Once a year, ten thousand dietitians gather in one place for the largest food and nutrition conference. It’s like aribathda, but with kale, Chobani, and tweeting. The food and nutrition conference expo for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or ‘FNCE’, was held in Philidelphia, PA over the past few days. From 7 am to 11 pm each day I packed in as many nutrition and food events as my body could handle and it was ah-ma-zing. As a FNCE newbie, it’s hard to describe what it feels like to finally being with your ‘tribe’ in person. While there are roughly 1,300 dietitians in Virginia, not many of them work in the same field of nutrition that I do. To meet so many of the like-minded fabulous women (and one or two of the guys) who I have come to know through social media was something I’ll never forget. Hugging, clinking Prosecco glasses, and simultaneously Instagramming our food is something that just has to be done in person.
But FNCE was particularly special for me: I was honored by the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group with the Professional Development award. And for every ‘Congratulations!’ that each of said to me through out the weekend, I want to say thank you all. Most importantly, thank you to the dietitians who showed me I didn’t have to go work in a hospital and led me down this path. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
But on to a few of my favorite FNCE events in brief! I have the newest healthy products and data to share later but these are my top ten favorite FNCE stops I made.
1. NEDPG Executive Meeting: As an award winner I was so, so lucky to get a behind the scenes look at everything the NE board works on. These women perfect each of the sub groups and their inner workings while providing members with the best webinars and learning experiences. They are a power house! If you’re a nutrition professional this group is a must.
2. Redding Terminal Market: If you go to Philly, this jam-packed food market is a must. Grab a map and think about what you want to eat first! The fresh pasta stall made the best veggie lasagna I’ve ever had, while the vegetarian snack station made a mean broccoli slaw.
3. Weber Shandwick Cocktail Event: Hosted by Janet Helm, this event is packed! Every time I turned around I saw media experts I admire and I was thrilled to chat with some of my favorites.
4. NEDPG Event -Loews Hotel: Sponsored by McCormick spices, I absolutely loved trying their spice centered cocktails. My drink for the night was a lemon thyme cocktail with gin. Throughout the evening, we rotated tables and networked with dietitians at our tables (like speed dating). Absolutely bring business cards! As a side note, if anyone has photos from that night from the mini award presentation, email me!
5. Ellie Krieger in ‘Is Eating Less the Best Message?’: As the first full day of the conference, I attended a ton of great sessions. This one, was one of my favorites. TV cooking star Ellie is also a dietitian. She covered some of the best ways to infuse healthy into delicious food which I’ll blog about later.
6. The EXPO: Free spatulas? Dried fruit samples? Is this heaven??! The expo floor is home to what seems like hundreds of brands. We get to see what new products are on the way like sugar free tomato sauce, and chat with reps to ask questions. Also, to take photos like the one above at Welch’s with Elizabeth.
7. Dinner at Lolita: Lo and behold, it was also Philly restaurant week. The husband was able to snag me for the night to hit Lolita for a seriously good Mexican fusion restaurant. He had a kale salad and guac while I chose mushroom gorditas with three chili tofu. If you’re in Philly it’s excellent!
8. Food and Technology Seminar: Hosted by one of the minds in Epicurious and other great speakers, I learned a lot about what users are searching for on food blogs. There’s been an 11% increase on the search term ‘healthy….(snack/dinner)’ each year for the past few years! We also see that quinoa, kale and salmon are consistently in the top ten recipe searches. Kale yeah.
9. Social Media with Keri Gans and Bonnie Taub Dix: While there were several social media focused sessions at FNCE, this was the ‘big one’. Both Bonnie and Keri have been on everything from the Today Show to the nightly news. The bottom line? Dietitians simply must get on line.
10. The Chobani Dinner: Restaurant to ourselves? Chobani in every dish? I was over the moon with this invite. I can’t summarize this one here. It deserves it’s own post.
Michelle Dudash and her new book!
Sherry the 'Peanut RD' & Jill Weisenberger
Can I add a number 11?? Finally meeting so many of my favorites in person! For everyone that thinks it’s awkard to ‘know’ someone online, you clearly don’t know bloggers. Love to each of you.
How was your FNCE? Did you feel the same when you attended your first blogging conference?
Disclosure: NEDPG graciously paid for my FNCE attendance as the Professional Development award recipient.