Healthy meetings

Avoid the meeting “bulge.” How to eat healthy when attending meetings and conferences.

Meetings, either personal or for work can make healthy eating a challenge. Frequently served foods and drinks that are high in fat, calories and sodium are popular meeting snacks, including: donuts, cookies, self-serve bars, soda, chips, etc. It’s hard to resist snacking on foods that are sitting right in front of you, despite resolutions to decrease high fat and high calories foods from your diet.

If you are the meeting organizer, you can offer healthy choices such as fruit and/or vegetables whenever food is served, whether it is a snack or a meal. Maybe a snack isn’t necessary. It might be better to offer the opportunity to get up and move for a few minutes during a break. Provide water to drink at all times. Suggestions for healthier options for snacks or meals can found in the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity’s healthy meeting toolkit.

If you are not the meeting organizer, plan ahead for healthy choices. For example, you can bring your own snack and drink. If you bring a piece of fruit such as an apple or orange, place it where you can see it. It will remind you to choose foods carefully. Take along an insulated container of drinking water.

Another idea is to talk to the group about having healthier food options. There are probably others that are facing the same challenges with food options.

Michigan State University Extension reminds meeting organizers to also keep food safety in mind. Tables should be washed and sanitized if they will be used for eating. Make sure restrooms have soap and paper towels or hand dryers.

Food should be stored at the proper temperature. Keep cold foods refrigerated or on ice until serving time. Hot foods should be held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not reheat foods in slow cookers; heat them first and then place them in the slow cookers for holding. Fruits and vegetables should be washed with cold, running water. Provide tongs or other utensils for serving.

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