10 top food and health trends in 2013
Remember cupcakes? Bacon? Food trucks? Those are soooo 2012. Not that the darlings of last January’s trend blogs are exactly over but they are kind of like year-old Louboutin heels or day-old baguettes: not quite so hot and fresh anymore. So what’s new for 2013? Fortunately, a slew of smarter, healthier foods are appearing on restaurant menus and on market shelves. And our shopping, cooking and diet patterns are changing too. So, what’s hot for 2013? Drum roll, please…
—Lisa Gosselin, Editorial Director
Related: 10 Ways to Eat Clean
Once you learn to pronounce it correctly (keen-wa), you are going to love this light, crunchy whole grain. A staple of peasants in the high Andes, it’s taken over America faster than the conquistadores, with U.S. imports of Peruvian quinoa more than quadrupling between 2007 and 2011. And for good reason: this gluten-free grain packs 8 grams of protein in a cooked 1-cup serving.
Related: How to Cook Quinoa
Related recipe from Eating Well: Pear-Quinoa Salad
2. Gluten-Free Everything
It was last year’s trend, too, but gluten-free is still surprisingly hot. Only one in 133 Americans suffers from celiac disease (which means the body cannot process gluten) and 6 percent have gluten sensitivity. But another 5 to 8 percent of Americans are avoiding this protein (which is found in wheat, barley and rye) for a variety of other reasons, according to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. Why? According to the Hartman Group, 33 percent perceive gluten-free to have nutritional value and 12 percent even believe avoiding gluten will help alleviate stress. In fact, only four out of ten people who avoid gluten do so for reasons of digestive health, which led this research group to conclude: “Frankly, we’re a bit baffled as to why this topic continues to make headlines,” adding that “the jury is out on whether or not the consumers buying these products really need them.” The good news: there are lots of other grains, and delicious gluten-free recipes have evolved to fill the gap.
Related: Gluten Free Recipes
Related recipe from Eating Well: Eggplant & Chickpea Stew
3. Elimination Diets
It’s not just gluten people are avoiding. On any given week I discover (usually about an hour before I host a dinner party) that one of my guests is not eating added sugars, white flour, corn, dairy, anything cooked, anything that starts with the letter “c” (I’m kidding) … or heaven knows what else. The old days of people following doctor-authored, best-seller diets named after places (South Beach, Sonoma, Mediterranean) have given way to a new spate of “elimination diets” whereby people are banning whatever ingredients they feel may be doing evil to their bodies.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Asian Tofu Salad
4. Organic Food
While scientists continue to debate whether organic food is healthier or not, consumers seem to have made up their minds. According to a recent survey by AllRecipes.com, 58 percent of cooks now choose recipes where they can use organic and natural ingredients. And MarketLine predicted a nearly 50 percent growth in organic foods between 2010 and 2015. While organic’s healthfulness may still be up for debate, people are also choosing USDA-certified organic because it is one of the few guarantees that produce, meats and other products are created without using synthetic pesticides or herbicides, genetically modified ingredients, antibiotics or growth hormones.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets
Eight out of ten American adults say they eat breakfast—which is good news, since breakfast eaters tend to be healthier and less likely to eat more empty calories later in the day. Not only that, our favorite breakfast recipes are becoming mainstream dishes during the rest of the day—think breakfast tacos or egg sandwiches. And among young parents, weekend brunch is the new Saturday night dinner party.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Cranberry Muesli
6. Adult Jello
This is not what it might sound like, I swear. By “adult” jello I just mean that grownups have co-opted the packaged, dyed, flavored powder that was the staple of so many 9-year-old birthday parties and frat-house debauches. Hipster mixologists and top chefs are creating their own jiggly, rainbow-colored gelatin-based concoctions with spirits, fresh fruits and all sorts of creative shapes and molds. This is actually a good thing, since many of these gelatin desserts are fat-free and can be low in calories if you use natural flavorings.
Yes, goat. The most-consumed meat in the world (nearly 70 percent of all red meat consumed globally is goat) has been noticeably absent from American tables. However, in the wake of the goat cheese, goat milk and goat yogurt revolution comes the inevitable appearance of goat meat. At her Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat, former Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard tops her flatbread with shredded goat; celebrated cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough recently came out with an entire opus, Goat: Milk, Meat, Cheese, devoted to preparing and enjoying this sustainable herbivore in all its forms.
8. Slow Cooker, Year-Round
In the last 10 years, Grandma’s crock pot has made a resurgence and with it, all of her classic comfort food recipes. Slow cookers have become the hot wedding gift and now people are using them year-round for everything from breakfast to healthier, lighter slow-cooker favorites like barbecued chicken or beef stew.
9. Beyond Local Produce
Yes, we still love our farmers’ markets and our CSAs, but our thirst for all things local has gone beyond arugula and berries. There’s been a virtual firestorm of regional cheeses and microbrews, artisanal jams, olive oils and breads being created in communities across America. And with them, we’ve seen the recent birth of online farmstands, such as America’s Farmstand.