Nutrition Expert on Food and Nutrition Trends at the ADA Convention

KIND Healthy Grains

It’s interesting to reflect on how my approach to an expo hall has evolved. As a college student, I felt compelled to visit each and every vendor, which left me feeling nauseous and ready for a nap. These days I plan my time well beforehand and set a budget for my stomach space. If a company listed in the guide excites me, I circle it on the map and seek it out the next day. I practiced this exercise recently at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Here are the highlights.

New Ways to Eat Your Veggies

Super Kale Cut N Clean GreensI’m always in search of new ways to expand my vegetable repertoire, so was glad to see Super Kale Cut N’ Clean Greens, which come in a variety of preparations. The chef explained that a key to enjoying raw kale was to let it rest and tenderize in vinaigrette for 15 minutes prior to eating.

Jade Asian Stir FryThey also offer fresh stir-fry blends packaged with seasonings.

MushroomsThe mushroom people dished up this scrumptious taco meat recipe, using minced mushrooms to replace some of the meat and reduce calories and saturated fat. I’ve used this technique in meatloaf and look forward to trying it with tacos.

Better-for-You Beverages

While I like the idea of sipping an energy drink on occasion before a big night out, the medicinal flavor, syrupy taste, and neon glow of many energy drinks turn me off. It was nice to discover healthier versions of these caffeinated drinks.

Welch’s Fruit FizzWelch’s sweetens their new grape Fruit Fizz with stevia.

V8 V-Fusion EnergyV8 recently announced their V-Fusion + Energy, which offers about the same amount of caffeine as the energy drink that, “gives you wings,” only 50 calories, and in a fruit flavor with vitamins and minerals.

V8 V-Fusion SmoothieI can get lazy on occasion (okay, more often) and don’t always make time to swirl up a smoothie. New from V8, their mango smoothie offers one full serving each of fruits and vegetables, with no added sugar and 130 calories per 8 ounce glass.

CasCal Fermented Natural SodaThis fermented, non-alcoholic drink has been around for a year now at Whole Foods, but is new to me. CasCal Fermented Natural Soda contains between 60-80 calories per 11-ounce bottle, is available in a variety of flavors, and is sweetened with juice. I give thumbs up (in moderation) to this natural soda that tastes like wine and caters to the sophisticated palate.

SokenbichaAs a tea lover, I’m on the lookout for natural, unsweetened teas that still pack a flavor punch. Enter Sokenbicha.

Guayakí Yerba MateAttending a conference tied to an organization that’s 97% female can mess with your mind. I found myself coming back for seconds and thirds when in need of an afternoon caffeine buzz. And the California boys at the Guayakí Yerba Mate booth. Dude.

Not-Your-Average Snack

KIND Healthy GrainsMy client, KIND, told me to expect a big reveal at FNCE, and boy they delivered with KIND Healthy Grains, which are clusters of ingredients including quinoa, chia, flax, flavored with cinnamon, peanut butter, honey, and dark chocolate. Quality munching.

Sunland Organic Peanut Butter Creamy Thai Ginger & Red PepperWe’ve seen honey and chocolate flavored peanut butter, but Thai ginger and red pepper? Sunland’s no trans fat or sugar added peanut butters come in a variety of exotic flavors, have an ultra smooth consistency, and taste fantastic.

Odds and Ends

Savory Choice chicken brothSavory Choice chicken broth packetsI couldn’t get over the rich taste of Savory Choice chicken broth with fewer than 400 milligrams of sodium per cup.

Wine Trax plate & glassWine Trax Portion platePortion size plates seem like a good idea in theory, but white plastic ware with painted-on numbers is so not sexy. Wine-Trax offers a solution with their clear glass construction, translucent lines, and on-the-elegant-side silhouette. The wine glass outlines 4, 6, and 8-ounce pours.

Celebrity Spotting Bonus

Cheryl Forberg and Michelle DudashNot exactly a trend, but exciting! NBC’s The Biggest Loser dietitian Cheryl Forberg appeared at the Avocado Commission’s booth. I couldn’t resist the photo opp.

This expo visit came at the perfect time between summer and fall when I get into a food rut as the seasons change and I await fall flavors. I look forward to trying out these newly found items to spice things up in the food department and to make eating healthy easier. I encourage you to include at least one new food in your diet regularly, too.


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  1. Kimberly H. says:

    That looks like my kind of convention!!! My Hubby loves the V8 Energy drinks and it has to be a bit better for him than the Diet Mountain Dew he was addicted to for a long time. I look forward to finding some of these other goodies too. I never use Kale and would love to try the first one you mentioned. Also, I adore The Biggest Loser and wish they would highlight the dietitian and the work she does more. Besides a few product placement nutrition segments, they ignore that part of a healthy lifestyle! Last look marvelous as always!

    1. Kimberly,
      Yeah, I finally was able to try the energy drink you told me about! It does taste good. And yes, I would say much better than doing the Dew. I have a 6-pack here waiting for me. Oh, and now I’m blushing….

  2. Rebecca says:

    I hear you, re: the California boys! My initial undergrad education started in the the pure sciences before I transferred into health sciences – so many females, it seemed! I was always pleased to see a few guys in my classes. I like the mix. I coudn’t imagine studying at an all-girls university like Wellsley, in that regard.

    1. Rebecca,
      That is funny! Glad to hear others are in my company. Yeah, what is up with that? And in my other circle of food writers it’s mostly composed of females, too!

  3. Kareen says:

    Great review of the products! I like your strategy on saving stomach space and will try it next year. The Cali dudes were great and I also enjoyed the kale salad. That’s a veggie I would like to include more of in my diet.

    1. Thanks so much, Kareen! And thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I am about to go on another kale kick now that fall is rearing its head.
      Happy cooking.

  4. Great sneak peek at the expo – especially since I couldn’t attend this year. I will definitely have to seek out the CasCal at my local Whole Foods – sounds like a pregnant woman’s dream that really misses her wine! 🙂

    1. Ann,

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I could totally see myself drinking that if I ever become pregnant again. I really did miss my wine in that third trimester!


  5. Michelle,
    What a great, informative report about a wonderful convention! We are honored you liked our Cut `n Clean Greens SuperKale Slaw/Salad, AND our Jade brand Asian Stir-Fry kit and Jade Asian veggie blends. We love to keep it green! We put a blurb on all of our Facebook pages to highlight this with a link to lead people to your site. Thanks!

    –Your new friends at Cut `n Clean Greens / San Miguel Produce / Jade, Asian Greens

    1. Cut ‘N Clean Greens,
      Well I’m so glad you liked my post! So glad I was able to try your goods and I hope to be able to find them soon in my market.

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