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Good health is good for business: boost productivity by providing healthy meals at conferences and events Print

Imagine you are the presenter of an afternoon wellness seminar at a conference just after what was described in the event brochure as the sugar-fix break. The smorgasbord full of treats served at the break has left people dozy and unable to concentrate – an inevitable carb-coma state, since simple carbohydrate sugars spike in the blood stream quickly and then fall abruptly.

Then imagine you are hired as a nutrition speaker for a different company’s health and safety meeting that included an unhealthy lunch: greasy lasagna, goopy Caesar salad and butter-drenched white garlic toast, rounded off with a platter of Nanaimo bars and cans of pop.

As a wellness and productivity speaker, both of the above scenarios have happened to me and left me, as well as many attendees, confused about the mixed message. Corporate groups, associations and government groups hire wellness experts to inspire their team to take personal responsibility for their health, yet sometimes fail to walk the talk by taking the same responsibility.

Before you plan your company’s next corporate wellness meeting, conference or event, here are some things to keep in mind.

Healthy meals boost productivity

wholesome breakfastTo maximize attendee energy and provide healthy options for full day conferences and events, consider these best practices:

Continental breakfast: Skip pastries and request all breads be whole grain, rye and multi-grain. Be careful not to solely offer muffins and bagels, since these foods don’t have enough protein, and attendees will get sleepy. Add a source of protein such as peanut butter, nuts, yogurt cups, cottage cheese, cheese cubes or hard-cooked eggs. Serve fresh fruit trays, coffee, tea, water and un-sweetened juices.

Hot breakfast: If you are offering a hot breakfast, go for whole grain toast or whole wheat pancakes with scrambled eggs or a vegetable and cheese egg frittata. Round out the meal with oatmeal, fresh fruit salad, yogurt, bran cereal, coffee, tea, water and unsweetened juices.

Cold lunch: If you are bored with standard wraps and sandwiches, consider a salad bar. Serve bowls of spinach, mixed greens and vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers and grated carrots. Serve chicken, shrimp and beef in cubes or on skewers. Include alternative protein sources such as chickpeas, cheese cubes, grated feta, pump-kin seeds and slivered almonds. Serve several types of vinaigrette salad dressings and don’t forget to include whole grain buns and bread for some complex carbohydrates for brain fuel. For dessert, serve small bowls of fruit crisp.

Hot lunch: Offer a buffet of dark green mixed salad greens, whole grain buns, seasonal mixed vegetables, chicken or beef entree with limited added fat, and rice or oven roasted yams and potatoes prepared with a small amount of oil. For vegetarians, offer vegetable lasagna, lentil curry or tofu stir-fry. For dessert, serve chocolate dipped strawberries and a fruit tray.

Coffee breaks: Serve more than just coffee and tea, since attendees need energy to get the most out of your event. Save on cost and improve nutrition by offering jugs of water and skipping pop.

Best healthy snack attacks

– Sliced fruit tray and cheese cube tray

– Yogurt parfaits (yogurt, berries and granola)

– Whole grain crackers and cheese platter

– Bruschetta on whole wheat baguette with cheese

– Devilled eggs and raw veggies and dip

– Whole-wheat pita bread wedges and hummus

– Trail mix or individual bowls of nuts and dried fruit

– Snack-size unsweetened fruit and yogurt smoothies

– Shrimp with cocktail dipping sauce and whole grain crackers

– Mini bran or oatmeal muffins, yogurt cups and fresh fruit salad cups

– Mini skewers of satay chicken, beef or shrimp, and veggies and dip

-Regular or decaf lattes, tea lattes and a bowl of fresh fruit

Why invest in wellness?

When employers invest in wellness they can expect a direct return on investment through boosted morale, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and lower medical costs.

For sales teams, executives and managers, there are added benefits: positive changes in confidence come when you gain control of your health and lose excess weight. If you look and feel your best, this can help you lead, sell and negotiate better.

For administrative teams, having better energy and health means you’ll have the resiliency to keep up with the relentless multi-tasking your job demands. Administrative teams are the heart of keeping a company running, and are often the first impression for clients in any business. Investing in wellness can help administrators project the positive energy and vitality every company wants. Good health is indeed good for business.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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