December 13/Washington/National Restaurant Association -- A survey of U.S. chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) indicates healthier kids fare and local sourcing of food will be the hottest trends on U.S. restaurant menus in 2012.

"Nutrition -- especially when it comes to children -- is becoming a major focus for the nation's nearly one million restaurants, in tune with consumers' increasing interest in healthful eating," said Joy Dubost, director of nutrition & healthy living for the NRA.

To accomplish that goal, 55% of the chefs said they would offer a wider variety of vegetable and fruit side dishes, 19% said they would add more produce in existing recipes, and 16% said they would follow MyPlate’s visual guideline of making fruits and vegetables half the plate.

In addition to healthier kids food, the chefs also said local sourcing of food would be on the increase.

"Local sourcing of everything -- from meat and fish, to produce, to alcoholic beverages -- is another big trend for 2012. Local farms and food producers have become an important source of ingredients for chefs and restaurateurs wishing to support the members of their business community and highlight seasonal ingredients on menus," Dubost said.

 From the December 13, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.