It’s been one week since my return from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, and I’m still trying to dig my way out from under a GIANT pile of unread emails. (Some things never change!)
My conference began with a food photography workshop for dietitians that I helped teach. You can read about it in my two-part blog series: Smart Phone Food Photography and Smart Phone Food Photo Editing.
Once the workshop was behind me, it was time to network, learn, and play. One of the best things about FNCE is connecting with old and new RD friends. Here I am in front of a “selfie” wall with Carolyn O’Neil, author of The Slim Down South Cookbook (and my former co-worker at CNN where we covered food & nutrition news “back in the day”) and Janet Helm, a pioneer in nutrition communications and the blogger behind, Nutrition Unplugged.
Oh, and here I am with The Nutrition Twins who were helping to spread the word (excuse the pun) about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which has 70% less saturated fat than butter and also contains good-for-you ALA omega-3 fats.
You get to do silly things at FNCE like walk around in this 20-pound body fat vest from Nasco. The vest is used as a teaching tool, and based on the pain in my shoulders, it offers educators a way to reinforce the negative effects of weight gain.
There were hundreds of scientific sessions to choose from at the conference—everything from the gut microbiome and its relationship to human health to yoga and its connection to overall health—and on the exhibit room floor, there was ample opportunity to preview hot food trends … everything from protein (the new nutrition darling), to gluten free to healthier nibbles for kids to beans, beans, and more beans!
Back in the 80s and 90s when I first started going to FNCE, fat free, low fat, and cholesterol free were all the rage. Now at the show, foods rich in good-for-you fats like avocados, almonds, and seafood have taken center stage. (Thank goodness.)
This year, I also noticed a lot of products touting protein like this Better Granola from Barbara’s with 9 grams of protein per serving. I just looked at some other granola cereals in my pantry and they have less than half that amount.
Beans and legumes were all over the expo floor. I loved the Eat Well Embrace Life lineup of hummus flavors, especially their beet hummus made with white beans, beets, and tahini.
And inside this meal starter kit from Cook Simple (think “healthier hamburger helper”) you’ll find wholesome ingredients like red beans, black beans and quinoa. Add lean ground beef or turkey, and you’ve got dinner.
Speaking of legumes, the National Peanut Board hosted a dinner with dietitian dynamo, Toby Amidor and celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson. I loved his Boiled Peanut Hummus, Peanut Soup with Pickled Green Tomato and Feta, and Pan Roasted Wild Salmon with Peanuts. (I was invited to the dinner, which I did not pay for, though the opinions in this post are my own.)
Chef Acheson sports a culinary tattoo as well as a deep love of southern food and sustainability. He sources many of his ingredients locally including the peanuts featured on the menu.
At the dinner, I learned about the Peanut Board’s new resource website, PeanutAllergyFacts.org, so you may want to check that out.
Back at the convention center, other interesting trends included healthier “kid” foods like these Veggie Snackers from Bolthouse Farms.
… and siggi’s squeezable yogurt tubes with 5 ingredients or less and 6 grams of sugar or less. (I first tried Siggi’s yogurt in Iceland two summers ago, and it’s definitely now a favorite at my house.)
Even Joy Bauer was there with her new mail-order line of Nourish Snacks. My favorite is the King Corn, and I may be wrong here, but I do believe that Joy’s line of better-for-you snacks will soon be available at some retail stores across the country. Stay tuned for that.
Another player in the home-delivery food space is Luvo. Their flatbreads are made with whole grains, and I loved the Chicken Chili Verde that they sampled at their booth.
Since FNCE took place at Atlanta’s World Congress Center, I had an opportunity to stop by the CNN Center where I used to work with mentor and friend, Carolyn O’Neil, the first registered dietitian to cover food and nutrition on television!
I always leave FNCE exhausted but inspired. My goals—other than the obvious one of tackling my ever-growing email pile—is to continue working hard to educate families about eating right.