Q: I always like trying new foods and dishes. What are some of the new food trends for 2014?
A: With the new year here, it is time to look ahead to the fresh dishes and foods we can expect over the next 12 months. Here are my predictions.
Lemon: An often forgotten-about addition to meals, lemon has traditionally been used to brighten sauces and dressings. This year, lemon will be stepping into the spotlight. Look for it as a key flavor in entrees, side dishes and salads as well as desserts.
Tea: Look for tea to start nudging out coffee as the morning beverage of choice. This antioxidant-rich leaf will also start popping up in foods and recipes from dinner to dessert.
Nuts: Not just for snacking anymore, nuts and seeds are popping up in the dairy aisle and next to jelly. Almond milk, coconut yogurt and sunflower butter will all be making their appearances in drinks, yogurts, sauces and sandwiches.
Poaching and steaming: Healthy cooking techniques are at the forefront this year. Typically thought of as supremely bland, poached and steamed foods will get a flavor kick from wine, tea, beer and smoky liquids.
Semi-homemade: People are busy, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor and health. Convenient, frozen meals that use gourmet ingredients but keep an eye on health will be all the rage among busy families and singles alike.
Convenience shopping: Online grocery ordering will pick up as families choose to do their shopping from home. You can now make your meal plan, organize your list and order your groceries to be picked up or delivered, all from the comfort of your own home. (Try it out at www.hy-vee.com).
Local: Look for more locally raised meats and locally grown produce this year as consumers are focused on fresh and food’s environmental impact.
Healthy snacks: People are eating fewer prepared meals and more snacks but they want those snacks to be healthy. As a result, you will be seeing “better-for-you” snacks hitting the shelves in record numbers this year.
Private brands: Store brands will see continued growth as shoppers become brand loyal while saving money. Private brands aren’t just re-creating what the name brands do; they are starting to develop unique products and attractive labels.
Going coconuts: From coconut oil to coconut milk and water, this tropical fruit has invaded nearly every phase of cooking and will continue to do so in 2014, especially among millennials (those ages 20-30 years).
April Graff, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian at both Mankato Hy-Vee stores and can be reached at AGraff@hy-vee.com or call 625-1107 or 625-9070. Send her questions about food and nutrition, recipes, meal planning and healthy shopping.