FNCE 2017 Recap: Favorite New Food Products

Three weeks ago 13K dietitians (including me) descended on Chicago for the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). It was a crazy couple of days, packed to the brim with educational sessions, social events, and meetings. I came home completely wiped, but buzzing with inspiration and excitement about the future of food. 

View from the Chicago Architectural Foundation River Cruise. I've done this twice now and it's a great way to learn about Chicago. 

View from the Chicago Architectural Foundation River Cruise. I've done this twice now and it's a great way to learn about Chicago. 

One of the best parts of FNCE is exploring the expo floor. Here you can load up a tote bag up with samples, and taste some of the newest healthy products on the market. This year I sampled everything from coconut jerky , to probiotic juices (more on probiotics here), veggie milk, and farmer’s cheese. Below are my favorite nutritious discoveries from the show:

#1: That's It Veggie Bars + Bites

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That’s It’s original line of fruit bars have been one of my go-to travel snacks since I discovered them at Starbucks several years ago. This year the company showcased two new products at FNCE: veggie bars and ‘Bites’.

I love the idea of a savory granola bar, and the That’s It Veggie Bars are one of the better that I’ve seen on the market. These black-bean based bars contain just 5 ingredients, and pack 4g of protein, and 4g of fiber into each 80-90 kcal serving. 

On the other end of the spectrum, That’s It’s new chocolate-covered 'bites' were one of my favorite healthy sweet treat options from the expo. These little bundles of dried fruit and dark chocolate goodness contain 5 real-food ingredients, 6g of fiber and 150 kcal per serving. I’ll be stashing a pouch of these in my bag next time I fly. Who doesn’t love a healthy chocolate treat?

Silky smooth La Colombe draft latte, straight from the tap. 

Silky smooth La Colombe draft latte, straight from the tap. 

Born and raised in Sydney, I take my coffee seriously and La Colombe Draft does not disappoint. La Colombe infuses their low-fat milk and cold-pressed espresso mixture with nitrogen gas, which gives it a silky-smooth texture without adding fat. It’s seriously delicious; an excellent course of calcium and vitamin D; and free of added sugar. Read more about why coffee is good for you here

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Biena is another one of my non-perishable snacking favorites. Whether I am assembling a cheese board or packing for a trip, these crunchy chickpeas are usually featured. At FNCE I tried Biena’s new milk chocolate-covered chickpeas, and I could have devoured the entire sample bowl then and there. I love that they’re sweet, crunchy and made with real food! Thirty five chickpeas provides 140 kcal, 4g of fiber, 4g of protein, and a relatively modest 2.5g of saturated fat-- chocoholics rejoice!

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Perhaps one of the bigger changes that I noticed at the expo this year was the proliferation of FODMAP-friendly foods. FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, and a low FODMAP diet is often used to alleviate symptoms in people with IBS. Low FODMAPs is one of the more difficult dietary approaches to follow and can vary in length from weeks to lifelong depending on the results of the initial trial. I was encouraged to see new food products accommodating low FODMAPs, particularly grab-and-go bars which are often a landmine of FODMAP-rich ingredients. Happy Bars are made with real-food ingredients, contain ~200kcal, 3g of fiber and 8-10g of protein per serving, and an easy snacking option for someone trialing low-FODMAPs.

Creamy and delicious Bolthouse Farms pea protein milk. 

Creamy and delicious Bolthouse Farms pea protein milk. 

I tried half a dozen or so non-dairy milk products on the expo floor, including peanut, veggie, and almond milk, but this one was my favorite. With 10g of protein, and 5g of fat per serving, Bolthouse Farms Pea Protein Milk is creamier and more filling than your average non-dairy milk product. It’s fortified with the usual array of vitamin and minerals including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and phosphorous, and is a solid choice for those of you who struggle with dairy.