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The Healthy Food Trends of 2013

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I'm always interested to see if what the experts predict about healthy food trends actually comes true. So, I scanned the internet for the latest healthy food trends and compared them to what I'm seeing in the marketplace. In many cases, it certainly does seem that we are moving in the directions predicted, which is a good thing in terms of healthy eating.

There were a number of predicted trends that I love and hope come true, like minimizing food waste. Right now, we're wasting about 40 per cent of our food and over half of this amount (51 per cent ) is coming from your house and mine.

Reducing our food waste allows us to reduce our food budgets and can improve our nutritional intake. One suggested change that could help reduce waste is the standardization and explanation of what the expiry dates on products mean. Knowing if the food is still safe to eat could potentially reduce waste by 20 per cent. Planning our meals, taking stock of what's in our kitchens and making shopping lists will help to ensure that we only buy the type and amounts of foods we need to make healthy meals and snacks, resulting in less waste.

Experts are also saying that we're going to snack more and have mini-meals. We know that people who snack more often have healthier diets although portion control is key to making this work. Encouraging healthy snacking and ensuring that we have healthy options and suitable portion sizes of foods available in the grocery store, restaurant and vending machines will help make this trend a reality.

As part of the health and wellness trend we are seeing an increase in the variety of healthy products, such as Greek yogurt. This product provides more protein, as well as the other essential nutrients usually found in regular yogurt, making it a great breakfast food. We're also noticing that gluten-free products now have their own section in most supermarkets. This is a service to people with celiac disease, but not sure the expansion of this category developed as a result of this need.

Going gluten-free is a hot topic but we will see how long this lasts. Another trend is the expansion of the availability of different types of grains, such as quinoa, wheat berries, barley, and others being stocked at your regular supermarket. Having increased access to healthier foods is very positive in helping improve Canadians' diets.

Finally, another positive trend I'm seeing is that the consumer is becoming more aware of food and nutrition issues. I see this from the types of questions sent to me on a regular basis by consumers. They want to know more about omega-3 fats, what foods to eat to lower their cholesterol levels, how to reduce their sodium intake, etc. Our job is to deliver the correct information to truly educate the consumer.

Please visit healthcheck.org and heartandstroke.ca for more nutrition information.

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