My review of the 2016 Healthy & Natural Show: I came, I sampled, I learned

What’s in the picture above? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bunch of mangosteens 🙂 This is one of the fruits I tried, for the first time ever, at the Healthy and Natural Show, which recently took place at Chicago’s Navy Pier. After weeks and weeks of eating poorly and drinking way too much coffee, I was looking forward to this event, which coincided with the end of the spring school term. I really need help to get back on the healthy eating track. I need wholesome fruits and veggies, inspiration, and new discoveries – so when I heard about this new show held in Chicago, I knew this was the place for me to be. 🙂

The first annual Healthy and Natural Show brought together 125 companies and over 1,100 attendees. Held over 3 days, the show represented an excellent opportunity for me to discover the latest trends in the field, as well as to meet a variety of company reps and to try out their new product offerings.

By far, Melissa’s Produce was my favorite stand at the Show. Take just one look at the pictures below and you’ll understand why. How can one resist the abundance of delicious fruits and veggies on display? Helped by a nice rep, I found my way around Melissa’s produce and tried out quite a few. I also sampled Melissa’s Clean Snax, a range of bite-size snacks which come in a variety of flavors: almond, pumpkin seed, coconut, quinoa and cranberry. They are so good!

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As a first-time mom, I was pleased to meet several baby food manufacturers at the show. I am fortunate that my mother and mother-in-law stay home with the baby and cook her food from scratch. Still, there are certain foods (such as cereal) which we have to buy for her. This is why I believe it is important for me to stay up-to-date on the topic of baby food nutrition and trends. Speaking of the latter, at the show I learnt that there is a new trend towards refrigerated baby foods, a technology which preserves nutrients, flavors and textures in an innovative way.

Here’s a glimpse of the baby food products on display at the show, both shelf stable and refrigerated:

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The variety of foods available for sampling was amazing. From organic deli meats to hummus dips, from Austrian-style sausages to organic breads and buns, I tried them all  and was excited to find out more about each product. How did it all begin? What is the philosophy behind the product? Most importantly perhaps, what keeps its creators motivated in such a challenging business environment? These are just some of the questions I asked at the show.

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After so much food sampling, it was time for a refreshing drink. Should it be cactus water, protein kefir or smoothie, or a non-dairy beverage? Tough choice!

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For dessert, I sampled ice cream, protein bars and… sprouted cookies! I was a bit apprehensive about trying out the cookies, but they actually had a good flavor and a nice, crunchy texture.

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All in all, I had a great time at the Healthy & Natural Show and I can’t wait for the second edition, due to take place in May next year. This show has reinforced my belief that there are plenty of options out there for those of us who want to eat healthily. I admit that lately I have lacked the commitment and the self-discipline to stay on the path of healthy eating. I must definitely try harder 🙂

*Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by any of the companies mentioned or shown in this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.


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