Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Healthful foods, child nutrition tops on NRA's trends survey

Providing more healthful and flavorful menu options for children has ranked as a top culinary trend in the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast.

According to this year’s survey about 1,300 professional chef-members of the American Culinary Federation, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and oven-baked items all ranked as top trends in the category of kids’ meals. This year’s respondents further noted they make strong efforts to ensure their dishes and recipes are more healthful.

Additionally, the survey determined that in the categories of healthful dining and child nutrition, five trends in particular ranked as Top 20 trends overall. They were:

4. Healthful kids’ meals
7. Children’s nutrition
12. Whole grain items in kids’ meals
13. Health and nutrition
19. Fruits and vegetables as children’s side items

“The What's Hot survey confirms the enthusiasm we are hearing from chefs and restaurants participating in the Kids LiveWell program,” said Anita Jones-Mueller, founder and president of Healthy Dining., the California-based nutrition consultant and co-creator of the NRA’s Kids LiveWell child nutrition initiative. “The Kids LiveWell choices emphasize lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy -- the ingredients that help our nation’s children grow, thrive and be their best.”

Thomas Macrina, the ACF’s national president, agreed, saying, “The American Culinary Federation chefs who took part in this survey understand that…ongoing efforts to provide more healthful foods –especially for children benefits everyone. Chefs recognize that nutrition is a vital component of the foodservice industry, and constantly revise and update recipes to reflect the concerns and desires of a diverse group of consumers who are looking for good food choices to best meet their nutrition and other needs.”

Joy Dubost, the NRA’s director of nutrition and healthy living, added that the information contained in this year’s survey is encouraging because “it shows this is a true trend and not just a fad.”

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