Happy Friday ya’ll! Last Friday I posted a recap about the Boston views and food, and today I’m talking about the actual conference itself.
THE FNCE EXPERIENCE
The actual conference didn’t start until Sunday, but I arrived Friday night. On Saturday, I went to a more intimate session about recipe writing. It was very helpful and included some hands on group activities. I also got to meet some other RD’s before the conference, so it was a great ice breaker! We were given ingredients (kind of like Chopped) and had to make something out of them. Our group went with a smoothie bowl.
Sunday morning started very early for a Siggi’s breakfast event, where I got to hear Alexis, Kylie and Jenny speak about being the trailblazers they are. Siggi was there too, and there was, of course, a yummy yogurt bar! These ladies all gave great insight about being entrepreneurs, the power of being real in blogging, and how they got to where they are.
I spent most of the day at the Convention Center for FNCE, sitting in on educational sessions, walking through the expo and getting SO MUCH SWAG, trying every sample I could, and even networking after hours. It was a long day.
Thankfully, the Academy recorded all of the sessions. This was so helpful because there were 15-20 sessions happening at once, and there were always 4-5 that I wanted to go to. So, I’ll look forward to relistening to those sessions. I went to some sessions on nutrition communication and social media, exercise training adaptation (i.e. the low carb, high fat training), telehealth, microbiome and more. Nutrition is so fascinating, ya’ll!
Obviously, I spent a good chunk of time at the expo, too. There’s so much to take in there and foods to try. Additionally, I enjoyed talking to some new brands and learning more about different products (both for myself and for clients). I also ran into some former classmates at UNC, so it was nice to see familiar faces!
I am so happy I was able to attend FNCE this year. It really is an incomparable event for dietitians, and a great way to meet dietitians from around the country. Part of me wishes I traveled with some dietitians I knew, but on the other hand, traveling alone forced me to go just beyond my comfort zone and learn to promote myself. I feel that I will be so much better prepared for next year. These are some tips I’d recommend to those who plan to attend FNCE, and also for myself in the future!
FNCE TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
- Pick out your educational sessions ahead of time and have a back up (in case it wasn’t what you thought). I actually left a few sessions because I didn’t think they would benefit me as much as I had originally thought, and walked into my second choice.
- Be professional – you’ll have the opportunity to not only network with other RDs and food influencers, but also brands and possible future job opportunities.
- Bring business cards! They are essential for networking and showing you are professional. Even if you don’t have a blog or job title, they are a great giveaway for keeping in touch with others.
- Go to educational sessions beyond your direct expertise – take in some of the other research topics, or sit it on something clients ask you about often, go to a cooking demonstration, etc.
- Save a lot of time for the expo. I originally thought I could come and go during the 30 minute breaks between sessions but it’s so easy to get lost in there and get caught up in all the excitement (and samples). Plus, depending on which booth you’re talking with, there may be a long line for samples or pictures.
- Find the balance that works for you. There are so many opportunities for networking and going to events after hours, in which you’ll want to be “on” for. But, don’t be afraid to say no or sneak in some extra sleep. There will always be other events and opportunities and if you’re tired, you won’t make the most of it anyway. I don’t’ think I would have functioned the last two days if I didn’t do that. It’s a jam packed, exhausting four days!
- Pack extra room in your bags, or bring a whole other bag – you’ll get a TON of samples
- Watermelon seeds (I had no idea how high in protein they were; 10 grams of protein per ounce!). Go Raw had sprouted watermelon seed bars and I have loved the flavors I’ve tried so far! (I took a bunch home) and they are DELICIOUS!
- Legumes and dried bean snack packs! They have just as much protein as a pack of almonds so they are a great on the go protein snack! These snacks were really tasty. I’m a sucker for crunchy things, too. I’ll be buying more of these!
- Beet Juice (so excited!). I loveeee beets and they are great for running and endurance!
- Whole grains. These were demonized for so long but I’m so happy that they are trending again (Sorghum, freekah, quinoa, etc). Praise whole grains..and carbs!
- Individually packed peanut butter powder (Remember my obsession for PB2?) Much more competition now, and just about every brand has a portable peanut butter pouch too!
- Portable pre and probiotic pouches! Probiotics and the microbiome (our gut) is getting sooo much attention now. I love my kombucha’s but they are pricey. This may be another alternative if you buy a bunch in bulk!
- Low FODMAP food alternatives! I’ve had a few clients I’ve discussed this with, and it’s nice to see brands and companies are creating options for these products.
- Bars with greens and veggies in them! I don’t know how I feel about these – I don’t want people to be discouraged from eating the actual veggies and think this is an equal replacement – it’s not. But, I guess if it’s someone with a baseline of zero intake, this will be good.
Some other fun finds include flavored individual tuna and salmon packets, individual hemp seed packets (vanilla flavor!) and portion controlled oil blends.
Have you ever been to FNCE, or another niche conference, or do you plan on going to one?
What are your thoughts about throwing greens in bars – do they discourage eating actual veggies?