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Top 10 health food trends for 2011

Michelle Dudash, RD, is nationally recognized as an expert in teaching people how health and food can happily co-exist. Through her 18 years of food business experience as a Le Cordon Bleu certified chef having cooked at a five star rest...

Here's to a healthy new year

The American Dietetic Association’s 2010 Food & Nutrition Conference offered a good glimpse of what’s hot and what’s not in health foods, and what will rule next year. Here are the top 10 health food trends for 2011.

Woman shopping at farmers market

1Sodium overshadows trans-fat

With the 2010 dietary guidelines release forthcoming, manufacturers have been reformulating products with less sodium. Campbell's soups with lower-sodium sea salt, Sargento's line of cheese that's 25 percent lower in sodium, and Subway's initiative to further reduce the salt in the their subs were signs of more to come.

2Gourmet gets a makeover

Imported food flown in from afar is so early-2000s. The new gourmet is anything in season, from the United States and grown humanely. Raisins brought sexy back stirred into delicate shortbread cookies and crab salad, while sustainable, domestic farm-raised barramundi fish garnered media attention.

3Simple ingredients

Janet Helm, MS, RD, the blogger behind Nutrition Unplugged, says the two big buzzwords are "clean" and "conscious." Foods manipulated to be fat-free, sugar-free and artificially colored have lost their luster and consumers will seek out foods with ingredients found in the pantry, not from a lab experiment.

4Going green goes mainstream

Eating eco-friendly is no longer exclusive to tree huggers, and sales in this category are booming. Manufacturers shouted it from the rooftops as they strive to help save the planet when sourcing local, organic ingredients, using recycled packaging and establishing fair-trade practices.

5Focusing on kids

Companies put their money where their mouth is by promoting healthier kids' meals. Quick-service restaurants include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and less sugar; the American Dietetic Association unveiled its Kids Eat Right campaign; and the National School Beverage Guidelines made strides.

Up next: 5 more health food trends for 2011 >>

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