Make the most of your meetings, whether they’re held inside or outside of the work environment. Meetings are a great opportunity to include a “healthy” agenda. The following are some tips to ensure your meetings are healthy and meet the recommendations of the Alliance for Business Leadership.
Healthy food certainly can taste good. Most food service professionals now have some familiarity with healthier food preparation options and are willing to accommodate requests for changes to their usual fare. You might want to ask for a sample ahead of time. Registration forms should provide space to indicate food allergies or dietary restrictions.
- Serve low-calorie and low-fat foods
- Serve fruits and vegetables whenever possible
- Serve small portions (e.g., cut bagels in halves or quarters, etc.)
- Serve milk (fat-free or 1%), 100% fruit or vegetable juice, water or iced tea (unsweetened) instead of soft drinks
- Lunch and dinner don’t have to include a heavy dessert – fresh fruit, a fruit crisp or cobbler, small cookies, etc. are great alternatives
- Include a vegetarian option at all meals
- Provide reduced-fat or low-fat milk for coffee rather than cream or half and half (evaporated skim milk also works well for coffee – make sure it’s not sweetened condensed milk)
- Provide pitchers of water
Providing participants with physical activity breaks at meetings and events will help them stay alert and focused. In addition to including physical activity breaks, it’s important to consider hotel location, facilities and accommodating people of all abilities in any activities planned.
- Choose a location where participants can easily and safely take a walk. For overnight meetings, choose a place where participants can walk to dinner or evening entertainment. Provide participants with maps of the area showing good walking routes
- Choose a hotel that has good, accessible fitness facilities, e.g., a fitness room and pool. Include information about these facilities in the materials you send to participants
- Consider a casual dress code for the meeting – this allows people to participate in physical activities more easily
- Organize physical activity breaks that can be modified or adapted for people of all abilities, such as stretching exercises that can be performed in a seated position
For more information, visit The Center for Science in Public Interest at: https://cspinet.org/protecting-our-health/nutrition/healthy-meetings and The Alliance for Business Leadership website at: www.allianceforbusinessleadership.org.