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Top 20 food trends for 2010

By Michelle Edelbaum, December 23, 2009 - 1:36pm

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Last year’s food trend predictions were all tied to the struggling economy: cooking budget-friendly recipes at home, dining out on the cheap and shopping for bargain ingredients. This year, the trends on the National Restaurant Association’s list of the Top 20 Food Trends for 2010 suggest we’re making decisions based on our health and the environment.

I’m glad that I can see the things I believe in—local foods, healthy meals and sustainable seafood—on this top 20 list, which is based on a survey of chefs across the nation. Here’s our take on the top trends, which we hope are here to stay:

Trends #1, 2, 5—Local-grown foods and drinks: Staying in touch with the seasons is a way of life for me and most of my co-workers at EatingWell. Local, in-season ingredients inspire us to eat healthfully and cut down on the average 1,500 miles food travels from farm to fork. Want to eat more local foods? Start with our 5 ideas for eating local beyond the farmers’ market.

Trend #3—Sustainable seafood: It makes sense to swear off a few fish today so our children and our oceans will have them tomorrow. About 10 years ago Seafood Watch asked us to stop eating swordfish. Many restaurants and consumers avoided the fish, and today it is rebounding. In 10 years, it may even be back on the menu. I’ll admit, it’s hard to keep track of the best choices for sustainable seafood, so use these tips for buying sustainable seafood to help guide your decisions.

Trend 4—Bite-size desserts: Who wouldn’t want to jump on this trend? When it comes to weight management, what’s most important isn’t what you eat but how much. So that leaves room for low-cal desserts that help you satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard.

Trend 6—Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes: As the percentage of overweight children in the U.S. has sharply increased, it has become more important to teach kids to eat healthy foods at a young age to help them develop healthy eating patterns for life. Now that I’m a mom, I’m trying to avoid as many packaged and processed foods as I can and make simple, healthy kid-friendly meals at home to encourage my son to be a healthy, adventurous eater!

Here’s the National Restaurant Association’s list of the Top 20 Food Trends for 2010:

1. Locally grown produce
2. Locally sourced meats and seafood
3. Sustainability
4. Bite-size/mini desserts
5. Locally produced wine and beer
6. Nutritionally balanced children's dishes
7. Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
8. Farm-/estate-branded ingredients
9. Gluten-free/food-allergy conscious
10. Sustainable seafood
11. Superfruits (e.g., acai, goji berry, mangosteen)
12. Organic produce
13. Culinary cocktails (e.g., savory, fresh ingredients)
14. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
15. Nutrition/health
16. Simplicity/back to basics
17. Regional ethnic cuisine
18. Nontraditional fish (e.g., branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
19. Newly fabricated cuts of meat (e.g., Denver steak, pork flatiron, Petite Tender)
20. Fruit/vegetable children's side items

What about you? What food trends do you hope stick around? Which trends don’t you care about?

What food trend do you hope is here to stay? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Michelle Edelbaum, Food News Blog

Michelle Edelbaum
Michelle is the digital director for EatingWell. She puts her background in journalism to work at to help deliver daily inspiration for eating healthy.

Michelle asks: What food trend do you hope is here to stay?

Tell us what you think:

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