Welcome back! Yesterday, I shared a recap of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics‘ Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). You saw all of that hard work I was doing (wink, wink!), so the time has come for me to share with you some of the trends I spotted and products I loved at FNCE 2015…
Focus on REAL FOOD
Everywhere I turned, there were booths promoting REAL FOOD! It was nice to see simple and creative snack ideas that encourage people to get back to basics when it comes to eating. What do I mean when I say “real food?” In our office, we define real food as “anything that can be grown or killed.” I’m talking foods like eggs, tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, beans, whole grains, avocados, nuts, fish, meat, honey, etc. Check out these snack ideas:
- Hardboiled eggs on a stick…protein-packed, portable, and no need to touch the egg itself!
- Grapes become a sweet treat when frozen.
- Pre-portioned oatmeal cups…just add milk or water.
- Harvest Snaps
- Avocados can be mashed and stirred into a slaw or tuna salad instead of mayo.
Probiotics, Probiotics, Probiotics
Remember how I wrote about the importance of the gut microbiome yesterday? It’s probably no coincidence that probiotics are EVERYWHERE these days…in yogurt, kefir, your favorite beverage or smoothie, flavored powder, and pills and FOR EVERYONE…adults and kids.
So what is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit your GI tract, creating a “mini-ecosystem”. Our gut microbiota contains trillions of microorganisms. Your gut microbiota is specific to you…like your own personal identity card.
Research on the gut microbiome and probiotics is in its infancy, but so far probiotics…
- Facilitate digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- May have benefits in people with non-digestive issues like eczema or other skin conditions.
- Can serve as a complementary treatment for digestive diseases like IBS and Crohn’s disease.
- Optimize the body’s immune system by increasing good bacteria in the gut (especially following a round of antibiotics which kills good and bad bacteria).
- Keeps you “going” regularly (if you know what I mean 😉 … )
The Year of Pulses
Have you heard of pulses? Here’s a hint…you probably already have some of them hanging out in your pantry! They include dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Pulses are packed with nutrients, giving you a big nutritional bang for your buck. For this reason and the fact that they feed much of the world’s population, they are being called the “superfoods of the future.” Pulses contain protein, fiber, antioxidants, iron, folate and other nutrients.
Sharing the Truth about Food
With all of the propaganda, documentaries, and unofficial/unscientific studies out there about various foods, my clients come to me with lots of questions about where food comes from, how animals are cared for, and how the food on their table was grown and produced. Leslie Schilling, Rebecca Scritchfield, and I spent quite a bit of time at the “Ask a Farmer Anything” booth. You’ve probably heard a lot about “Farm to Table” and sustainability lately, and my clients have the same questions. What better way to learn than by talking to farmers themselves and visiting their farms?
Boning Up on Bone Health
Bone health isn’t just about drinking your milk to get enough Calcium and Vitamin D and getting plenty sunlight for
vitamin D production these days (although there seemed to be a focus on dairy at FNCE this year, too). Beyond milk and sunlight, you and your kids can do more to promote bone health…
Did You Know?
- Potassium, Magnesium, and Vitamin K play a role in bone health…and prunes contain all of these nutrients!
- Some mushrooms now contain Vitamin D.
- Exercises that involve jumping are most effective for building healthy bones.
- Eating leafy greens can promote healthy bones.
FNCE is a great place for trend-spotting, but so is your local grocery store! What trends with food and nutrition have you noticed lately? I’d love to hear from you!