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2014's Top Food Trends: Gluten-Free & Full-Fat

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With each year, there seems to be a new wave of food trends. One year it was the Atkins diet, another year it's juicing and fondue.

But this year, it's all about clean, fresh, lean and real foods, according to a dietician WCCO's Natalie Nyhus talked with.

According to Christina Meyer-Jax, one of the trends that's about to take it to the next level in 2014 -- gluten-free food items.

"Gluten-free has been around awhile. People think (it's a) fad or a trend, but it's almost going into the mainstream so much that it is going to be a $6.6 billion industry in the U.S. by 2017," Meyer-Jax said. "Eighteen percent of households in America eat gluten-free products."

In conjunction with that trend, Meyer-Jax said that many will be embracing ancient grains, the kind that most in recent generations never ate as kids. Meyer-Jax pointed out such grains as quinoa, millet, chia, buckwheat and hemp. Many of them are being used in breads, granola bars and cereals.

"Instead of just having oats, we are eating healthy grains that are high in omega-3's and high in fiber," Meyer-Jax said.

Another trend that's catching on again is a bit of a throwback -- busting out that Crock-Pot. That's right, slow cooking is once again being embraced by conscientious dieters. Meyer-Jax said it's perfect because you can use healthy ingredients, throw everything together in the morning, and arrive back home to a great-smelling meal.

And because the number one food trend has always been and always will be that food should taste good, Meyer-Jax said that many are back to embracing healthy fats. Given the appropriate moderation, it's a calorie-dense and even holds some potentially medicinal properties, according to Meyer-Jax.

That means low-fat is out. People are going for the real-deal full-fat rather than the reduced fat or fat free foods, which usually have added sugars to make up for lost flavor.

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