Well-Being is becoming a trend that is hitting America in its gut. Literally. With over one-third of adult Americans are considered obese , and 17% of America’s children are also considered obese, and rates continue to soar upward. Obesity is a disease that continues hit the heart of this country. Just as fast food restaurants have to adjust their menus to provide healthier options for those that require them, meeting and event professionals should too.  Our attendees should be provided with appealing and tasteful options that helps them make better choices. Here are some helpful tips in how to plan a healthier meeting:

  • Healthy Food Selections (offering proteins throughout the day as healthy options; add whole grains for each meal; offer fruit spreads in addition to butter or margarine; offer high bran or fiber cereals as an option; bring on the fruit toppings; offer fruit at every meal – whole, sliced, dried)
  • Get them Moving (pick a location that is ideal for attendees to walk outdoors; provide walking maps)
  • Fitness Center (pick a location that has a great accessible fitness center for all attendees)
  • Give Incentives for being active (ie. pedometer challenges; Wii Competitions)
  • List the Calories on menu or item card
  • Provide lower calorie menu
  • Longer Breaks (to allow them to walk around; get them moving and stimulate digestion)
  • Smaller Plates
  • Add Fruit!
  • No Food at breaks; just beverages; keep it light
  • Sauces on the side
  • Play music – get people moving!
  • Healthy Icebreakers (exercise energizers)
  • Nice Herbal Tea Selection – to combat coffee
  • Not only do we need to watch out for those that might be in need of alternate food selections due to dietary restrictions, meeting/event professionals also have to make sure all of the options are on the table. No longer does meat and potatoes cut it. Meeting & event professionals need to make sure their menus are uniquely flexible to accommodate those that might be vegetarian, low carb, high carb, low calorie, gluten free, or High Calorie.

Would love to hear your ideas on how you make your meetings healthier!

Additional Resources:

Healthy Meetings Guide, Tufts University
http://www.tufts.edu/nutrition/childreninbalance/documents/GuidetoCreatingHealthyMeetings.pdf

Healthy Meeting Tips (Network for a Healthy California)
www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cpns/Pages/WorksiteFitBusinessKit.aspx#2

Meeting Well Guide Book (American Cancer Society)
www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/meetingwell.asp

Wellness Work – Planning Healthy Meeting/Events
http://www.acgov.org/wellness/documents/Planning_Healthy_Meetings_and_Events.pdf

Ideas for 10 Minute Physical Activity Breaks – (Eat Smart Move More North Carolina)
www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/FaithfulFamilies/Texts/FF_App-D_IdeasForBreaks.pdf

Photo attribute: Vegetables by Martin Cathrae via Flickr