The start of the year brings a host of new food trends, and February is no exception. This winter season, many chefs focus on bold flavors, vibrant colors, and fresh ingredients. Choosing produce in season will enhance your menu by ensuring you serve the best flavors. Plus, you will make diners happy who are looking to fill up on more than carbohydrates alone. Here are some of the biggest trends in food for February:

1. Plant-based proteins: Many restaurants are moving away from traditional meat-based proteins and focusing on plant-based options instead. Plant-based proteins like beans, quinoa, lentils, nuts, and seeds are becoming popular menu items as they offer a healthy and sustainable alternative to animal proteins. Not only are they tasty, but they are also cheaper to produce than lean meats. Keeping plant-based items on your menu ensures that all diners have more options that fit their dietary preferences. Plus, it's a chance to get creative with new recipes!

2. Global flavors: Chefs are getting creative with global ingredients to create unique dishes that combine flavors from around the world. Popular ingredients in February are Persian spices, Latin American flavors, and traditional African dishes. Try a couscous or chili dish to bring the spices together. Meats like chicken and lamb are excellent for curries and other spiced dishes. Plus, you don't have to make them so spicy that they're challenging for most people to eat. Ingredients like cumin, turmeric, coriander, and chili powder pack a punch of flavor that does the job without being too spicy.

3. Comfort food: Despite the trend toward healthier eating habits, comfort food is still having a moment in many restaurants across the country. Dishes like macaroni and cheese, pot pies, and grilled cheese sandwiches are getting updated with modern ingredients and flavors. Topping with bacon and jalapeños is an exciting way to elevate your macaroni and cheese. Use grandma's best pie crust recipe for your pie offerings. Change up your grilled sandwiches by offering gourmet cheese options like gruyere and Havarti. Build your dishes until they inspire the same completeness that you feel when you're at home.

4. Superfoods: From goji berries to spirulina, chefs are incorporating superfoods into their dishes for a health boost. These nutrient-packed ingredients are often used as garnishes or mixed with other ingredients to give dishes an extra nutrition kick. Don't forget about kale and cauliflower! Packed with nutrients, kale can be made into a light appetizer by crisping it in an oven as chips and seasoned with salt. Cauliflower is an excellent alternative to other unhealthy options and can be made into crusts, served alone, or transformed into dishes such as buffalo cauliflower bites!

5. Bowl meals have become increasingly popular in recent years. Bowls usually feature a base ingredient like rice or quinoa and are then topped with proteins, vegetables, sauces, and other garnishes. Bowl meals can be vegan, vegetarian, or meat-based, depending on the eater's dietary preferences. Common in Asian dishes, it's the perfect vessel for healthy eating. While a bowl is the most convenient, it also has the most potential to be deliciously healthy. For example, make a healthy breakfast bowl with eggs, sweet potato, and ham. Having rice as a base is a popular and cheap option for including carbs in your bowl. Seafood, breakfast, and many other flavors are great options to be served in a bowl.

These food trends show that while chefs are moving away from traditional dishes and ingredients, they are still experimenting with exciting new flavors. So if you're looking for a way to spice up your dinner routine this February, consider trying some of these trends!