The 69 Hottest Food Trends of 2019

How many of these buzz-worthy foods did you try?
Culinary cocktails with blow torch herb

From intriguing spices and experimental cuisines to ancient grains and new DIY foods, 2019 was a huge year for food trends. In 2019, The National Restaurant Association released its What's Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast, and there were definitely some things to take note of.

The National Restaurant Association compiled the data by surveying 700 American Culinary Federation members in 2018 and asking them to rate over 100 items as 2019's predicted "hot trend," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorite," respectively. Take a look back at what they deemed the top food trends of 2019, and see how many of them you've tried yourself over this year.

Top 10 trends for 2019

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These are the top 10 trends that came out above their fellow trend-setters out of the 11 categories the National Restaurant Association selected for their report.

1

Cannabis/CBD-infused Drinks

cbd oil on pile of marijuana leaves
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Nearly 77 percent of chefs surveyed for this report ranked cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend for 2019. Given the growing number of cannabis-based beverage companies and even brands like Pepsi reportedly exploring the idea of launching CBD-laced beverages of their own, it's no surprise this craze took the top spot.

2

Cannabis/CBD-infused Food

Cannabis infused pizza
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What's a cannabis based drink without some CBD-infused food to go along with it? A staggering 76 percent of chefs surveyed tapped this trend as the second most popular fad of the year.

3

Zero-Waste Cooking

Woman taking out the garbage trash
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It's officially cool to be eco-conscious. This trend entails transforming food scraps, damaged produce and leftovers into culinary delights, which means chefs are taking a second look at items they trashed in the past. For example, some culinary pros are using coffee grinds to flavor homemade ice cream and showcasing cabbage butts in crowd-pleasing stir-fries.

4

Globally Inspired Breakfast Dishes

Paleo casserole shakshuka dish in a skillet with parsley
Rebecca Firkser/Eat This, Not That!

While waffles and omelets will always be accepted breakfast foods, globally inspired breakfast items had their chance to shine. Shakshuka—a poached egg dish made with tomatoes and spices that originated in North Africa— is becoming increasingly popular in locales like Los Angeles and New York and was a hit in 2019.

5

Global Flavors in Kids' Meals

falafel and tzaziki
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Little ones love to experiment with new foods and flavors as well. Eats such as falafel, dumplings and hummus are becoming increasingly popular with the kiddos.

6

Hyper-Local

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While locally sourced ingredients have been trending for years, many restaurants opted to go hyper-local in 2019, meaning they grow produce in their own gardens.

7

New Cuts of Meat

Merlot cut steak
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Traditional cuts such as the ribeye, T-bone, and filet are officially a thing of the past. Now, it's all about the shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, and Merlot cut.

8

Veggie-centric/Vegetable-Forward Cuisine

woman chopping tomatoes on cutting board with meal prep container in front of her, meal prep containers
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Who says vegetables are only for vegetarians? An increased interest in veggie-heavy cuisine showed that even the carnivores among us are eager to chow down on some greens.

9

Chef-Driven Fast-Casual Concepts

Pizzeria locale
@PizzeriaLocale/Twitter

Looking for a balance between fine dining and casual eating? This is it. Chef-driving fast-casual dining provides chefs with opportunities to create signature meals in more laid-back settings, while consumers get food of higher quality than they would at a casual restaurant, prepared by esteemed chefs, and at competitive prices. Denver-based Pizzeria Locale, for example, is operated by Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, a James Beard Award winner.

10

Craft/Artisan/Locally-Produced Spirits

gimlet cocktail in glass with cucumber garnish
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Food isn't the only thing that stayed local in 2019. Locally produced spirits, as well as wine and beer, were also increasingly popular.

Top Kids' Meals Trends in 2019

little boy and girl eating snack at school, peanut free preschool snacks
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Food trends aren't just for adults! There were also some notable trends chefs identified in kids' meals.

11

Global flavors in Kids' meals

Chicken teriyaki bento box lunch meal prep
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If you haven't gotten the hint yet, global foods were everywhere you turned in 2019—including on your kids' plates. Get ready to introduce your little ones to beloved ethnic staples such as tacos, teriyaki, and sushi.

12

Gourmet Items in Kids' Meals

Lobster mac and cheese
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Kid cuisine staples include mac and cheese and french fries, but in 2019, little ones' meals got an upgrade. For example, lobster mac and cheese and sriracha-topped pizza made an appearance for the pint-sized.

13

Healthful Kids' Meals

young girls with pigtails eating snack at a table, peanut free preschool snacks
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Happy Meals may be one of the most popular fast food items of all time, but 2019 was the year for healthy entrees for kids.

14

Whole Grain Items in Kids' Meals

Holding brown rice in hand over a glass bowl of rice
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Who says whole grains are just for adults? Including foods such as brown rice and quinoa in meals for kids was a popular trend in 2019.

15

Sliders/Mini-Burgers In Kids' Meals

Kid eating burger
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Burger sliders have been popular among adults for years, but now the shrunken eats hit the pint-sized set. How are we only just thinking of giving tiny burgers to tiny people? It seems like a perfect match!

The Top Snacks/Sweets Trends in 2019

Doughnuts
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Sweet! Americans love their sugar, and now, chefs are finding even more creative ways to use it.

16

Thai-Rolled Ice Cream

Thai rolled ice cream
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We've already been introduced to Thai-rolled ice cream, and apparently, it's sticking around for 2019. In fact, it's actually a trend on the rise. No complaints here!

17

Doughnuts With Non-Traditional Filling

Doughnut with cream lemon filling
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We can't ever remember a time when doughnuts weren't on-trend. But 2019 was specifically all about doughnuts with non-traditional fillings, such as yuzu curd, and espresso cardamom.

18

Chocolate

Milk Chocolate
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As far as sweets go, it's almost impossible to remember a time when chocolate wasn't on-trend, but in 2019 chefs were particularly interested in responsibly sourced chocolate and new flavors of the sweet stuff.

19

Injera Chips

Injera Chips
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These crisps are made from pieces of the Ethiopian flatbread called injera. They are flavor-packed and airy yet crispy, meaning they're basically the ideal sweet snack.

20

Artisan/House-Made Ice Cream

ice cream
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As beloved as a pint of Ben & Jerry's is, there's something special about ice cream that's house-made as opposed to mass-produced. Good thing the artisanal stuff is still trendy!

Top Produce Trends in 2019

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Produce sounds like a boring category, but that doesn't mean it's not ripe for change. There were many specific herbs, fruits, and vegetables that shook up the produce aisle this year.

21

Uncommon Herbs

Lovage
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Sure, you're well aware of cilantro, parsley, and thyme, but have you heard of chervil, lovage, lemon balm, and papalo? By the end of 2019, you'll know all about 'em.

22

Locally Sourced Produce

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Buying bananas from South America and avocados from Mexico is a thing of the past. In 2019, locally sourced produce was all the rage.

23

Imperfect/Ugly Produce

Imperfect produce ugly carrots
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Who says your food always has to be Instagram-worthy? In fact, ugly produce made a case for itself in 2019, and we couldn't be more psyched about it. Bring on those weird-looking carrots!

24

Exotic Fruit

fresh guava slices with knife
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News flash: apples, bananas, and the like are totally boring. These days, it's all about exotic fruits such as rambutan, dragon fruit, paw paw, and guava.

25

Superfruits

acai bowl with blueberries and kiwi in white bowl with spoon
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Superfruits are designated as such because they have a myriad of health benefits, and in addition to blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi, we can now count Acai, goji berries, and mangosteens as part of the extra-nutritious group.

RELATED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.

Top Dishes Trends in 2019

cauliflower rice cooked on a cast iron skillet
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

You probably saw a lot of these trendy dishes on restaurants around the country this year.

26

Globablly-Inspired Breakfast Items

Chocolate banana crepe
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Breakfast is no longer about simply scrambling an egg and chowing down on toast. Thanks to an overall increased interest in foods from around the world, popular breakfast choices in 2019 included crepes and kielbasa.

27

Vegetable Carb Substitutes

zucchini pasta marinara sauce
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We've seen the emergence of cauliflower rice, and zoodles (zucchini noodles) already, but there were more veggie carb substitutes this year, as this trend was on the rise.

28

Street Food-Inspired Dishes

Carne asada street taco
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There's a time and place for fine dining, but in 2019, street food staples such as tempura, tacos, kabobs, and dumplings reigned supreme.

29

Katsu Sando

Japanese katsu sando
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This Japanese cutlet sandwich (typically made with pork likely achieved significant popularity in 2019 thanks to social media apps like Instagram. This trendy food certainly photographs well!

30

House-Made/Artisan Pickles

New pickled cucumbers in glass jar with herbs and garlic

In addition to house-made condiments, house-made pickles were also big this year. Call us crazy, but burgers in 2019 shaped up to be especially delicious with a couple of those spears by their side.

Top Condiments Trends in 2019

Ketchup and fries
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It's not just the food you're eating, but what you're dousing on top of it and dipping it in. These are the top condiment trends we saw in 2019.

31

House-Made Condiments

Homemade ketchup
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House-made condiments—like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise—gave Heinz a run for their money in 2019.

32

North African Condiments

Harissa paste
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Who needs ketchup when you can add flavor to your meal with things like dukkah, zhug, harissa, and ras el hanout? These and other North African condiments were in-demand in 2019.

33

Shichimi Spice/Powder

Shichimi spice mix
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This spicy powdered assortment of dried chili peppers and other seasonings has long been popular in Japan (where it hails from) but made a name for itself in America in 2019. It's especially tasty when added to noodle soup dishes.

34

Gochujang

Gochujang
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Also known as Korean red-pepper paste, this condiment packs quite a quick. Use it to add a blast of flavor to marinades for meat dishes, dipping sauces, or to punch up stews or soups.

35

Berbere

Berbere spice
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This Ethiopian spice mix, which usually contains some combination of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain, nigella, and fenugreek, is perfect for mixing into stews or stir-fries. You can also sneak some into burgers or meatballs.

Top Global Flavors Trends in 2019

Table of traditional West African foods
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You're not just restricted to Italian and Chinese food anymore. Check out the other countries that are dominating the restaurant scene.

36

North African Cuisine

Tajine north african cuisine morroco
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North African dishes that were in favor in 2019 included fuul—a fava bean stew that's served in Egypt— and tajines, slow-cooked savory stews that are popular in Morocco and Algeria.

37

West African Cuisine

Table of traditional West African foods
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Africa strikes again! West African favorites include superkanja, an okra stew from Gambia, and eddoe, a root vegetable soup made with meat or fish from Liberia.

38

Peruvian Cuisine

Peruvian lomo saltado
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You're probably slightly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, and by the time 2019 is said and done, you'll be acquainted with the food of Brazil's neighbor—Peru—as well.

39

Ethiopian/Eritrean Cuisine

Ethiopian food
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We've already mentioned the increased interest in Ethiopian exports berbere and injera, so it's that the general cuisine from the African nation is becoming more popular.

40

Filipino Cuisine

Filipino dish
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Not familiar with Filipino cuisine? By the end of 2019, you'll be saying, "Pass the pancit!"

Top Grains/Pasta Trends in 2019

different types of grains
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Grains are often the base of many of our meals. Find out which trendy grains will be replacing that rice on your plate.

41

Protein-Rich Grains and Seeds

quinoa bowl
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If you're looking to lose some weight, you'll be relieved to know protein-rich grains—which melt away belly fat—are still popular. To get a head start, stock up on hemp, chia, quinoa, and flax.

42

Non-Wheat Noodles and Pasta

shirataki noodles
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Non-wheat noodles such as those made of quinoa, rice, and buckwheat (like soba noodles) typically have fewer calories than wheat pasta, so the fact that they are trending in 2019 is great news for those looking to lose weight.

43

Ancient Grains

raw organic dry kamut berries grain
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As their name suggests, Ancient grains such as Kamut, spelt, amaranth, and lupin have been around for thousands of years, but they made a comeback in 2019.

44

Savory Granola

Honey pecan cherry granola
Jason Donnelly/Eat This, Not That!

Under the impression that granola can only be sweet? Think again! Savory options made with foods such as oats, fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper were well-liked in 2019.

45

Teff

Teff in a bowl
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This grain, which is native to Africa, is about the size of a poppy seed. It also comes in a variety of colors and boasts an earthy flavor. The best part? Teff is packed with protein—a 100-gram serving packs nearly 4 grams of the muscle-building nutrient.

Top Protein Trends in 2019

Defrosted meat on aluminum foil with spices added to it
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Everyone loves protein, but which forms of the macronutrient are particularly interesting to chefs? Find out.

46

New Cuts of Meat

Merlot cut steak
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You've probably heard of a New York Strip steak, but what about a Vegas Strip Steak? It's just one of the new cuts of meat that was popular in 2019. Other new cuts on the rise include the shoulder tender, oyster steak, and, Merlot cut.

47

Plant-Based Sausages and Burgers

plant based cali veggie burger with egg
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Vegetarians and vegans will be pleased to know that plant-based burgers were poised to be a hot food trend, and if you take a look at the frozen food aisle in the supermarket, you'll see tons of delicious options now.

48

Locally Sourced Meat and Seafood

cow eating grass
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Not only do locally sourced protein sources make you feel good, they're better for the environment, too.

49

Sustainable Seafood

wild salmon with garnish
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With mounting concern about the environment, it should come as no surprise that sustainable seafood was slated to be a hot trend in 2019.

50

Heritage-Breed Meats

Roast beef herbs
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Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by farmers in the past, and 2019 was the year of heritage breed meats. In other words, get ready for some Berkshire Duroc and Gloucestershire Old Spots pork.

Top Non-Alcoholic Beverage Trends in 2019

Business man drinking coffee in a cafe
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How will you hydrate? These trendy beverages are worth the sip.

51

Cannabis/CBD-Infused Drinks

Pouring pitcher of CBD water tea

According to the chefs who provided feedback for this report, infusing foods with CBD could create unique cuisine opportunities and potential new markets for experiential dining occasions.

52

Gazoz

Gazoz
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It may have been the summer of White Claw, but this nonalcoholic spritzer from Israel also had a serious moment in 2019.

53

Craft/House-Roasted Coffee

Coffee beans
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Step aside, Starbucks! Craft coffee was popular in 2019.

54

Nitrogen/Cold Brew Coffee

Nitro cold brew coffee
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What started as a trend among hipsters gained a ton of traction in 2019.

Top Alcoholic Beverage Trends in 2019

Vodka shots
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These are the creative ways you've been boozing in 2019—and likely into 2020.

55

Craft/Artisan/Locally Produced Spirits

Distill spirits
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Not only do locally produced craft spirits benefit their respective local economies, but they tend to cost less than a beer imported from Japan or wine hailing from France.

56

Onsite Barrel-Aged Drinks

Barrel age alcohol
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In sticking with the local theme, barrel-aged drinks crafted at the restaurants or breweries where they're sold were in favor in 2019.

57

Culinary Cocktails

Culinary cocktails with blow torch herb
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What's a culinary cocktail, you ask? Think savory libations, herb-infused drinks, and beverages made with fresh ingredients.

58

Locally Produced Spirits/Wine/Beer

Biodynamic wine in glasses at the table
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Another local fad that was on the rise in 2019! This trend proves that distillers aren't the only ones crafting their spirits locally. Brewers of wine and beer are carrying on the trend themselves.

59

Rosé Cider

Rose cider
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This trend, which was popular in 2019, combines the unofficial wine of summer with a beloved autumnal drink.

Top Restaurant Concepts Trends in 2019

Chef making a dish in an open kitchen
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Have you ever noticed that a couple smoothie places open up in your town all around the same time? That's because there are certain restaurant concepts that trend every year. Here's what was popular in 2019.

60

Chef-Driven Fast Casual Concepts

Dig inn market nyc storefront
MDLR Media/Shutterstock

Chef-driving fast-casual restaurants basically take the best things about fine dining and the perks of a casual restaurant and combine them. The best part? Customers get expertly prepared high-quality food at low prices.

61

Pop-Up Temporary Restaurants

pop up store
v74/Shutterstock

2019 was the year of pop-up restaurants. Many even had themes like the temporary Saved By the Bell Eatery in Los Angeles, and the Friends-themed Central Perk coffee house that popped up in New York City.

62

Commissaries

Commerical kitchen space
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This refers to a shared commercial kitchen space. Think of it as WeWork, but for chefs!

63

Small-Plate Menus

Tapas
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Why order one large meal when you can order several small plates? Small-plates menus and restaurant concepts were very popular in 2019.

64

Food Halls

Food halls
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Food halls, which are comprised of several different restaurants serving all kinds of food, popped up everywhere from New York to Los Angeles in 2019.

Top Culinary Concept Trends in 2019

Waiter acting friendly and normal to customers at a restaurant.
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These trendy items were spotted on restaurant menus across the country in 2019.

65

Cannabis/CBD-Infused Food

Cannabis infused pizza

Whether it's in food or drinks, cannabis and CBD-infused eats were just about everywhere you looked in 2019.

66

Zero-Waste Cooking

Shrimp stock
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This trend involves creating elevated cuisine with food scraps—think using shrimp shells to make stock or turning strawberry tops into a tasty simple syrup.

67

Hyper-Local

Friendsgiving holiday dinner party
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Hyper-local eateries are those that have their own gardens and/or whip up house-made items like condiments, spirits and more.

68

Veggie-centric Cuisine

Vegetarian dinner at restaurant
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Vegetable-forward cuisine had a major moment in 2019, which was bolstered by the fact that even meat lovers were looking for ways to up their veggie intake.

69

Natural Ingredients/Clean Menus

open menu with photos and description of dishes
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This is yet another example of a healthy trend that was popular in 2019. Using natural ingredients means cooking with unprocessed foods that haven't been loaded with artificial dyes, added sugars, or more unhealthy substances.

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