Public Info

Learn about Healthy Food Trends in 2022

various colored carrots organized to form a circle
Photo credit: Steve Ausmus, USDA/ARS (public domain image).

Expert offers insights on food trends and hot topics for the coming year.

Union County, NJ – Union County residents can catch up on interesting food and nutrition trends in the year ahead by reading Healthy Food Predictions for 2022, an article authored by Dr. Karen Ensle, Family and Community Health Sciences Educator at Rutgers University and Department Head of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The article is available on the Union County website at

“The Rutgers Cooperative Extension connects Union County residents from all walks of life with useful information based on expert insights and scientific, peer reviewed research. The Commissioner Board is very proud to support this mission, especially in regards to providing our community with guidance and information that supports a healthy diet,” said Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

Healthy Food Predictions for 2022 highlights a wide variety of interconnected trends including the rise in online food shopping, changes in food habits associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the explosive growth of restaurant delivery service, a heightened awareness of the importance of food sustainability and security, and improvements in eco-friendly packaging by food producers.

In terms of nutrition guidance, Dr. Ensle observes that the research continues to support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recently updated for the years 2020-2025. The Guidelines focus on plant-based, minimally-processed foods that are low in added sugar, salt, and processed fats.

“The science stays the same,” Dr. Ensle explains.  “The DASH Diet and Mediterranean Diet along with the MyPlate icon still provide the most relevant scientific information for nutrition and health as they support the Dietary Guidelines.”

The MyPlate icon has replaced the once-familiar U.S. Department of Agriculture “food pyramid” as a visual guide for organizing eating habits around a healthy diet. For more information visit

DASH is a common sense, easy-to-follow heart-healthy eating plan based on foods commonly available at local grocery stores. Details and guidance are available from the National Institutes of Health.

The Mediterranean diet is a generic term for diets that focus mainly on fruits, vegetables, bread and grains, as well as potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds, with fat coming mainly from olive oil. Red meat is minimized in favor of low-to-moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, fish and poultry.

Residents who would like to know more about DASH and the Mediterranean diet can attend a free Zoom class presented by Dr. Ensle, titled “Which is Better:  DASH or Mediterranean Diet?”

The class will be held on Wednesday February 16, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., as part of the Rutgers Family and Community Health Sciences Wellness Wednesday series. To register and get the Zoom link, visit

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is a program of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, supported in Union County by the Commissioner Board, with administrative assistance and office space in Westfield, land for the Demonstration Garden, and funding for special projects. For more information about all Extension projects and activities in Union County, including 4-H clubs for youth and the Master Gardner, Master Tree Steward and Environmental Steward community volunteer programs for adults visit

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at

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