Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Top Food Finds from FNCE

I just spent a few days at the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo, where thousands of registered dietitians gather to get a shot in the arm of nutrition research and information. Included was a giant hall of food companies marketing their wares. After combing the aisles and chatting with folks about everything from chia seed nuggets to portion-controlled plateware, here are some of the products that I thought worth sharing:

A Chip Worth Choosing–The main ingredients in these savory, crunchy chips from Beanitos are black beans and rice. As such, a serving boasts 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, all with just 5 ingredients for the Black Bean variety. Served with a side of salsa, I expect these to get a thumbs of from my kids.

Yummy Pumpkin Peanut Butter –The folks from Libby’s were sampling a tasty sandwich made by whipping together peanut butter with pumpkin puree and topping it with sliced bananas. Seems just right for this time of year when you might have a bit of extra pumpkin puree leftover from making pies or muffins.
DIY Frozen Treat –I’d heard about these Yonanas machines, but hadn’t seen them in action, or tasted the goods. It’s a gizmo that whips fruit, with or without other ingredients, into a cold, frozen treat. Pretty tasty stuff, especially for those with kids who are a bit fruit-averse. I’d say best suited to the gadget happy since they go for about $50 bucks a pop.

Not a Raisin or a Craisin — I brought home little packets of these Plum Amazins for my kids to try since I thought they were pretty addictive. Just chopped up dried plums, they can fill in for raisins, currants, or dried cranberries in trail mix, over hot cereal, or in baked goods. They have about half the natural sugar of raisins and 50 percent more fiber, plus, it’s always good to have something new in the repertoire.

The New Stevia?–Perhaps I’m a little behind the times since I didn’t know a thing about monk fruit, a small melon from Asia prized for its intense sweetness (150 times greater than sugar). Only a tiny amount is needed to make foods sweet, which means zero calories in a serving. It’s used in a number of manufactured products and is now marketed as an alternative to low calorie sweeteners under the brand Nectresse.

Juicy News — I chatted with the folks from Jamba Juice about my wish that their serving sizes were more appropriate for kids (mine hate it when I make them split a smoothie). Turns out Jamba Juice agrees. Early in 2013, they’re coming out with a kids menu, which will include serving sizes for pint-size appetites. The jury is out as to what the rest of the menu will look like, but smaller cups is a great start.

Chocolate Fix with a Calcium Boost— I’m wary of candy promoted as health food since it rarely does a satisfactory job of tasting good and being nutritious. But I have to hand it to Adora for making a scrumptious nugget of chocolate that packs in 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of Vitamin D in every 30 calorie foiled wrapped treat. Perhaps the fact that the product was developed by a confectioner, as opposed to a supplement company, explains why flavor comes first. For my afternoon fix on days when I come up short of calcium, not bad.