The week before the New Year, everyone loves to predict the top trends for 2013. The fitness and health industry is fun for me to watch. The Today Show featured a short (and odd) list this morning with one of my favorite TV dietitians, Joy Bauer.

Here are her four picks for 2013 health trends to watch for:

1. Processed foods will continue to clean up act! Consumers want more natural foods. Check for ingredient labels that will begin to get more simple, shorter and more natural. We still need to watch our calories from processed foods but can feel a little better about the items we are eating.

2. Cocoa is going to have a very good year thanks to the health benefits attributed to flavanols found in cocoa. Flavanols are a phytonutrient that have been shown to boost brain health and promote healthy arteries. Joy showed off brewing chocolate that seems like coffee beans, but cocoa beens that are also rich in antioxidants. She said it was bitter and to be honest, I’ve never seen this. I think I’ll stick to green tea.

3. Veggie-centric desserts will become mainstream. Bauer thinks vegetables will have a starring role in desserts. They showcased some fancy treats prepared by restaurants but for the at home chef, look for recipes that incorporate pumpkin or squash.

4. Gourmet Popcorn like Quinn will become the new granola. Look for new brands and more creative flavors.

While Joy has a national TV platform and I have just my blog, I would like to add my own trends that I promise will be more popular than popcorn…

5. Improved gluten-free tasting foods. At Expo East, there were so many companies debuting their gfree baked goods. They tasted so good, I could not tell a difference between them and regular wheat flour based desserts.

6. Non-processed veggies and legume snacks like kale chips, and roasted chickpeas conveniently available in stores. I discovered my love this year for cheesy vegan kale chips from Brad’s Raw Chips at Whole Foods despite making a homemade version for a few years. Blogs like mine have been sharing recipes but this year, people are taking some of the most popular and turning them into packaged convenience items you can pick up already made. More expensive? Yes, but for people who do not have the time can still enjoy the healthy treat. People want non processed snacks that are nutrient dense and companies are responding with a new variety of snacking products including roasted chickpeas by companies like Biena Foods.

7. Coconut is having the best decade ever. First it was coconut water, then coconut oil and now it’s coconut manna and butter. Look for Coconut and Peanut Butter by Earth Balance at the grocery store or make your own by combining your favorite peanut butter with Artisana Coconut Butter.

8. Ginger products. I think ginger is going to get popular in 2013. At Expo East, there were a ton of products featuring ginger including Ginger Chews in a variety of flavors like peanut butter and mango. All were amazing. I love ginger because it promotes digestion (perfect for a sweet treat after a meal) and helps reduce nausea. It’s perfect for people who are not feeling well, pregnant women, people with a weak stomach and hangovers. There are so many foods that are good for you, but ginger is one that has stuck in my mind for awhile and the products taste just as great as the benefits.

9. Low calorie cocktail mixers. Skinnygirl led the way and now the copycats have begun. Stay away form the Skinnygirl White Sangria, it’s nasty, but I do like the regular margaritas!

10. Triathlons and Mud Runs. Sure I signed up for my first triathlon this year but it sold out in record time! The field was capped at 800 athletes and it sold out within 2 hours. Women are also the largest growing demographic. Don’t be scared though if you are a beginner, the largest age group is often over 35 and many people continue to compete into their older years. In Kona, I saw men and women over the age of 70 cross the finish line. The cross training is ideal for your joints. I think they have become the next feat for the comfortable half marathoner. For those that have no interest in training for a marathon, the tri brings a new challenge. It is however an expensive sport. The average income is over $100K for the typical triathlete. For the younger and more daring generation, the mud runs will continue to sky rocket in popularity but recent deaths and lawsuits may keep a few people (like myself) away from the arena.

Health Trends for 2013

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  • Devonshire

    I dunno about Joy’s 2013 predictions but i think yours are spot on! I’m excited for new gluten-free options. I’m also training for my first Spartan race in June. I was never really into 5k’s and tri’s. I like the obstacle style racing. Great post!

  • shelby keys

    Thanks for referencing a beautiful, talented, and intelligent RD. As a dietetic student, I always appreciate when nutrition info comes from an RD, especially one such as joy bauer!

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