Food Trends for 2014

Celebrity chefs, product developers, restaurant consultants, and even grocery store shoppers all agree that 2014 will focus on more high-impact, low-calorie options. Locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce are also a growing trend among shoppers and restaurants alike. Ancient grains like freekeh and chia are becoming buzzworthy and cropping up all over. People are also trending toward simpler food, cutting food waste, and environmental sustainability. Here are some more top food trends to partake in.

Continue eating grapes. New research has shown many ways that grapes and grape seed extract helps the heart—they can lower blood pressure and improve circulation and blood vessel flexibility. Add to salads, smoothies, or pluck them right off the stem.

Get your fill of tomatoes. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene known to benefit prostate health. They also taste great in everything from breakfast omelets to salsa.

Choose foods fortified with plant sterols. Plant sterols are a naturally occurring plant compound found in nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Recent studies have shown that sterols can lower LDL cholesterol by 12 – 14 percent in as little as two weeks, but it is almost impossible to get the required amount from regular foods. Foods like peanut butter, orange juice, and even tortilla chips are being fortified, so it should be easier than ever to get them frequently.

Time to get your lemon on. Lemon, or more so lemon juice, is great for making dressings and sauces for anything from salads to yogurt. Lemon is also used in the Mediterranean diet, which some expect to be even bigger in 2014.

Skip the soda and go for tea. Tea is becoming popular with dinner, desserts, and other food options. The Sterling Rice Group says chefs and product developers are experimenting with tea’s natural earthy tastes and different ways to bring flavorful twists to foods.

Choose nuts instead of dairy. Nuts are becoming a great source of “milk.” Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are options for those who need to be dairy-free.

Bring back the yolks. It is hard to switch gears after years of hearing “no yolk.” Choose the yolk not only because of the good cholesterol, but also because it contains essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.

Get more foraged foods. Seaweed, truffles, rose hips, and blackberry are highlights. Expect to see these flavors boom over the course of the year.

Plant heirloom vegetables. Heirloom veggies—think parsnips, artichokes, kale, and salsify—are coming back in a big way. Websites like rareseeds.com, seedsavers.org, and ancientcerealgrains.org teach you about seeds and make them available for purchase.

Choose palm fruit oil. Naturally trans fat-free, this cooking oil is an abundant source of a form of vitamin E called alpha-tocotrienols, which NIH-funded studies have shown can help reduce the damaging effects of a stroke by up to 50 percent. The beauty of palm fruit oil is that it does not break down if you are cooking at high temperatures.

Start poaching and steaming. Steaming and poaching helps remove the fat from certain meats, as well as preserving fiber, flavor, and many vitamins and minerals in your veggies. Worried poaching and steaming will leave you with bland food? Use wine, coffee, beer, and even smoky liquids to replace water.

Move aside pastas. Out-of-the-ordinary pastas will define this year. Instead of choosing a traditional wheat variety, choose to use dough made with alternative flours like quinoa, rice, buckwheat; seasoned with global spices; and formed into new shapes of all sizes.

Stay committed to your diet resolutions this year, and, most of all, stay hungry!

—Sources: Sterling Rice Group and Sherry Torkos, BSc, Phm