2013 Food Trends - A Few to Fawn Over

The end of the year brings a flurry of food trend predictions. Often there are odd-ball trends such as fried chicken skin, goji berries and molecular cooking that leave you scratching your head. But every year I find a handful to cheer about. Here are my favorites this year.

KaleVeggies Take the Spotlight

No longer the bridesmaid, veggies are moving to center plate. Some restaurants are even putting veggies on the dessert menu – and we're not just talking carrot cake and sweet potato pie. Think tomato sorbet, chocolate beet baked goods or corn crème brûlée. That's different and fun to think about.

All Things Kale (and Other Groovy Greens)

Not sure who the PR people are for kale, but boy, they're good at their job. Kale and other dark greens such as beet greens, chard, turnip and mustard greens are on fire, and we're not just talking salads.

Firecracker SalsaSavory Fruit

Look for more fruits to be used in savory ways, such as fruit and bourbon sauces on grilled meats; spiced fruit slaws; salsas made with fruits, tomatoes, olives and herbs; or grain and pasta salads with added fruits.

Kids' Menus Grow Up

When it comes to trying new foods, kids truly are curious and more adventuresome than most of us give them credit for. We just need to encourage that curiosity. Predictors see mac 'n' cheese and chicken tenders tapering off menus and more mini adult items taking their place. Nudge the kiddos to try something new (with you).

Popcorn in a bowlPopcorn is THE Snack Food

Look for sweet and savory flavors and new uses for popcorn, such as in ice cream. Popcorn is a whole grain (that's a good thing), but eyes on the added flavorings and applications. A little dab may do it.

Room for Everyone at the Table

Whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free or vegan, more and more restaurants will offer menu items and services to accommodate the growing number of diners with diet restrictions.

Contributed by Sue Moores, M.S., R.D., Kowalski's Nutritionist

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