Make Meetings HealthierCreating a culture of health and wellness in meetings and conferences is an important way to help people eat well and be physically active, foster healthier work environments, and cultivate social norms around healthier choices and behaviors. I was recently at a meeting where cheesecake was served at an afternoon break. Cheese cake is a treat that tastes good, but perhaps is not the best choice for attendees who had been sitting all day and had eaten lunch a few hours prior to the afternoon break.
Supporting healthy food and beverage choices, providing physical activity opportunities, and promoting sustainability are the areas of focus for the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) meeting and conference guidance. This toolkit is available at: www.healthymeeting.org.
Here are some tips for planning meals and snacks for meetings.· Make water the default beverage.
· Do not offer full-calorie sugar-sweetened beverages. Serve 100% juice, 100% juice diluted
with water, low-fat or non-fat milk, calcium and vitamin D-fortified soymilk, or beverages with
40 calories per container or less.
· Offer low-fat or non-fat milk with coffee and tea service in addition to or in place of half and
· Offer nutritious food and beverage options.
· Offer recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, especially for all-day meetings.
· Place healthier foods and beverages in prominent positions, where they are most likely to be seen and more likely to be chosen.
· Post calories in worksite cafeterias and at conferences and meetings when appropriate and/or possible.
· Provide reasonable portions of foods and beverages (i.e., avoid large portions).
· Consider not serving food at breaks that are not mealtimes; instead provide physical activity.
· Ensure healthier options are attractively presented, appealing, and taste good.
· Offer physical activity opportunities that are relevant to the audience and environment to help people achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
· Prioritize sustainable practices when possible, by minimizing waste, encouraging recycling, and sourcing products from sustainable producers.