Coffee breaks are a meeting planner’s comfort food. They’re used to fuel attendees in the hopes of keeping them awake during long days of learning and networking. The sad truth: Cookies and pastries that accompany coffee and soft drinks don’t offer any sort of lasting pick-me-up. Simple carbs (sugars, sodas, white flours, snack foods) are very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. This makes blood sugars spike and then, drop leading to mental fatigue and foggy brains. Complex carbohydrates (vegetables, legumes and whole grains), on the other hand, break down slowly and provide a steady supply of energy.
To keep attendees’ brains fit throughout the day, try this:
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast of fiber and protein.
- Serve whole grains (brown carbs/grains) instead of white sugars and flours.
- Have plenty of water available to keep attendees hydrated and feeling full.
- Fit fiber (legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables) into the menu to keep blood sugars steady.
- Integrate unsaturated/good fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon) to build healthy brains.
Superfoods improve mood, memory, concentration and alertness. They promote healthy brain aging and decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and digestive diseases. Many venues have joined the superfoods bandwagon and offer not only healthy food choices but nutrient-rich foods. This results in engaged, energized attendees.
These superfoods act as memory boosters:
- Blueberries. This “superfruit” is packed with antioxidants. Improves or delays short-term memory loss.
- Asparagus. Folate rich, helps with information retention and recall.
- Sweet potatoes and eggs. Their B vitamins enhance memory.
- Oily fish (salmon, trout). The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They boost memory and keep your cognition function about three years younger than your real age.
- Pumpkin seeds. They contain zinc, which is vital for memory and thinking skills.
- Low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese). These produce neurotransmitters that improve memory and alertness.
These superfoods boost concentration:
- Chicken. High in B12 for healthy brain function and protein that helps attendees stay on task.
- Walnuts, and pumpkin, chia and flax seeds. High in omega-3 fatty acids that improve energy and mental performance.
- Whole grains. These promote release of serotonin that can enhance concentration.
- Dark chocolate. It’s antioxidant rich and improves blood flow and brain health.
- Black currants. Powerful source of vitamin C. Great for mental agility.
- Broccoli and kale. Rich in vitamin K, which enhance cognitive function and brain power.
Try these substitutions
For meals that energize, try replacing (or augmenting) the standard continental/hot breakfast with oatmeal and blueberries, buckwheat pancakes, fruit bruschetta, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit or yogurt parfaits.
Creative coffee-break superfoods can include baked kale chips, vegetable and fruit platters, fruit kebabs, a trail-mix station (with nuts and seeds), a smoothie/juice bar, quinoa and granola bars, a flavored-water station (with cucumber, orange or lemons slices), dark chocolate-covered strawberries and apple slices with yogurt dip.
What’s your favorite superfoods treat at events? How often do you see it? Please share your comments in the box below.