A recap of 2016 FNCE, the food and nutrition conference for dietitians all over the nation! This year’s location – Boston!
Disclosure: My registration for FNCE was covered as press meaning I receive free registration in exchange for writing about the event. Most of my meals and travel were covered by AND as part of my volunteer role as the incoming newsletter editor for the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Practice Group. Many of the events I attended were sponsored and will be noted in this post.
So I’m finally getting back to the grind after FNCE, the big annual conference for registered dietitians all over the nation. This was my second year attending, and since meeting so many dietitians in media and blogging, it’s basically become a big reunion – a little bit of work and lots of play!
This years conference was held in Boston, where my little brother and sister-in-law live, so I decided to come a day early to hang out. They were at work and school when I arrived, so I made a b-line for the nearest sweetgreen, grabbed a shroomami salad, and spent the rest of the afternoon working from their place.
For dinner, we met up with my grand-little from my sorority at Clemson and her husband, who just happened to become friends with my little brother in law school in Boston (smallest world!). We ate at Audubon and I ordered the banh mi, which was good, but after going to Vietnam I guess I’m a bit of a snob 😉
The next day I spent the morning working from Pavement, a nearby coffee shop. Always the bagel sandwich with smoked salmon. Always.
Over lunch, I went on nice a long 8 mile run around Boston, which felt amazing. Despite being a long run, it wasn’t that tough since I was stopping every few minutes to either take a picture or for a red light.
Lunch at Neighborhood Coffee and Crepes – a crepe with chicken, mozzarella, arugula, tomato and pesto.
Finally my dietitian crew arrived and were were able to get into our airbnb where I was staying with Alex, Anne, Robyn, and Kylie. The five of us are part of a counseling mastermind group and chat a couple times a month about clients, counseling and life, and it was SO great to all be physically in the same place. Alexis stayed with us too, but she didn’t get in till the next day.
For dinner, we went out to eat at Row 34 for an amazing seafood meal and wine. We split spicy calamari, deviled crab toast, and tuna crudo with black garlic and avocado for appetizers. For my entree, I had this incredible housemade squid ink pasta with a fresh tuna bolognese.
I spent Saturday morning and afternoon in meetings with the nutrition entrepreneurs dietetic practice group, where I’m volunteering as the incoming newsletter editor. I was able to get out just in time to catch the tail end of a cocktail hour hosted by the National Fisheries Institute where I enjoyed some bomb tuna macaroni and cheese and wine, followed by a long stroll around Boston with the gals.
That night, our airbnb crew went to a couple sponsored events. First was a cocktail hour with Uniliver, who was honoring Anne as an Agent of Change (go Anne!). Then we piled in to an Uber to go to a small dinner hosted by KIND at Lucca Back Bay, where I got to see a few more of my dietitian friends – Deanna, Julie and Ann, plus meet the lovely dietitians behind KIND. Dinner was amazing – a mixed green fall salad, salmon with a tomato chickpea compote and chickpea croutons, followed by a SUPER rich chocolate tart with espresso ice cream and a brown butter hazelnut brownie. All washed down with (maybe a few too many) cocktails inspired by KIND’s new fall flavors. Just you wait – they are SO good!
The next day I woke up early to see two of my roomies, Alexis and Kylie, on a panel along with Siggi of Siggis yogurt fame, talk about entrepreneurship. I acted like their mom and proudly waved and took pictures of them from the audience the whole time.
From there, Robyn, Anne and I went on a nice 5 mile run around Boston with Ranie, a long time reader of Anne’s blog and a new RD. Seriously, Boston in fall is everything….
From there, Robyn, Alexis and I checked out a session on prebiotics then hit up the expo to check out all the new products. I met Eli Kreiger, who was at the Luvo (one of my clients) booth.
The expo was kinda overwhelming and were were still hungry after apps, so the three of us hit up sweetgreen (kale topped with roasted steelhead, avocado, tomatoes and miso sesame dressing for me!). Then we headed over to Flour and ordered basically everything – their famous pecan sticky roll (the best!), a homemade oreo, a flourless double chocolate cookie, banana bread with cream cheese frosting and a massive cookie with coconut, dark chocolate and walnuts. I think the woman sitting next to us was shocked to find out we were dietitians! I tried to explain we’re not diet-y dietitians.
That night we did some party hopping, first to the Food and Nutrition Magazine event, then to another event sponsored by the Hass Avocado Board. My friend Carlene taught us how to make avocado roses and I drank avocado margaritas. It was a good night.
The next morning, we did breakfast with Kura, my absolute favorite smoothie powder. Was so exciting to learn about exciting changes coming with their product in this new year but it’s top secret for now!
I spent the rest of the morning bopping around the expo and sessions, with a quick lunch break at Bon Me with Meme. The best session I attended was one on orthorexia, which is when clean eating becomes an eating disorder. It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for a session at FNCE, which makes me so happy because it’s something that is so poorly understood among both dietitians and the general public.
After the session, I headed to an amazing party thrown by the mushroom council and my dear friend Kara, who is their consulting RD. Can we talk about those lobster rolls? Somehow the party turned into a late night party with me, Meme, Carlene, Kara, and my friend Michael who works for Peanut Butter + Co. We met last year at FNCE, then weirdly, he was on my tour in Vietnam two days later!
The next morning, I grabbed a solo breakfast at Flour again. I go back and forth between extrovert and introvert, and I definitely needed some me time! I enjoyed my breakfast sandwich with the most custardy egg and crispy bacon while reading the newspaper like an old lady.
Today was the last day of FNCE so the expo is a lot less crowded. It’s my favorite time to go and actually talk to the faces behind the brands and make business connections. I also hit up a couple sessions, including one on the changing face of eating disorders discussing how they’ve become more common in middle age and during pregnancy.
After that last session, I decided to skip the uber and take a nice long 2 1/2 walk through Boston back to my brothers apartment in Fenway Park. It was a really fun way to explore the city. I stopped for lunch along the way at Dig In, which (OMG OMG OMG!) we need one of these in Columbia. You get to make your own grain or salad bowl with this incredible selection of seasonal vegetables and sustainable proteins. I would honest to goodness eat there every day and not get bored.
Back in Fenway, I enjoyed one last run through the city and one last night with family before flying back home super early the next day.
To my dietitian friends, did you go to FNCE? What was your favorite thing you did? Favorite thing you ate?