Eating at your Meeting: 4 Easy Ways to Boost Brain Power & Alertness
We all know the importance of healthy eating. Yet too many business meetings offer less-than-healthy—or downright unhealthy—meal and snack options. With so much time spent in meetings, that’s gotta change.
Start here with four easy ways to create menus that boost brainpower, ensure content you worked so hard to design is remembered, and meeting attendees can fully participate.
1. Feed the brain protein.
When you want people to doze off, serve carbohydratezzzzz (muffins, cookies, soda). If you want them to be engaged and alert, pile on the protein: fish and chicken maintain energy (and red meat lowers it). Boost the brain with nuts, peanut butter, and other low-glycemic snacks and energy bars.
2. Strike the white.
Whether you’re eating a meal or a snack, avoid white sugar, white [non-wheat] flour, regular rice, and too many starches like spuds. And while it IS white, yogurt is a superb snack and perfect protein source. To satisfy the sweet tooth? Fresh fruit, naturally—and so-not-white DARK chocolate.
3. Move it or lose it.
When we move, we learn; the brain literally downloads information more effectively. (Wow—way to go, brain!). When in your event can you get people out of their chairs and actively engaged in an activity? Research by Dr. John Medina, author of Brain Rules and a developmental molecular biologist, explains that exercise improves cognition for two reasons. It:
- Increases oxygen flow to the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings? An increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
- Acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself, increasing neuron creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.
On top of that, play in place of passivity breaks down mental and personal barriers while it builds new neural connections to ideas and human connections to colleagues.
4. Go local.
Eating local is more than a cool trend. Local foods tend to hold more nutrients…and these days, we need all the nutrients we can get to meet and eat at our best.
Hungry for more?
- A resourceful list of healthy food substitutions for meetings by the King County (Seattle) Dept. of Public Health.
- A comprehensive Food For Thought report from the Conference Center.
- Andrea Sullivan, M.A., President of BrainStrength Systems has proven that functional foods and timing both factor into productive meetings.