Predictions for 2013 in Food, Nutrition and Fitness

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Predictions for 2013 in , and Fitness

Body Weight Work

Trend: According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s worldwide survey, one fitness trend will be body weight training, which includes “back-to-basics” exercises like push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats and other exercises that use the body as resistance.

Why It Matters: I’ve always been a big supporter of this kind of workout, for a couple of reasons. It reduces injuries because you’re using only your own body weight, not heavy weights, and you don’t have to go to a fitness center — you can do most exercises at home.

Fit Tip: Check out the following to get started:

as You Age

Trend: The ACSM also believes that another trend will be an increase in functional fitness for older adults.

Why It Matters: There is significant research to show that engaging in strength and functional training activities can strengthen bones, reduce joint pain and reduce injuries from slips and falls.

Fit Tip: If you can afford it (or if you want to give a gift to a relative), hire a qualified certified personal trainer. Make sure to find one who has lots of experience with older adults, has insurance and is certified by ACSM or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Eating More Healthfully while Eating Out

Trend: According to the National Restaurant Association, more than seven out of 10 consumers say they are trying to eat better at restaurants now than they did two years ago.  Additionally, three-quarters of consumers say healthy menu options are an important factor when choosing a restaurant.

Other findings reported by the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot in 2013” survey (done in conjunction with the American Culinary Federation) are an increasing interest in children’s nutrition (including whole-grain foods) and in local sourcing, which also includes “hyper-local” sourcing, such as restaurant gardens.

Why It Matters: We eat out a lot — nearly half the time, in fact. And most high-calorie foods are consumed when eating away from the home. It’s also wonderful to know that restaurants are catching on and will be delivering healthier, fresher foods. I love the idea of a restaurant having its own garden — nice touch.

Fit Tip:

– Say no to mayo, tartar sauce, creamy dressings and extra cheese.
– Use mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper or vinegar as fat-free ways to season your food.
– In salads, watch the nuts, croutons and other add-ons.
– Chicken and fish can be good choices — but ONLY if they are grilled or broiled, NOT breaded or deep-fried.
– Instead of cheese, opt for lettuce, tomato and onion. Removing just one slice of cheese can save you about 100 calories.
– Order a salad or a broth-based soup to enjoy before your main meal. Either one will help to fill you up for very few calories so that you eat less of the fattening stuff.
Snack More

Trend: According to food consultants Baum and Whiteman, people are eating less during mealtime and making up for it by snacking more.  “Snacks account for one in five ‘eating occasions’ … multiple snacks now qualify as America’s ‘fourth meal.’ ”

Why It Matters: Research shows that snacking can actually help you eat less at meals. However, we tend to eat unhealthy, high-calorie snacks, such as candy, fries and cakes, that are not good for our health or waistline.

Fit Tip: Avoid high-carb snacks because they will be digested in about two hours. Instead, it’s better to have a mini-meal (e.g., half a sandwich). Also, keep in mind that eating protein and fat together increases the likelihood that you will be satisfied for a longer duration. Come up with five different snacks you enjoy that are low in calories, and keep them readily available. You should create snacks that are about 100 to 200 calories, depending on your daily calorie needs.

More Veggies

Trend: Technomic, a food-service research firm, predicts an increase in veggie eating. “Vegetables take their star turn. As more diners discover the joys of occasional meatless meals, the flirtation with vegetarian fare evolves into flexitarian fascination with actual vegetables. That means not only innovative salads but also creative presentations of roasted or steamed veggies, even the assertive ones like carrots, kale or Brussels sprouts. Vegetables at the center of the plate are welcomed by diners — who continue to seek fresh, local, healthful fare — as well as operators squeezed by rising costs for proteins.”

Why It Matters: Veggies matter! Haven’t you heard?  They’re loaded with antioxidants and are very high in nutrients and low in calories.

Fit Tip: For great recipes check out websites such as,  and

Not Just Wheat

Trend: Look for an increase in “other” grains — such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, wild rice, corn, oats and buckwheat — that do not contain gluten and are, therefore, being nudged to the fore as part of the movement toward gluten-free eating.

Why It Matters: There is more than just wheat out there to eat, and many people claim to be allergic to gluten.  There are alternatives — for instance, quinoa (not technically a grain but high in nutrients and protein).

Fit Tip: I’ve written about a few of these alternatives.

See Quinoa here:

and Bulgur and Sorghum here:

Calories on the Menu

Trend: Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on their menus and menu boards.  Additionally, values for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein have to be made available if requested by a customer.  Look for this information to be available at your local chain restaurant soon. While the law has already been passed, the FDA is still reviewing comments, but it should be implemented this year.

Why It Matters: It’s not all about calories, but calories are important for overall weight control.

Fit Tip: When you see this information on menu boards, use it. Realize that a typical person needs roughly 2,000 calories per day. To get a more accurate read on your personal calorie requirement see:

Digital Health

Trend: This is a fast-growing category that works on many different levels, including phone applications, health data gathering tools (e.g., Nike+ FuelBand, LINK by BodyMedia, Fitbit, Wii Fit scales, etc.) and telemedicine.

Why It Matters:  An increase in digital health tools means more control of our health.

Fit Tip: Find out more by visiting the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, or check out the exhibitors online at

and at

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