How healthy refreshments can benefit your meetings

As people become more health-conscious in their day-to-day lives, particularly in the New Year, it follows that healthy eating in the workplace should be a natural progression.

Where once in meetings it was standard to have coffee and biscuits, in today’s climate, more people are aware of the benefits of healthy eating, so shouldn’t meeting organisers follow suit and give attendees the chance to consume some “brain foods” that will leave them refreshed, rather than feeling like they need a mid-afternoon nap?

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Some meetings seem to have sweet snacks like muffins and chocolate croissants everywhere, but if you eat too many, you may suffer what is termed a “carb coma” half an hour later. This means your blood sugar can drop a little low, leaving you with the dreaded afternoon slump – when you feel tired and irritable.

If there’s a break in your meeting, you’re far better off having a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit and a glass of fresh orange juice, rather than a bar of chocolate and a can of fizzy pop.

Those who organise meetings and conferences need to be proactive in offering a healthy option when it comes to refreshments. This should be the case when organising not only meetings with work colleagues, but also meetings with business clients. In fact, a recent survey revealed that around three-quarters of business people believed that healthy options should be offered to clients as a matter of course, rather than as an afterthought if the client asked.

For attendees who have special dietary needs, there’s also a growing trend for vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free options. A survey of conference organisers has revealed that 79% of respondents feel the number of special dietary requests has increased rapidly over the past two years.

So, how do you know what the dietary needs of attendees are? A simple way of making sure people’s requirements are met is to ask them in advance about any food allergies or specific needs, to make sure you get it right on the day. It’s always useful to have basic nutritional information available if you’re providing a business lunch, so attendees can make sure they know what they’re eating.

Scientific studies say certain foods are “brain-friendly” and ideal for lengthy meetings or conferences, as they deliver optimum well-being benefits, thanks to their high nutrient and mineral content. Foods that fit into this category include blueberries, walnuts, kale, avocado and dark chocolate – so people with a sweet tooth don’t have to give up their guilty pleasure entirely.

Some business leaders make a point of organising regular food breaks during particularly long meetings, or during conferences, as they believe it helps attendees to focus – and hence they are more productive after a break. They consider “fuelling” attendees as an important part of the meeting, as hungry employees will be more restless and therefore less focused on the business in hand.

Rather than viewing refreshment breaks as a waste of time, see them as a beneficial chance to re-charge attendees’ “batteries”, so to speak. By making sure the food on offer is “brain food” with high nutritional value, this will help staff to be more productive. It might also enhance your reputation as someone who knows how to organise an excellent meeting, where everyone’s needs are met.

&Meetings specialises in some of the best meeting rooms in London. Teas, coffees, apples, biscuits and water are included at all of our locations, and additional catering services are available on request. For more information, please call 0800 073 0499.


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