one green planet
one green planet

With 2013 behind us, we’re looking back and remembering the plant-based and healthy eating trends that made waves, like jackfruit and quinoa. Oh, and we can’t forget the trend that brought back chia seeds from its novelty décor (cha-cha-cha chia!) days and into our smoothies.

What can we expect for healthy eating trends this new year? Looking at the success of certain vegan and healthy living trends of 2013 can give us a good idea as to what to expect for the near future. Here are five healthy eating trends to look out for in 2014.

1. Hyperlocal food sourcing

The local craze has become more mainstream as consumers learn more about what time, travel, and preservatives do to their far-away-grown food. Remember when, suddenly, things were being advertised as local, and restaurants noted on their menus what ingredients came from nearby farms? It became hip. What will be even more hip is hyperlocal sourcing, where restaurants grow food themselves in a backyard garden, ensuring they know exactly what was used to produce it. There are restaurants that do this already, like Baagan restaurant in Roseville, CA. But I expect more restaurants in “trendy” areas will get even more local by using in-house grown herbs, for example.

2. Vegan food trucks

I hardly gave food trucks the time of day in NYC before the Cinnamon Snail burst onto the street. Most of the time when I found myself near a truck, it served waffles, chicken, meat, and more meat and fried things. But one day, a friend told me about The Cinnamon Snail, and I found myself stalking their Twitter to see when they were near me in Manhattan. They serve all vegan food, including out-of-this-world donuts. I’m a huge Snail fan, and I’m not alone. The past couple years have brought the Snail much praise and awards, and they seem to always have a line snaking down the sidewalk during the lunch rush. Their extreme popularity will pave the way for others to mimic the concept. Not only are they vegan, but they’re also cool. You want to be their friend, and their success will bring more vegan, mobile food to us soon (at least in NYC).

3. Vegan pies at chain pizza restaurants

There’s a difference between a vegan pizza and a pizza with no cheese. A pizza with no cheese, at least at a large pizza chain restaurant, means the baker just leaves out the cheese. The server may look at you with confusion when you ask them to make it with no cheese. Often, this means you get a pie that is too-crispy with dried sauce and zero flavor. But Domino’s tried creating a pizza that’s purposefully vegan, and they sold it in Israel. It hasn’t come to the states yet, but large pizza chains may catch on and try out vegan options in some of their restaurants. Since many chains have tried offering healthier pies, like whole wheat crust, going more healthier by nixing the cheese is in a very near future.

4. Focusing on one ingredient

Walking through a supermarket these days, I have more luck finding healthy, packaged options than I used to back when I became a teenager and a vegetarian. I love my organic sprouted grain bread, spinach pasta, and almond milk. In 2013, we saw more and more people make the switch from their regular bread to flaxseed bread, or from white pancakes to buckwheat waffles. Eating these products that focus on one ingredient is a good step in the direction of healthier eating, since they provide a familiar texture of other food. As packaged food companies try to re-think how to sell products that people are cutting down on, I think we’ll see an even larger surge of offerings that tout the benefits of one ingredient, be it packaged pasta or a restaurant meal.

5. Healthy snack delivery services

A common excuse we all use for not exercising or eating healthier is a lack of time, knowledge, or desire to learn how to change. They’re valid points; it’s no easy task to give up fatty, calorie-laden foods that taste good yet condition us to grab for more and more. It does take time to learn how to eat differently than you’re used to. Some companies help eliminate that time and research, like FreshDirect, which deliver healthy food right to your door. I imagine that more monthly-delivery, subscription-based services will pop up. The monthly box is full of different vegan snacks to help you learn about vegan products without doing the research.

Image Source: Raw Pizza with Spinach, Pesto and Marinated Vegetables