Food Favorites at FNCE
A professional highlight for me each fall is the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), held this year in Boston. More than 10,000 registered dietitians gather to nerd out on the latest nutrition news, network, and wander the expo hall to see and taste what’s new and different on the food front. Below you’ll find my round up of favorite finds.
If you regularly read My Week in Food or follow me on Instagram you’ll know already I’m a little obsessed with fermented foods. So maybe it comes as no surprise that when I stumbled upon the Farmhouse Culture folks, I found myself behaving like a starstruck teen meeting her favorite boy band. Stay tuned because these guys are coming out with a new line of crazy good beets, cauliflower, and other veggies that I plan to get my hands on STAT.
My favorite treats of the expo were these single-serve packets of dark chocolate-covered walnuts at the California Walnut Board booth. RIDICULOUS. Did I eat more than my fair share? Guilty as charged, which is why I’m secretly glad they aren’t sold on store shelves (though I do plan to make my own in the near future).
I’m not sure how I’ve missed these, since apparently Golden Berries from Navitas Naturals have been out for a while. I tasted them for the first time at the Expo and am smitten with this fiber- and vitamin-A rich dried fruit. Golden Berries remind me of a very tangy dried cherry…a little flavor bomb perfect for topping oats or folding into cookie dough.
I had a long chat with the folks at Jovial Foods, who specialize in flour, pasta, and other products made with Einkorn, an ancient wheat that may be less troublesome for those with gluten-sensitivity than modern American wheat. I left wanting to know more and pass this along for my GF friends to explore.
Something new on the scene in healthy pasta: Ronzoni Super Greens. Each serving delivers 20 percent of your daily value for iron and a heap of green veggies. I can’t attest to the taste, since I haven’t given it a whirl at home, but I plan to do so soon.
More healthy grains, in this case designed for uber convenience. These single-serve Q Cups (Q for quinoa) are organic, come in a number of tasty flavors, and are suitable for a quick work or school lunch.
I was happy to see the beverage of choice at the FNCE expo was, drum roll, water. It was music to my ears that Shasta is marketing 8-ounce cans of flavored sparkling water to schools in lieu of soda. I will also be keeping my eyes out for Ayala’s herbal water, available in flat and sparkling, which comes in a handful of sophisticated flavors.
How cute is this cookie? And guess what, not a drop of artificial color goes into that ruby red frosting. The Fancypants Baking Co. uses fruit and vegetable dyes instead. The brand sells their cookies at Whole Foods and other markets, and you can also order these themed cookies in a huge number of designs for home delivery.
Another standout among the sweets was a new line up of ice cream. Brio tastes to me like a high-calorie super premium ice cream, but has far less fat and less sugar without being pumped up with a bunch of junky ingredients. Not surprising, since the company was started by the founders of Earth’s Best Baby Food, the country’s first line of organic baby food. The ice cream is organic too.
My last taste of Boston didn’t come from the expo, but from a takeout hotspot called Sweet Green. It’s like a salad bar on steroids. Turns out there are outposts dotted across the country, including one right here in San Francisco. The fact that Sweet Green is attracting crowds that snake out the door at lunchtime (and is opening new shops in rapid succession) gives this dietitian heaps of hope that we are getting it right when it comes to good fast food.
Sidenote: If you like to be up on the latest trends, you might appreciate what RDN Janet Helm uncovered at the FNCE expo as well.