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Words of Wellness-2013 Food and Nutrition Trends - April 10, 2013

By: Kate Adams

Dietitian at On With Life

A new year means new trends. Nutritionally speaking, some of these are better than others but interesting none the less! Keep your eye out for these food trends:

Super grains: Quinoa, known for its fiber and omega 3 content isn’t just a side dish anymore. Companies are getting more creative with it and other ‘super grains’. You’ll now see it in granola mixes and bars.

Vegetables as the main star: With the rising cost of meat and consumers becoming more health conscious, expect to see vegetables as the main ingredient in many dishes. (Woo hoo!)

Better buns: For your burger that is! Burgers may be shrinking due to the increasing price of meat, so many restaurants are offering a variety of buns to keep things interesting. Gluten-free rice buns, pretzels buns, spicy jalapeno and multigrain to name a few.

Popcorn: The undercover whole grain is expected to get some time in the spotlight this year. Companies are replacing the usual movie theater butter to keep popcorn as a healthy snack. You may also see it used is more savory dishes.

Simple desserts are boozing it up: Cupcakes, cookies, and cakes are expected to get a makeover from pastry chefs by combining them with some of America’s favorite cocktails.

Natural sweeteners: Expect more foods to be naturally sweetened with stevia and monk fruit. Many companies are trying to “reinvent the regular” by decreasing calories in everyday foods rather than using these sweeteners as a replacement for artificial ones in ‘diet’ products.

Past trends that hopefully are here to stay…

Flexitarianism: Flexitarians eat a primarily plant based diet that focuses on grains, vegetables and fruits but they do occasionally eat lean meat, fish, poultry and dairy. With the focus on fruits and vegetables this diet is low in saturated fat and meets most recommendations for vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown people who follow this approach weight less, have lower rates of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. A good way to ease into it? Start a meatless Monday in your house.

Locally Grown Foods: According to the USDA the number of local farmers’ markets has doubled in the last 10 years. Locally grown foods may have a slight nutritional edge over other produce because it is so fresh.

Functional Foods: Functional foods are enriched with nutrients that wouldn’t normally be found in the item. Examples include orange juice with added calcium or milk with vitamins A and D. The added nutrients help consumers to fill nutritional gaps.

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