RD reviewed: Healthy Finds at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

This is a guest post by Jackie Topol, MS, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Last week I attended the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, which boasted a wide variety of new products out on the market. The two-day event is now in its third year and continues to draw both vegetarian and non-veg foodies. I’ve had a great time at the festival since it started and always enjoy trying samples provided by the many different vendors. Though there were dozens of exhibitors, I narrowed down my list of favorites to these stand-outs:

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Flavor Puffs

This new vegan snack made by the masters of vegan “butter” is made with navy beans, non-GMO corn, and nutritional yeast. With 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving, it’s a guiltless cheesy treat that both kids and adults will love. It’s gluten free too but only available in Whole Foods currently.

Fruit Bliss Soft Dried Fruit

I’m a big fan of the dried apricots from Fruit Bliss. They live up to their claim of being the “moistest dried fruit you’ll ever taste” and the best part is that all of their products are preservative free. Mix their dried fruits with some nuts for a perfect mid-day snack.

Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks

Most probiotic drinks that are dairy-free are usually in the form of kombucha, which some people find to be too sour and unpalatable. Kevita has come to the rescue with their line of refreshing probiotic drinks made from fermented kefir. My favorite flavor was the lemon ginger. With only 90 calories for the entire bottle and plenty of good bacteria for your gut, this tasty beverage is a winner in my book.

Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts

One of the highest quality packaged hemp seeds on the market is from Manitoba Harvest. Hemp seeds are rich in protein and omega 3’s and has a fresh, earthy flavor. They can can be sprinkled on yogurt, cereal, salad, or baked into breads and muffins. Be sure to store the package in your fridge since the oils in hemp seeds can go rancid quickly.

Sacha Vida Oil

Hailing from the highlands of Peru, the incredible sacha inchi seed has become wildly popular in the health food industry. Containing a whopping 6.7 grams of omega 3 fatty acids per serving, this oil carries a wide variety of health benefits and is a welcome addition in my kitchen. It has a delicious, nutty flavor and goes great drizzled on salads or roasted vegetables.

For more food product reviews, nutrition tips, healthy recipes and more, follow Jackie Topol on Twitter.

Jackie Topol, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian based in New York City. She is a clinical dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and has her Masters in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. In her free time, you can find her teaching private cooking classes and in the culinary studio with her students at the JCC in Manhattan. Her monthly therapeutic cooking classes highlight foods that prevent diseases and promote good health.

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  • Carol H.

    Every single one of those “health benefits” for the oil is an unsubstantiated unauthorized/illegal drug claim. FDA will eventually be sending them a warning letter.

  • http://nutritionstripped.com/ McKel | Nutrition Stripped

    Yey for hemp seeds! I’m happy these are finally hitting mainstream because these little seeds are packed of nutrients. Also, if you’re a kombucha drinker who likes it fizzy, you may be slightly disappointed with the KeVita as it lacks the carbonation as most other brewed kombuchas. I would love to try the chia seed oil…interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Geraldine

    It seems that the oil benefits are attributed to its content of Omega 3 fatty acids. I am not a health expert but I have seen a lot of literature and studies saying that Omega 3s do have many health benefits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Corcoran/1591985520 Jim Corcoran

    There are many reasons why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org/.