Food and Nutrition Geek Fest – Top 10

I had a fantastic time at the 2015 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE – pronounced Fence-E).  This is the premier conference for registered dietitian nutritionists and this year’s event did not disappoint.  I was there on behalf of (read: they paid for my time and travel to FNCE, but not for this post) my client, National Peanut Board, so I was happy to spend time at the booth and participate in a variety of things for them.

Nutrition Rockstar

FNCE featured a great social media hub this year — with a Nutrition Rockstar background!

As a follow up from the conference, I thought I’d share with you my Top 10 – top 5 new products and top 5 nutrition takeaways.

Five Favorite Foods from the Show

  1. Powdered Peanut Butter – I’m so excited to see powdered peanut butter come to market in a big way.  It’s been out there for a long time and used by manufacturers in protein rich bars and as a flavoring in cereals and other foods.  But now you can buy and use it yourself and it’s perfect for smoothies, stirred into oatmeal and yogurt, and even in baking.
  2. Yogurt, yogurt, and some more yogurt – There seemed to be more yogurt on the showroom floor than I
    Coffee + Yogurt

    Savory yogurt with cucumber, plus Pure Black iced coffee.

    remember seeing in the past, but it’s still awesome.  Siggi’s was there with their Skyr (sort of like Greek yogurt), which is high protein and low in sugar and totally delicious. Chobani was there with an amazing booth and featured fantastic savory offerings like plain Greek yogurt topped with cucumber, jalapeno, and a sprinkle of salt. Silk was also there with soy yogurt and totally changed my mind – I used to hate soy yogurt, but this was like a cross between yogurt and custard and completely enjoyable.  Finally, Maple Hill Creamery was there  with their grass-fed cow’s milk yogurt, which I’m a big fan of because it’s tasty with a lovely nutrition profile.

  3. Lentils – Canadian lentils council was there with a big booth and featured some amazing coconut lentils that blew me out of the water.  They were perfectly cooked and the coconut milk plus shredded unsweet coconut was just the perfect pairing.  Pulse council was there too, as was the North American Dry Peas and Lentil Council.  All highlighting the health benefits of eating more high fiber, nutrient rich lentils.  They don’t have to convince me, but I’m so glad they were there.
  4. Individually portioned chocolate covered frozen fruit – Dole shared their individually frozen, pre-portioned (only 80 calories!) chocolate covered bananas, strawberries, and pineapples.  Evidently, this isn’t new, but it was new to me and I was sold!
  5. Avocado ceviche – Not a real ceviche, the dish contained avocados paired with cauliflower, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, and was amazing in flavor and texture.  I’d have never tried that myself, even though I think I’m pretty adventurous and creative.  So glad they shared the idea!

    Avocado salsa

    Veggie rich avocado seviche served in the expo at FNCE.

Honorable Mention: Not really from the show, per se, I attended an event where they served ROASTED VEGETABLE KABOBS!  Ok, this must just be me, but I’ve never had those and these were totally beautiful with beets, carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.  Tasty and super pretty.

Five Education Session Takeaways:

  1. There’s a whole lot of healthy wasted food out there that could be rescued and used to feed hungry people in need.  Some examples include produce that isn’t the right shape for traditional packaging, dairy foods too close to their expiration dates, and slightly blemished (but still healthy and safe) foods.  One man is on a mission to do just that.
  2. Coming to your neighborhood supermarket or grocery retailer soon…Your own personal registered dietitian nutritionist.  Well, maybe.  There’s a movement consistent with changes in healthcare to help make preventive services and self-management of health easier and more accessible.  Many retailers have already recognized the value of having a RDN on staff at the corporate or regional level and soon we might just see RDNs at the store level too.
  3. It may be possible to help prevent some food allergies in children at highest risk for their development. Thanks to ground breaking research that showed a 70-85% reduction in the risk for developing peanut allergy,
    Wasted Food

    Lettuce that doesn’t fit the packaging is left in the field to be tilled under.

    American Academy of Pediatrics and other expert organizations worldwide now recommend early introduction of peanut protein.  In safe forms (such as thinned peanut butter), peanut proteins can be introduced to children between 4-6 months of age.  Not only that, researchers have found that maternal diets that are most like the Mediterranean diet resulted in lower rates of food allergies too.

  4. Naming your pictures with SEO smart titles on your websites actually helps improve your ranking on Google.
  5. I have to write a book.  Soon.

Honorable Mention: Not exactly connected to a session, but I have to say that I have the most amazing colleagues.  Registered dietitian nutritionists are an incredible group of women and men who are so very committed to making a difference in the lives of others through supporting access to affordable, nutritious, and sustainable foods.  Plus they are smart, funny, and good looking…who could ask for more?!

That’s my FNCE run down…if you’re a fellow RDN, what were your highs and lows?


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