has paved the way for a fizzy, guilt-free future.

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Snacking is getting a makeover too. Out with the regular potato chips, cookies, and cakes, and in with high-fibre, high-protein options that claim to be low in sugar, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Baked veggie chips are having their moment, offering a healthier alternative to their deep-fried counterparts.

And freeze-dried foods are emerging as the go-to snack for the health-conscious. The Mahidol professor highlights the benefits of these crunchy delights, which retain the flavour of fresh fruits without the added sugars and preservatives, reported Thai PBS World.

But what about the cannabis craze that’s taken Thailand by storm since its removal from the narcotics list? Professor Chalat remains cautious, foreseeing a slow year for investments in this burgeoning industry. Amid concerns about misuse, the government is contemplating amendments to restrict cannabis use for medical purposes.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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