This past week nearly 10,000 dietitians came to my hometown of Boston to attend the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, also known as FNCE. This was my second time attending FNCE – last time it came to Boston I was a wee baby RD2Be!
It is always exciting to be at a large conference, and FNCE is no exception. Where else can you be surrounded by thousands of colleagues from across the country to talk about the most current nutrition science and have educational opportunities from culinary nutrition to FODMAPs? My inner nutrition geek was ready to learn and the business side of me was ready to network.
I actually was able to get complimentary admission to FNCE by volunteering for the information booth. It was a fun job and I had a chance to spend some time with other RDs from Massachusetts and get to know fellow MAND board members better! The Boston Convention Center is HUGE, and trying to inform attendees about where everything was located was a challenge at times, but I think I am pretty much an expert in the BCC after this weekend!
I am proud to say that I was featured in a video during the opening session called Food Is Love. In my cameo I was able to show the world what I do as a dietitian at Jewish Family & Children’s Service and UMass Lowell. I had butterflies in my stomach as I saw myself on GIGANTIC screens that filled the expo hall, but I felt an immense sense of pride when I saw the amazing dietitians I was fortunate enough to share the screen with. I loved when Andrew Doherty from University of Minnesota Extension SNAP Ed Program said his goal was to “work [himself] out of a job, to be so good of a dietitian that they don’t need [his] services anymore”. How great is that! If only we could reach every American and empower them with the tools we have to improve their health through nutrition.
I was able to attend several great sessions, including one featuring Kate Scarlata, a local dietitian who is one of my nutrition heroes. She talked about the physiological effect of FODMAPs on the gut and how to individualize a low-FODMAP diet for clients. I also went to a culinary nutrition session where I was able to get some great ideas for connecting nutrition principles to food – something that we as dietitians need to focus more on. Overall I really enjoyed the sessions I went to, and it was fun to walk around the expo hall and run into friends as we sampled our way around avocadoes and pulses, and even got a chance to try out virtual reality with Food and Nutrition Magazine!
Next year FNCE will celebrate 100 years of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago. I don’t know if I will be able to attend, although I am already hearing about really fun activities that might take place! If you haven’t been to FNCE yet and have always wanted to go, I would recommend making 2017 the year you check it out!
To watch the video I was featured in, go to http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/multimedia-news-center/videos/food-is-love and don’t forget to leave a comment below if you went to FNCE and what you thought!