Healthy Living in the North

Eating smart at work

Platter of sandwiches

Meetings, conferences, and gatherings often include catered lunches, sweet beverages, and snack breaks. Follow the Eat Smart Meet Smart guidelines to make your next meeting a healthy one!

I read somewhere that the average full-time worker spends 2,000 or more hours at work each year. That’s almost 25% of our time!

And if you’re like many of us in this modern-day work environment, your day is filled with meetings and conferences and, most of the time, these events include helping after helping of pastries and cookies, buffet-style lunches, coffee, and sugar-sweetened beverages. These are normally OK as treats every once in a while, but eaten day after day, these foods take a toll on your health.

If you’re not prepared, your healthy eating goals can suffer – think “fail to plan, plan to fail” – because these types of meeting and catering foods replace the healthier ones you may have brought from home. And these foods drain your energy levels leaving you sluggish and less productive with your work. They may even sabotage your physical activity goals, to boot!

To avoid this, the next time you have a meeting or all-day conference, check out Eat Smart Meet Smart. This guide can help you plan and host healthy meetings and conferences in the workplace. It covers a range of gatherings and includes tips for short meetings and menus for all-day events.

You can be the boss of your nutrition with this guide! Work with your favorite caterer to find options that are prepared with less salt, fat and sugar, and that will keep you focused, energized and healthy.

Yogurt parfait in a jar.

Swap the pastries, donuts, and sweets at your next morning meeting for DIY yogurt parfaits with fruit, granola, and nuts!

Here are some ideas to get you started on healthy eating at your next meeting or conference:

  • Ask for pitchers of water on each table to keep everyone hydrated and focused.
  • Order lighter lunches that include salads alongside whole grain sandwiches or wraps that are filled with vegetables and lean protein such as chicken, eggs, legumes or cheese.
  • Offer fruit rather than traditional sweets for dessert.
  • Consider taking an activity break rather than serving food. Sometimes people eat just because the food is offered rather than because they are hungry and this can lead to overeating.

My favorite snack for morning meetings is fruit and yogurt parfaits where there is a selection of low-fat yogurt, an assortment of sliced fruit, chopped almonds or other unsalted nuts, and some low-fat granola. For a great granola recipe check out dietitian Carly Phinney’s recent Foodie Friday Blog.

Do you have any tips for an Eat Smart Meet Smart meeting or conference?

Northern Health’s nutrition team has created these blog posts to promote healthy eating, celebrate Nutrition Month, and give you the tools you need to complete the Eating 9 to 5 challenge! Visit the contest page and complete weekly themed challenges for great prizes including cookbooks, lunch bags, and a Vitamix blender!

Beth Evans

About Beth Evans

As a registered dietitian, Beth is dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities make the healthiest choices available to them, and enjoy eating well based on their unique realities and nutrition needs. Juggling work and a very busy family life, Beth is grateful for the time she spends with her family enjoying family meals, long walks and bike rides. She also loves the quiet times exploring in her garden, experimenting in the kitchen, and practicing yoga and meditation.