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Next on the meeting agenda: brain food

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in Meeting Management,Office Management

You may have seen Chef Jamie Oliver’s show “Food Revolution,” in which he transforms school menus.

Now Oliver is doing the same thing for employees slogging through long off-site meetings. Hotel chains that cater to business are jumping on the bandwagon.

Feeding the brain well during the day leads to better concentration. So if you plan off-site meetings or conferences, boost the meeting’s ROI by rethinking food.

Tips for setting a menu for an office or off-site meeting:

1. Balance blood sugar. Avoid white-flour treats, such as danishes and doughnuts, which pump up blood-glucose levels, then trigger an afternoon crash.

“The key is to eat foods that enter the blood stream in a slower, stable way, and to eat a little bit about every three hours to maintain level blood sugar all day long,” says Andrea Sullivan, of BrainStrength Systems.

2. Rethink meats. Red meats and turkey produce tryptophan in the brain, which leads to a feeling of calm and well-being. If you’re offering folks an end-of-the-day meal (with no work afterward) or priming them for a team-building exercise, such a dish might be a great choice.

If, however, the group needs to learn and retain information, opt for a lean meat like roasted chicken, a salad, a vegetarian wrap or salmon.

3. Scale back fats. Processing fatty foods taxes the digestion and makes you tired. Keep desserts light and small.

Brad Nelson, an executive chef at Marriott International, says “Groups are moving away from the 3 p.m. chocolate chip cookie break.”

At Westin Hotels, a restorative afternoon break might feature a minted orange and green apple salad topped with a bit of cinnamon yogurt, while a morning snack could be apple wedges with a bee-pollen yogurt dip, and almonds.

— Adapted from “Brain Food Comes to Meetings,” Sarah J.F. Braley, Meetings & Conventions.

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