Eat Right Georgia

Chilly Weather Brings HOT Food Trends for 2016

Chilly Weather Brings HOT Food Trends for 2016
Tara Snow, RD, LD, GAND State Media Representative

Every year, I look forward to reading the National Restaurants Association’s, “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast”.  This is a forecast that predicts the top 20 food and menu trends for the upcoming year, but let’s keep in mind that it’s just a prediction based on chefs who are surveyed within the American Culinary Federation. 

Nonetheless, I find it to be a good pulse check as to what’s on the horizon for the year, and how it will potentially gauge the conversations I may have with clients, patients, and members of my community.  As a dietitian, I am particularly interested in how the past few years have shown a definite upswing on more nutritious foods with a focus on sustainability and local sourcing, and 2016 has repeated these trends particularly in the top five items of the list.

What’s Hot for 2016 (Top 5)?

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
  3. Locally grown produce
  4. Hyper-local sourcing
  5. Natural ingredients/minimally processed food

(Healthy Kids Meals also make the list at #7)

If you follow food trends at all (or at least eat out), you have surely noticed that Farm to Fork (or Table) and Slow Food movements are front and center. Community gardens, local Farmer’s Markets, and fitness groups are helping people better understand where their foods are sourced, and how to best prepare those foods for maximum health benefits. Most likely, as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, you have also been approached by a family member, neighbor, or co-worker to inquire about these local food movements and trends. As these trends become more visible, we should encourage our patients, colleagues, and communities to get involved by checking out a local farmer’s market, joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or planting their own garden.  One of the best resources available that provides a one-stop shopping for these items (and is free of service) is the USDA’s Local Food Directories This website offers search options specific to Farmers Markets, CSA’s, Food Hubs and On-farm Markets.  It’s as easy as clicking on a Directory, and searching by city and state for numerous locations within Georgia and across the country. (

Start Your Own Food Movement

Local products are not only fresher because they are at the peak of ripeness, but they also taste better, are easier on the environment, and help reduce our carbon footprint! Fresh produce and sustainable food choices are slowly becoming the stars of the plate, and are being advocated for by more chefs and dietitians not only within restaurants, but also at the family dinner table! Fruits, vegetables, beans, and peas are key features of some of the healthiest diets in the world. Spring is right around the corner so why not plant your own garden whether it be in your backyard, in the neighborhood, or at the workplace!  Check out additional resources at to support your efforts in fresh, local, and sustainable food movements.

Tara Snow, RDN, LD is the State Media Spokesperson for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and is the Corporate Health & Wellness Manager for Morrison Healthcare.

  1. Start a Garden with Your Family:

  1. For Tops in Nutrition Shop Farmer’s Markets

  1. Sustainable Eating.



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