How to Have a Healthy Meeting

May 30, 2017

We spend almost half of our waking hours at work. And our sedentary and snack-filled workplaces help pack on the pounds and contribute to chronic disease. Find out some tips for a healthier meeting, here...

We spend almost half of our waking hours at work. For too many of us, much of that time is spent sitting in a chair. And when we leave our desk to go to a meeting or conference (to another chair, naturally), there is most often a meal or snack involved. Croissants and donuts for a morning meeting, or white bread sandwiches with potato chips and a soda for lunch. Not exactly brain food. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in partnership with the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, created a toolkit for healthier meetings and events.

The truth is, our sedentary and snack-filled workplaces help pack on the pounds and contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Here are some of the toolkit's healthier substitutions for the meals, drinks, and snacks typically made available at workplace meetings and conferences. This toolkit is great for HR directors, caterers, hotel chains, event planners, and more to help make it easy to put together a satisfying and delicious meal or snack that won't undermine the health of their employees and guests.

Here are some of the CSPI’s suggestions:

Whole Grain Mini Bagels With Peanut Butter vs. Doughnuts
Doughnuts are packed with added sugars that few of us can afford, nutritionally. If planning or attending a meeting, go for the filling whole grain option.

100 Percent Juice vs. "Juice Drinks"
Whole fruit is healthier than juice. But in moderation, real juice can at least provide nutrients. “Juice drinks" are just glorified sugar water.

Veggies And Hummus vs. Cheese and Crackers
Cheese and crackers’ combination of crunchy, creamy, and fatty can promote overindulgence. Carrots and hummus can provide a savory crunch without the saturated fat in cheese or empty calories in white flour crackers.

Popcorn vs. Chips
Skip the high-fat, high-sodium potato chips offered at snack time. Light popcorn is a whole grain that can better satisfy a crunchy snack attack.

Spa Water vs. Soda
Soda and other sugar beverages are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet. Skip the overly sweet stuff and go with ice water with fresh fruit or cucumber slices for some color, or seltzer with a splash of juice.

A Healthier Banquet Meal
You can still treat your guests like royalty as they watch your conference’s keynote speech without breaking their calorie budget for the day. Instead of fatty steak and cream sauce with a side of white potatoes, try a delicious grilled salmon filet with a whole grain like quinoa and herb salad and colorful veggies.

For more suggestions, check out the Health Meeting Toolkit