Healthier food is trending for 2013. Great news, right? A consumer-trend report by Technomic says that 64% of consumers feel that healthy eating is important compared with 57% in 2010. Adopting a healthy eating plan is important for overall health and diabetes management too. This year, there are lots of fun trends in food to explore and enjoy. Have fun and get healthy at the same time! Here’s what you can look for in 2013:
Thai, Vietnamese and Korean flavors will be working their way into the American menu. Look for Asian-style glazes and fermented foods like kimchi (pickled vegetables topped with hot pepper sauce). Fermented foods are a natural source of gut-friendly probiotics.
Try creating your own healthy, Asian-style meal at home with a simple vegetable stir fry over brown rice or whole wheat noodles.
As more Americans have health concerns like diabetes and heart disease, enjoying at least one meatless day per week is a great way to cut some fat from your diet. To get started, try a recent trend called, “Meatless Monday.” Substitute meat with healthy and filling meatless proteins like nut butters, beans, legumes, eggs and tofu. Here are some easy meatless entrees:
- Bean burrito
- Black bean quesadillas
- Veggie burgers
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Veggie wrap with hummus and avocado
- Vegetable barley or Minestrone soup
- Pasta primavera (noodles with tomato and vegetable sauce).
See it’s not that bad!
When dining out, you might start to see vegetable plates, veggie-based entrees such as cauliflower steaks and spaghetti squash, roasted vegetable side dishes and a wider assortment of leafy greens: swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens and seaweed. Kale–one of 2012’s biggest veggie trends–is sticking around too.
Take some inspiration and make some roasted vegetables at home! They’re an easy and flavorful side dish. To roast vegetables:
- Preheat your oven. Use 450 degrees for root vegetables like potatoes and carrots or 400 degrees for softer veggies like zucchini or onions.
- Cut vegetables and place them in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite herbs and spices. Stir to coat.
- Spread veggies in an even layer on a baking sheet.
- Cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on the vegetable. Remove from the oven when they pierce easily with a fork and begin to turn golden brown.
It’s popping up in all kinds of flavors and as the next bar snack, appetizer and crouton. Popcorn is a great everyday snack option too since it’s a whole grain that’s naturally low in fat and calories. 3 cups of light or air-popped popcorn contains only 15 grams of carbohydrate.
Mini meals and snacks.
From the freezer aisle in the grocery to restaurants, smaller meals are replacing super-sized portions. You’ll find mini meals, snacks and “small plates” that are perfectly portioned to encourage more frequent, small meals through the day. Just remember, even small meals can add up.
Nutrition and environmental impact.
As more Americans are interested in where their food comes from and how it is produced, we’ll be hearing more on organics, GMOs, “green” production and local produce. You’ll start to see it reflected on food labels too. Make sure you understand these terms and whether or not these products are a worthwhile purchase for you. Talk to your Registered Dietitian if you want more information.
Protein and muscle-building.
It’s one of the next food-labeling trends. Beware they hype! It’s true that our bodies require protein to build and repair themselves. True also that protein needs increase slightly as we age and with exercise. But it’s easy to go overboard, especially if you have diabetes or kidney disease. The truth is that most of us probably get enough protein. Talk to your RD about your protein needs and before starting any supplements.
Healthier dining out.
Hurray! Chefs are finding new ways, other than fat, to add flavor to their food, such as using vitamin-rich vegetable stocks. High-fiber grains like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and kamut are becoming more popular in the restaurant environment too. Several other food trends, like serving smaller portions, more veggies and less meat, are also contributing to healthier meals out.
The carb craze stays.
If you have diabetes, you know the importance of carbohydrate control in managing blood glucose. In recent years, cutting carbs to lower-than-necessary levels has been the trend. This year, the focus will be on good carbs, not no carbs. Look for whole grains, fruit and low-fat dairy. These carbs are chock-full of nutrition and provide energy too. But you knew that, right? Talk to your Registered Dietitian about how many carbs you need.
All in all, it looks like 2013 could be a great year to improve your diet! Which trend(s) will you embrace? Stay tuned for Part 3: Fitness Trends for 2013.