I always leave the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) filled with enthusiasm, new ideas and recharged for the year ahead. Last weekend’s FNCE – appropriately called, Insights to Action, in Houston did more than that – it inspired a movement among our profession. A movement to get in the kitchen and play with food, teach others how to cook and photograph culinary creations to enhance every aspect of your communications efforts. There was something for everyone on the expo floor from vegans to vegetarians to meat lovers to omnivores – from what’s on your plate to what’s for dinner, here are some highlights from the expo floor:
- Cooking is a must. Ellie Kreiger, MS, RDN, the recipient of the Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Award, gave a thought-provoking, inspiring lecture on the culinary history of our profession and inspired us to get into the kitchen to educate about healthy food through cooking. “Cook, just cook,” – was a take-away statement.
- Food photography was a thrust. There was an emphasis on telling food and nutrition stories with images rather than a lot of words, the expo floor was a blase with colorful food photos – and social media opportunities and promotions. If you didn’t get to the pre-FNCE workshop, “Bringing Food Into Focus: A Blogger’s Guide to Food Photography and Styling”, check out the slides and handouts at eatright.org.
- USDA’s MyPlate took center stage. Nestle® had a gigantic colorful “Balance Your Plate” image anchoring their booth. You couldn’t miss their colorful array of vegetables and fruits adorning their booth with information on how to educate consumers on ways to get balance on their plate.
- Healthy fats are faves. Avocados, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds were represented all over the expo floor. For example, here’s a snapshot of the culinary creations at the Haas Avocado Board booth. They recently launched Love One Today™ – a science-based food and wellness program on their website, which offers culinary tips, recipes and nutrition facts. Check it out at www.avocadocentral.com.
- Protein is powerful. From dairy to plants to meat protein – they were all there. Dairy protein powerhouses like Chobani® Greek yogurt and Daisy® Brand Cottage Cheese were serving up samples of all varieties to meet every craving. Not only were the samples tailored to meet your needs, but they offered a menu of colorful menu options to excite the senses – and eyes (Insert Photo]. On the beef side of things, meat eaters were delighted to smell the aroma of beef chili coming from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (aka “Beef Check-Off”) Booth, with bowls of this hearty, meaty concoction being served up fast. Visit www.beefcheckoff.com for more information on beef.
- Antioxidant-rich foods and beverages were all the rage. Welch’s® has a fun photo booth, in which you felt like you were in the vineyards (see photo) with a glass of grape juice close by. Grapes from California® were giving out frozen grapes for a pop of sweet hydration on the expo floor while offering a healthy portfolio of recipes featuring grapes.
- Drinking grass is in vogue now. Amazing Grass® – a Newport Beach, CA-based company was serving up samples of their “Organic Green Superfood” beverages. With the promise of renewed energy, complete nutrition and great taste – they are worth a shot. (Plus, they have a BPA-free shaker that’s handy for taking your greens on the go!) Check them out at www.amazinggrass.com. I liked the wheat grass. The flavored ones are little more palatable! 🙂
One thing I am going to do differently is to take more photos of my food and post them to social media outlets (people want to SEE the food). There’s a great iphone app called Letterglow. It allows you to put words over your images, too (you can add a more personal touch that way!).
Follow the twitter conversation about FNCE with the hashtag #FNCE.
Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN
National Food & Nutrition Expert, Speaker & Writer
website & blog: VictoriaShantaRetelny.com