Last week I had the good fortune of attending Expo West in sunny, beautiful Anaheim, California. After the winter we’ve had in NJ, words do not describe how wonderful it felt to spend 5 days in 75+ degree weather! If you’ve never been there, it’s difficult to imagine the expanse of Expo West. I walked around for a total of 27 hours over 4 days while tasting and talking my way through the exhibits. After all those hours, I probably visited only 5-10% of the booths. Crazy! I’ve put together a list of several products I found that caught my eye and pleased the palate. All are items I would purchase myself and hope to find in local stores soon. So what’s trending at Natural Products Expo West?
- Trend #1: Super pasta sauces:
Why did I choose this? I’m a sucker for a high quality marinara; however, many products on the market contain soybean oil, corn syrup and other undesirable ingredients.
-Enter Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties. This fantastic line of sauces is brought to you by Steve Schirripa of “The Sopranos” fame. They are certified USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten free and contain no added sugar with only 60 calories and 3g of sugar per ½ cup serving. That’s amazing, and the taste matches the stats. Try the Marinara, Tomato Basil and Arrabiata. They are “TO DIE FOR”!
–The Sneaky Chef, Missy Chase Lapine, known for “Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals” has created tasty Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces with 8 hidden veggies. These include carrot, sweet potato, red bell pepper, cauliflower, zucchini, onion, squash and celery. That’s something I will definitely serve to my picky eaters. Check out Missy’s other products and books too!
- Trend #2: Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…
Expo West revealed some really different and yummy ways to enjoy beans, even for the bean skeptic.
– Banza Chickpea Pasta:
This unassuming pasta is so good; the kids will NEVER know they are eating chickpeas. It is available in several shapes such as penne, rotini, elbows and shells, and each 2oz serving packs 14g protein and 8g fiber. Awesome!
– Love Grown Foods:
Beans for breakfast? Definitely. Power O’s cereal contains a blend of navy beans, lentils and garbanzo beans. My favorite? The chocolate variety. It’s delicious as a yogurt topping!
– Explore Asian Organic Bean Pasta
These organic pastas are made from 100% organic beans and water. A 2oz serving of the black bean contains 25g protein and 12g fiber. That’s unbelievable, perfect for those who are vegan and/or gluten free. I’ve tried the black bean and edamame varieties and both are really fun to cook and eat. The green hue of the edamame is fantastic with pesto- try that on St. Patrick’s Day for a healthy and green meal.
–Biena Roasted ChickPeas
I’ve been a fan of roasted chickpea snacks for a few years now. They are high in protein and fiber, portable and non-perishable. I had never tasted Biena and I have to say that they are my new favorite brand. Their chickpeas are softer and more flavorful than others on the market. Try all 4 flavors: sea salt, honey roasted, barbeque and cinnamon maple.
- Trend #3: Grow your own: Back to the Roots
Gardening is nothing new, but for people like me who kill absolutely anything green, I’m so excited to try a “Garden-In-A-Can”! These ready-to-grow cans include nutrient rich soil, organic fertilizer and organic seeds. Woo-hoo! Also available are organic mushroom farms in a box, and a water garden for your kitchen counter. So cool!
- Trend #4: Ditch the Sugar
We all know that it’s recommended to decrease if not eliminate our consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, but diet sodas and other non-caloric flavored drinks are filled with undesirable chemicals. So what are we to drink?
This refreshing soda is both organic and calorie free. The sweetness comes from a combination of stevia and erythritol, both considered natural sweeteners. My favorites are Root Beer and Professor Fizz.
–SweetLeaf® Water Drops™ are natural, convenient, sugar-free and gluten-free water enhancers. Enjoy one of 4 flavors with zero calories, and NO artificial ingredients. Squirt into your water bottle or enjoy with your meals- you control the amount of sweetness.
- Trend #5: Tumeric
Tumeric is a yellow spice commonly found in Indian curries and American yellow mustard. The active ingredient is curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest turmeric may help prevent or alleviate Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and some cancers. While available in supplement form for quite a while, it’s now popping up in tons of food and beverages- especially tea. Both of these are wonderful choices:
-Republic of Tea Biodynamic Organic Turmeric Cinnamon Tea Bags
-Numi Tea- Tumeric Tea
Disclosure: At the time of this post, other than sampling products, I have no financial ties to any of the companies highlighted in this blog.