Thriving at your First FNCE

The annual Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) is right around the corner. Literally days away! Each year the conference is in a different city, this years host city is Washington DC.  Last year Chicago, IL was the host where I experienced my first ever FNCE. It’s basically the Super Bowl for dietitians. It’s a 3-day conference that will fill your mind and your tummy with all good things. Three whole days for a conference sounds intimidating, but it will be the busiest most fun conference yet. I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you thrive at your first FNCE. 


Basic FNCE Tips

  1. Take a phone charger or a portable charger. Lots of people will be charging so a portable charger is a great option to make sure you can fully charge.
  2. Have paper + writing utensil to take notes during sessions. I have a specific notebook for webinars and conferences to keep everything together.
  3. Dress for the occasion. You’ll be sitting in sessions and walking around the expo. Plan accordingly. 
  4. Remember you’re there as a professional and never know who you might run into!


A huge part of FNCE is the educational sessions. This is where you’ll gain more nutrition knowledge than you thought possible.  The night before take a few minutes to look over the schedule and plan your next day. If you have DPG groups to meet up with, add that to your plan as well. I’ve found that the FNCE app is a great tool because it allows you to star all the sessions you are interested in attending. Mark down all sessions you’re interested in, even if they are at the same time.

A session may not be what you expect. Having your backup plan starred allows you to quickly see which room the session is held in. No, you don’t have to sit through a session you have no interest in. If you’re unsure whether you will like the session or not, sit toward the back near the aisle. That way you can you quietly and quickly get up and leave. At my first FNCE, I thought I had to stay put because the session had started. I learned quickly that people come and go as they please. Find a new session and pop into that one instead!


YOU WILL SPEND MORE TIME IN EXPO THAN YOU THINK. There are so many amazing exhibitors with their new and exciting products to share. Check out the expo floor list before attending so you can make sure to stop by your favorite brand’s booth. Honestly, I don’t go into expo with much of a plan because it can be overwhelming. I trek up and down each aisle stopping by booths on my way up and down. If you happen to be wandering around and find an unfamiliar booth don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. These brands showed up to meet you! The person representing the brand is knowledgeable about everything they have out to offer ask questions if you have any.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog FNCE

In my opinion, the expo is the most fun part of the conference. 


A barrier to FNCE is often times finances. Some of this won’t apply to this year because it’s quickly approaching,  but if you plan ahead you can save mad dollars. If you register before the deadline you are able to set up a payment plan option. This allows you to pay in installments instead of one gruesome lump sum. 

This years payment schedule was

Registration Date Range # Payments Charged
May 1 – June 30 3 7/15, 8/15 and 9/15
July 1 – July 31 2 8/15 and 9/15
August 1 – September 2 1 9/15

Instead of staying in a hotel, stay in an Airbnb. If you have any friends going, split the room with them to save even more! Choose an Airbnb that is close enough to take public transit or to walk. For this years FNCE our Airbnb is just a few Metro stops away.

Besides registration, the plane ticket will be the next most expensive item. If you have any airline points, use those. If not book in advance and watch airlines for discounts and deals.  

You will save big on food costs. This year I plan on spending around $20 to go to dinner with a few Instagram friends. During the conference, there is so much food. I didn’t take food last year and didn’t go hungry! 


If you’re planning on going to FNCE let me know in the comments below. I would love to meet you there! As always subscribe to stay in the nutrition know. I will be posting my FNCE favorites after the conference and you won’t want to miss it. 

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