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Give 2014’s Food Trends A Healthy Twist

February 7, 2014

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A couple of weeks ago, Kitchen Daily published a list of projected food trends for 2014 put together by experts in the field. From herb-flavored ice to exotic meats, we’ve got some interesting and exciting trends to look forward to this year. However, not all of them are healthy trends, per se.

But there’s no need for you to miss out on the fun—with a little creativity, you can try out all of this year’s fads while still making healthy food choices! Here’s how:

Trend: 

Ice Cream Sandwiches: Andrew Freeman, CEO of a San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm, predicted that cupcakes, donuts, and croissants are out. Keeping with the 2013 trend of unusual food pairings (like ramen burgers!) ice cream sandwiches with nontraditional flavors are in.

Make It Healthy: Who says ice cream sandwiches need to be made out of ice cream? Whip up a batch of this Banana Peanut Butter “Ice Cream” and sandwich it between your favorite vegan cookies for a 100% vegan sweet treat!

Trend: 

Infused Ice Cubes: Freeman also predicts that cocktails chilled with herbal ice cubes will be popular. Bartenders will be freezing everything from fresh dill to edible flowers in their ice cube trays this year.

Make It Healthy: Herbal ice cubes are actually one of the more exciting and healthy trends of the year, so take full advantage! Flavor your water by freezing mint leaves in the ice before dropping them into a pitcher. You could even try some more exotic combinations like frozen basil in lemonade or frozen lemongrass in coconut water. This year, stay hydrated in a delicious way. 

Trend:

“Indie Woman” Meal: Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru’s expert analyst, predicts that more grocery items—especially frozen meals like lean cuisine or even take out fresh meals from the deli counter at healthy food stores —will cater to the “Indie woman,” defined as a woman over 27 who is single, focused on her career, and doesn’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Make It Healthy: Does this sound like you? It certainly sounds like me! Just because you work hard doesn’t mean you have to compromise your health. Instead of giving in to the frozen food aisle, remember that a little bit of meal planning can go a long way. Find a recipe like this one that you can make on Sunday night and portion it out for dinners or lunches all week long.

Trend:

Midwestern Food Movement: Topping the Food Channel’s list of trends is the Midwestern Food Movement, which emphasizes hearty root vegetables and steak.

Make It Healthy: The Southern food trend of hush puppies and cheddar grits is long gone, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s high time we usher in a new regional movement. The great part of the Midwestern Food Movement is the emphasis on the small town, family farmer. Take advantage of this food trend by buying from organic, small, farmer-owned companies, or from your local farmer’s market. Prepare your meals in the freshest way possible (that means no deep frying!) so you can really savor all of the wonderful flavors and nutrients that your food has to offer.

Trend:  

Replacing Cooking Water: Food analysts from Sterling-Rice Group predict a new technique for poaching or steaming foods, using liquids other than water, like tea, coffee, beer, and wine.

Make It Healthy: A healthy spin on this trend that I’m really excited about is a trick that I learned from my Health Coach. Steam your vegetables in regular water, and then set the water aside instead of throwing it out. Many of the nutrients in kale, broccoli, or any other greens that you might steam are released into the water while they are cooking. Instead of tossing all those nutrients down the drain, let the water cool and then save it in a mason jar in your fridge. Use it to make green smoothies or add it to soup. Not quite the same as poaching asparagus in wine, but much healthier!

Trend:

Exotic Meats: Sterling-Rice Group analysts say the farm-to-table concept will expand into smaller game, like goat, rabbit, and pigeon.

Make It Healthy: This trend makes the concept of eating local an absolute breeze. The squirrel in your backyard or that pigeon on your fire escape might just make a tasty dinner. Kidding! But in all seriousness, if you’ve considered giving the Paleo diet a try, this could be the year to do it! With so many new and interesting meat options being served across the country, it’s easier than ever to stick to a diet high in Paleo-friendly foods. 

Trend:

Foraged Foods: Food Business News reports that experts believe the flavors of foraged food, like seaweed, truffles, and blackberry, will be a major trend this year.

Make It Healthy: In case you need another reason to add extremely nutritious seaweed to your diet, it’s finally on trend this year! If you’re new to the world of sea vegetables, start by sprinkling flakes of nori, the seaweed used to wrap sushi, on your meal. It gives your dish a slightly salty flavor, but isn’t too noticeable. If you’re ready for more advanced seaweed use, try boiling kombu in water before using it to make soup!

Trend:

Natural Ingredients, Ancient Grains and Heirloom Vegetables: On the healthy side of food trends, ancient grains like teff and quinoa take center stage with heirloom vegetables like parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, and kale as the world continues to embrace healthy, natural ingredients. A much needed shift from “low-calorie” or “light” to “all-natural” and “organic” will begin to have an even bigger impact on supermarket shelves. Serving up more of your favorite grains and vegetables this year will put you right on trend, and your body will thank you!