Layout 1As we close out 2013 and navigate the foodie pleasures that tradition dictates, let’s not lose sight of the calendar ‘do over’ that a New Year brings. We get to reset our awareness, attention, appreciation, anticipation and most importantly, our actions. This is particularly effective when it’s in service to our food.  —  we can do this one bite at a time because that’s how it usually happens.

Here are some of the top 10 food trends we’ll be hearing about as the New Year envelops our actions and our ability to play and master the “Is It Healthy?” Game.  Get set for your best healthy eating New Year ever.

Long live those kale recipes, exotic grains and vegetables. Food, real food will be taking a larger role, in awareness and in tasty experiments. Deeper connections to the farm will be a big part of our expanding awareness. Our food and our environment will become more obvious to lots more of us.

Protein has a big future as food manufacturers go macro in their marketing benefit strategies.  It’s a lot simpler to tout protein , carbohydrates and fats than it is to explain why all the fillers, additives and preservatives are also part of the package.  Consumers will get better educated and much savvier in the process. The food products in the marketplace will have to compete on food value instead of marketing hype and that’s good for all consumers.

Chef’s picks for the top ten food trends for 2014 according to the National Restaurant Association’s Top 20  include gluten free items gaining ground.  Gluten Free Pastas

 Gluten Free Pasta

The Food Channel says bread will rise to the top of awareness along with cell phone obsessed appetizer pairings.

Supermarket News reports that healthy and flavorful, tastes from Turkey, Israel and other areas of the Middle East will join pizza, garlic and chickpeas in popularity.

Watch for chefs riding a trend toward dairy-free to go nuts with nut milks and sauces.

Restaurants in retail sores make a comeback. Thirty years ago, retails stores kicked out their restaurants. They were too messy and not profitable enough. Big mistake. Now retailers are rediscovering the added profits from ‘dwell time’ spent by keeping hungry customers in the store. We’ve seen it in book stores with coffee shops, but retail and food always make sense. If you fed hungry customers, they’d stick around and buy more besides the food they ate.

Watch for more locally sourced food in restaurants. Super Market Guru predicts the The Emergence of the “IndieWoman”. Almost 31 million strong, the “IndieWoman” is 27 and older, lives alone and has no children and spends $50 billion on food and beverages each year. They have no time, so look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Brussel SproutsTake a closer look at 2014’s trends on Pinterest to get your appetite going. The top eight healthy trends of 2014 include brussel sprouts and leafy greens in everything.

The conference and meeting industry makes a nod to healthy food along with Asian inspired and experienced based trends that are  fun, entertaining or even one item pleasures.

The key trend is consumers making deeper connections to their food in 2014.  Tasty, fun and healing are not incompatible and the New Year will bring new opportunities for all of us to master the “Is It Healthy?” Game one bite at a time.