Healthy meetings: Do they cost more?

Healthy meetings don’t have to cost more with these tried and true tips!

Eating healthy always costs more, even for employers hosting healthy meetings – False!

Hosting a healthy meeting does not mean a larger meeting budget. It can actually assist in reducing meeting costs, while keeping the health of your employees, stakeholders and clients you serve in the forefront.

The following guidelines from the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) will assist in reducing your meeting costs as well as allowing for sustainability:

  • Provide water as the default beverage
  • Include physical activity in the place of a snack break
  • Offer smaller portions
  • Provide handouts on a flash drive or online instead of paper copies
  • Host the meeting in a tobacco-free environment
  • Avoid candy dishes on the tables
  • Serve food using smaller plates, bowls and cups.

Offering smaller portions can cut down on the amount of food or beverage you serve. This can include offering bite size cookies, bagels cut into four sections or even donut bites.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins can also be added to a healthy meeting menu, even for those meetings that are on a budget. If you are purchasing your own snacks and meals, buying items in season and on sale can assist. Working with a caterer or local restaurant? Check around for various, local establishments that may offer a variety of healthy options. You may even be surprised that the cost is comparable or sometimes cheaper when purchasing food options that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.

You may even want to decide if food or drinks should be served at all meetings that you host. Allowing people to take a thirty minute break on their own may provide an opportunity for a mental, physical and emotional break in the action.

The Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina offers suggestions for meals and snacks at meetings that fall within the guidelines. You can start out small and gradually make changes to turn all meetings into a healthy meeting.

More information please contact the worksite wellness coordinator, Dawn Earnesty at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/worksite_wellness and http://mihealthmatters.msu.edu/ for upcoming programs and educational opportunities.

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