2013 Food and Nutrition Trends

By Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN

It’s that time of year, the few weeks before the New Year when everyone with a stake in food and nutrition starts predicting the food and nutrition trends for 2013. What I do is read through all of these food trend reports and pull out the common themes that are relevant to the gluten free lifestyle.

So, even if you couldn’t care less about food trends in general, the below list and links provide you with an idea of what to expect when eating out and going food shopping in 2013. Of course, I also put in my two cents worth about how these trends relate to living gluten free happily and healthfully.

Gluten free is still going strong
In the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2013“ report, an annual prediction of menu trends based on a survey that polls 1,800 members of the American Culinary Foundation, gluten free once again secured the number 8 spot. Gluten free placed the same number in the 2012 report and number 7 in 2011. Other food trend predictors also identified gluten free as remaining strong. This is proof that gluten free is not a fad but a long-term trend that chefs and foodservice providers are taking seriously.

Ancient grains continue to plant their roots
Ancient or heirloom varieties of grains have become more accessible to consumers, both by being offered at restaurants and on supermarket shelves. While some ancient grains contain gluten, there are just as many that are gluten-free, including amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. Not only do these gluten-free ancient grains add variety to the gluten-free diet, they are also loaded with nutrients, including plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Get to know these gluten-free ancient grains and their flours.

Pork and lamb are the new beef
There’s not too much to add here, except that both pork and lamb pair nicely with gluten-free whole grains. Here are some great recipes:

Pork Tenderloin with Swiss Chard and Polenta – by Martha Stewart

Pulled Pork on Polenta Cakes – by Simply…Gluten-Free

Lamb with Millet and Mint Cucumber Salad – by Cookstr.com

Quinoa and Herb-Crusted Lamb – by The Food Network

Non-wheat and vegetable noodles
Pastas and noodles made from grains other than wheat have been available in grocery stores for some time. Now they are making their way onto restaurant menus, which is particularly good for those wanting gluten-free comfort food or a gluten-free vegetarian entree. Vegetable noodles made from squash and zucchini are also becoming popular.

Cauliflower is the new kale
I am so happy to see cauliflower being recognized as a fabulous vegetable. Just because it’s white doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with antioxidants like its red and green counterparts. It is. Here are a few fabulous recipes to get you cooking with one of my favorite veggies.

Roasted Lemon-Parmesan Cauliflower with Capers – by EatingWell

Steamed Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Walnuts – by Cooking Light

Mashed Cauliflower – by Whole Foods Market

Brazilian, Chilean and Argentine are the cuisines du jour
For many years now, we’ve been enjoying the bold flavors of other cuisines. This year we’re taking it to South America. That’s fine by me because I love the flavors and ingredients of these countries.

Snacking gets real
The United States has no doubt become a snacking culture. This isn’t necessarily good if your definition of a snack means pre-packaged foods riddled with processed and artificial ingredients. The good news is that the snacking trends for 2013 get real, and they are all about making your own snacks at home, using wholesome ingredients you have control over. I particularly like this to happen for the gluten-free community because there are way too many gluten-free snacks on the market containing highly processed ingredients and refined flours.

Local sourcing is still on top
Preference for locally sourced meat, poultry, dairy, seafood, and vegetables is a trend that is here to stay. It is not only on every trend report, it’s at the top. I love this trend because it’s healthful, sustainable, and makes for better-tasting food. It may be a stretch to think this way but restaurants and other eateries that deem sourcing locally as important are more likely to avoid processed ingredients, which means they are also more likely to know the ingredients in their food. This makes for easier gluten-free dining.

There’s more to fish than salmon
With its heart-healthy omega-3s, salmon has been the poster child for healthy seafood for a long time. For those who want to add to their repertoire of delicious, nutritious, and sustainable varieties of fish, look for Barramundi, Arctic Char (similar to salmon) and Branzino on restaurant menus. You won’t be disappointed.

Here are links to several of the 2013 food and nutrition trend reports:

National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2013

Nutrition Unplugged by Janet Helm, MS, RD

17 Hottest Food and Dining Trends for Restaurants and Hotels 2013, by Baum and Whiteman

Hotel and Restaurant Trends in 2013 by Andrew Freeman and Co.

Have you come across any food trends for 2013? Please share them here!

Rachel Begun, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She provides education, communications and consulting services to health organizations and the food industry and educates the public via speaking opportunities, online activities and writing for publications, including her own blog, The Gluten-RD. For more information, please visit http://www.rachelbegun.com

The articles written by guest contributors are the sole responsibility of the individual writers in terms of factual accuracy and opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of this blog.

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