Nicki Anderson: Good health trends coming in new year
By Nicki Anders For The Sun December 21, 2012 12:20PM
Updated: January 27, 2013 6:13AM
Well, Dec. 21 has passed, and we’re all still here! Now that we know we’re going to be here for awhile, perhaps it’s time to take this health and wellness thing a bit more seriously.
With the prevalence of obesity and disease, no doubt change needs to happen. In my perfect world, changes would include more healthy food options that are easy and accessible, and more opportunities for adults and children to be more active. The good news is that some of those changes are on the horizon. Next year looks to be the year healthier foods and lifestyles take center stage!
According to a recent survey of more than 200 of the nation’s leading registered dietitians, here are some interesting food and diet trends that will guide us toward a healthier 2013:
Natural and simple are in, low-fat and low carb out! It’s predicted that consumers will seek out foods that are minimally processed with fewer ingredients. More people will opt for cooking at home to save money and bring healthier fare to their families. Gluten free and wheat free will keep their place in top food trends, while bread and pasta lovers will rejoice knowing that low carb is now passé.
Eating high-quality foods with a nutritional punch will be important for consumers. There will be less focus on empty calories and more focus on nutrient-dense calories. I’ve always supported Q2 — quality and quantity. In other words, pay attention to how much you eat and the quality of food you’re eating. This is a trend I’m really happy to see take hold.
Vegetables will be the 2013 star! With greater awareness about the value of plant-based diets, dietitians agree that eating more fruits and vegetables will have a hefty impact on improving American’s diet and health in the new year. With the knowledge that produce is loaded with disease-fighting nutrients, consumers will likely seek out this dietary approach that is both health and weight friendly.
Consumers will hang tight to the gluten- and wheat-free weight loss strategies, and commercial diets will maintain their stronghold in the weight-loss world.
Social media and phone apps lead the way as best resources for nutrition information followed by dietitians. Some of the more popular phone apps include, Lose It, Slim Down Shopping, Calorie Tracker and Mint Nutrition. However, if you have special dietary concerns, your best bet is a registered dietitian. You can find one in your area at www.eatingright.org.
As for exercise and fitness trends, there are plenty of great options coming in the new year, but here are just a few you can look forward to.
Personal training — For the sixth year in a row, personal training still reigns supreme. Although, there is a greater focus on the experience and education of a trainer as a prerequisite. As more people become aware of the spectrum of training abilities and experience, consumers will want to make sure they’re getting what they pay for!
Strength training — Weight training remains popular in commercial, community, clinical and corporate health fitness facilities. To get kids healthier, commercial- and community-based programs are seeking out schools as fitness partners. Given that we are a sedentary society with less opportunity to lift and challenge our muscles, structured training is the next best thing. Additionally, strength training is becoming more about function vs. definition. In other words, more people are seeking out programs that will help them become stronger in their day-to-day activities vs. simply seeing how much weight they can hoist.
Core training — I was happy to see core training as part of the 2013 fitness trends. With back problems becoming more common (thanks to hours in front of a computer), core training is vital. Strengthening the core gives greater stability to the trunk, which makes the demands of daily living easier to withstand. Great tools for core training include, stability balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards and foam rollers.
Group training — This trend consists of personal training with two or three people at the same time. This is ideal for those with a limited budget and enjoy social interaction with exercise. The advantage of group training, beyond the financial one, is adherence improves thanks to a community of like-minded people.
It looks like we can expect healthier food options when dining out in the coming year. Restaurants will be paying attention to a more educated diner and will strive to meet the needs of a varied clientele.
There will be less fat, butter and bacon in dishes as vegetable broth, and high-fiber grains find their way on to menus. With the increase in vegetarians and vegans, not only will restaurants be catering to special requests, they will also be putting vegetables front and center in their dishes.
Ryan Hutmacher, founder of Centered Chef in Chicago, emphasizes the importance of quality products.
“Just producing great-tasting food doesn’t guarantee a food operation’s success,” he says. “Consumers are not only defining value through criteria like locality and purity of ingredients but the ability to customize menu items for a particular lifestyle. Whether it’s a gluten-free version of pasta or swapping olive oil for butter, the consumer is smarter, and values a more accommodating food experience, as opposed to just the food.
He says this is evident in the growth of his business in the past two years.
“Our concept of a cooking school and event space meets the consumer’s desire to explore food as a lifestyle,” he says.
I’m excited about the coming year. With the emphasis on quality nutrition and practical exercise, healthy living is becoming more attainable. These trends clearly point to a healthier 2013!
Wishing all of you a new year filled with good food and good health!
Do you have an inspiring story about your journey to fitness? Share it with Nicki Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.