Platters of biscuits and doughnuts have long been the traditional office meeting snack, however while an energy boost might be needed to get through the next few items on the agenda of a long meeting it doesn’t have to be sugar-fuelled.
With a bit of imagination and forward planning there is no reason why meeting snacks can’t be healthy brain food, giving a boost without the unhealthy sugar and fat which won’t support brain power and will just add to the waistline.
If the aim of the snacks is to keep creativity flowing in fact, avoiding the sugar and confectionary will help maintain concentration and healthier foods will help to improve productivity.
For this post we asked our friends from SportzBits – an online source of sports gear reviews, to give us their list of healthy snack ideas for your next office meetings.
While you might need to keep the tea and coffee if asking people to concentrate first thing in the morning, why not try ditching the usual platter of Danish pastries and croissants and go for the healthy option.
A fresh fruit platter with bananas, apples and oranges make a nice healthy choice for first thing in the morning. Alternatively offer individual portions of freshly made fruit salad to make it really easy and convenient.
Other ideas include low fat yogurts or wholemeal toast with margarine and low-sugar spread choices. All of these are far healthier than the usual pastry choices. You could also go for wholegrain crackers with nut butter although check for allergies first.
If you want to offer a hot breakfast option then avoid the fried bacon butties and go for something healthier like scrambled eggs or savoury muffins and bagels with low-fat cream cheese. There are plenty of healthy breakfast choices with a little imagination.
The expected lunchtime meeting platter normally includes a plate of sandwiches – generally all laden with mayonnaise, a plate of crisps and a choice of patisseries, all laden with calories and with no healthy options at all.
Why not offer a make your own wrap service, with wholemeal wraps, and a choice of salads and cooked lean meats to be included in them. That way people can choose a healthy option but to their own taste.
Plenty of fresh salads including tomatoes, greens and cucumber as well as finger foods with low fat dips instead of the usual crisps will provide a healthier option. Low fat hummus and carrot sticks is a great lunchtime snack, alongside baked potatoes with a variety of options and side salad – just cut back on the mayonnaise if this is one of the choices.
Avoid offering sugary drinks as well – go for water and no-sugar added drinks instead to help keep the meeting attendees focussed and on track with their health as well the meeting schedule.
Lunchtime desserts should be light and fruit-based so a fruit salad bar is the perfect choice for people to choose their favourite fruit from. You could also offer low-fat yogurt and naturally sweet options such as waffles with honey.
For an afternoon meeting it’s about providing energy-boosting snacks for that afternoon slump, rather than a full meal, so try serving a selection of healthy options such as hummus with vegetables for dipping.
You could go for low-fat pretzels or bagels with low-fat cream cheese. It’s worth offering more fruit for a sugary pick-me-up and you could potentially try low fat protein bars or energy bars – but check the calories and sugar content first.
If people really do want a sugar fix then try offering individual portions of dark chocolate or handfuls of dried fruit and nut for each person. You could offer a low fat carrot cake if it really does have to be sweet – as a healthier alternative to a really rich sugary pastry.
Make sure there is always plenty of water to drink and a healthy tip is to avoid serving coffee or tea at an afternoon meeting as it’s unhealthy to drink caffeine later in the day and your workers won’t thank you for it when they can’t get to sleep that night. You could always offer decaf versions if they really want a hot drink.
One way to stop everyone from eating too much at meetings is to offer individual portions served to each person, perhaps in the form of a snack box, at their seat, rather than encouraging them to help themselves to a buffet-style approach. That way they can’t keep going back to temptation and end up eating way more than they normally would during the day at the office.
There are plenty of easy finger foods to offer as healthier snack alternatives at meetings rather than the traditional cake platter, so next time you are planning a meeting, put as much thought into the food as you do into the agenda and your workforce will thank you for it in the long-term.