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Le Creuset Burgundy

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Photograph by Sara Remington

Culinary Trends

Healthful Eating

Gluten-free, fat-free, organic, nutrition through juicing – these are conversation topics that usually surface in January, but now more than ever, they are heard year-round. Marketers have popularized them to describe the proliferation of products found not only in health-food stores, but mainstream grocery stores and restaurants.

While losing weight has generally been the impetus at this time of year, healthy living with an emphasis on healthful eating is not just a trend anymore and is practiced all year long. Plant-based diets are mainstream. Fast food restaurants have vegetarian options. Even vegan options are appearing on restaurant menus.

In addition to Jamba Juice which has been around for a while, and incredible selections of individual portion bottles of fresh juice combinations, fresh juice is here to stay. According to Kara Nielsen, Trendologist for CCD Innovation, “About a year ago we published our Vegetables & Sides Culinary Trend Mapping Report with a trend focus/profile on vegetable juices. So YES, it’s a big trend, especially with the yoga and raw food sets. Starbucks bought Evolution Juice and there are a couple stores in Seattle and one in San Francisco. Look at the menu – very health-forward.” With Starbucks entering the juicing market, juice bars will become mainstream.

Eating gluten-free products is no longer just about allergies, it’s about eating food that is more healthful, nutritious and digestible. Chefs all over the country feature vegetarian options on their menus as well as gluten-free options, making it easier for customers to enjoy a dinner out and not have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. Chef Thomas Keller has even introduced gluten-free flour.

The subtitle of Chef Seamus Mullen’s book Hero Food is “How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better.” The demand for reservations at his New York restaurant Tertulia is proof positive that his philosophy has been embraced. Dr. Marion Nestle, the esteemed author of What to Eat and professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at NYU said of Hero Food, “This gorgeous book proves without a doubt the point I’ve been making for years: healthy food is delicious.” A prime example of the mainstream adoption of healthier vegetable options is the transformation of kale into the hot vegetable du jour. In 2012, according to the Huffington Post:

“We … saw the continued momentum of the healthy food movement, propelled by everyone's number one leafy green: kale. Move over, baby spinach. You've been officially replaced by kale, kale and more kale. You almost can't turn around without seeing kale chips, kale Caesar salad or kale pesto. Like the watermelon salad, kale has been increasing in popularity over the years, starting a steady ascent around 2009 and skyrocketing early this year. We really love our nutrient-packed, leafy greens”.

Jaden Hair of the blog Steamy Kitchen is also leading the healthful charge with her new book, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites. In it she shares her tips for making Asian recipes more healthy. Healthful eating is here to stay. Join us as we Come to the Table and begin 2013 with a healthful eating way of life.

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