What the Heck Is Swiss Army Produce—and How Can I Eat More?
If you’d said the word “superfood” to someone just five years ago, you’d have gotten a funny look. Now, of course, it’s so last year.
But if you want to know what healthy food trend people are going to be talking about in 2018, look no further: We found it.
A few weeks ago, food personality Mareya Ibrahim, also known as the Fit Foodie, released her food forecast for 2018. It’s an annual post where she discusses which trends she thinks will dominate the consumer market.
One trend she pointed out was health-conscious cooks looking for ingredients that multitask— that offer a multitude of benefits beyond taste and basic nutrition. “If your staples aren’t as multi-functional as a Swiss army knife,” she wrote, “they’re just…basic.”
Almost immediately, industry trade publication Food Navigator pushed out a report that picked up on the Fit Foodie’s Swiss Army comparison and highlighted a few powerhouse ingredients.
And last week, another trade site, Food Dive published a headline that directly refashioned Ibrahim’s vivid description into a term itself, writing: “Nutrition expert predicts ‘Swiss Army’ produce will thrive in 2018.”
So we’re calling it right now. Swiss Army foods are going to be the go-to term for multifunctional foods in 2018. While a superfood is generally recognized as nutrient-rich and healthy for daily consumption, “Swiss Army is a useful way to categorize those foods which provide a multitude of holistic health benefits beyond being low in calories or high in the kinds of nutrients you’d find on a label.
Here are a few Swiss Army foods we think not only deserve space in your kitchen, but will keep you healthy (and maybe even buzzworthy) in 2018.
You probably wouldn’t know at first look, but kohlrabi delivers more vitamin C per serving than an orange. It’s mildly sweet, and makes for a great addition to any soup, pureé, pan roast, or even julienned as a raw addition to salads.
This gluten-free ancient grain is slowly working its way into the limelight—it’s naturally packed with more than half of your daily serving of copper as well as magnesium, aiding bone tissue and your immune system. It also is a strong source of iron and niacin, otherwise known as vitamin B-3. You can incorporate the couscous doppelganger into snacks like our Double-Sorghum Spice cookies or popped sorghum.
You’ve probably already hopped on the yogurt bandwagon, but the reason it’s still going is that the thick dairy staple can do wonders for your gut flora and microbiome. Pay increased attention to probiotic foods like yogurt as health professionals place more of an emphasis on your gut health.
Kefir is a liquid yogurt that's naturally fizzy and super tangy. It's cultured five to eight times longer than yogurt, allowing good bacteria more time to multiply. Another reason to love it: It has 11g protein per cup, and you can use it as a 1-to-1 substitution for buttermilk. Incorporate kefir into your daily diet with a breakfast dish like oats and kefir tossed with berries and toasted coconut flakes.
Tart cherries are seemingly magical sources for fighting inflammation as well as a natural source of melatonin for those looking for natural sleep aids. We’re big fans of incorporating the powerful tart cherry into many different dishes in our kitchen.
Kimchi, and other Korean condiments like Gochujang, are certainly more popular than ever before given their heat factor—but another reason to love the spicy fermented cabbage mix is its outstanding probiotic element. There’s plenty of “good” bacteria that will contribute to your microbiome, and it’s so versatile that you can generally add it to any meal throughout the day.
Nutritional yeast has long been a favorite for vegans looking to capitalize on its savory profile, thanks to glutamate cultured alongside the deactivated yeast itself. But yeast is also an astounding source of protein—our assistant nutrition editor, Jamie Vespa MS, RD, says that just a few tablespoons will earn you nearly 10g in one sitting.
A great source of fiber and even better source of protein, these should always be in your pantry. A single cup packs a whole 15g of protein, and you can repurpose them into many different things such as chickpea flour.