Ever get tired during long meetings? Do you find it hard to stay alert? Do you look around the room and see people sinking down into their chairs or discreetly covering yawns with hands? Perhaps the answer is more brain food. It’s an important thing to consider at meetings. What food can really get you or your people in the right mindset and sustain their energy?
At meetings companies often lay on sandwiches and crisps for staff, thinking these are easy to eat while decision making, discussing and listening to others. But the crunching on crisps can be disruptive and sandwiches don’t really do much for keeping people energised. So what food can you provide in meetings to keep up focus and energy?
Firstly, nuts like walnuts and almonds are great brain food and provide energy. Walnuts are rich in vitamin E and almonds have copper and manganese for maintaining energy levels. Nuts are easy to provide, there are less conspicuous crunching noises than crisps and are much more filling too.
Another great option is bananas. Great for the brain and the sugar and fibre provide plenty of energy. Another filling option. Keeping it simple with snacks of fruit and nuts can be a great way to keep everyone alert. Yet sometimes snacks are not enough or you want something a bit more impressive.
Salads are great, but green salads don’t really cut it and too much lettuce can make for a salad that is more hard work to crunch through than the low level nutrients are worth. A Waldorf salad containing celery, apples, walnuts, grapes, is a more filling salad option and the apples and walnuts are known ‘brain foods’. This could go with Salmon, a great option as of course it has the Omega 3 for the brain, and there’s the added benefit that it is a lot kinder on the breath than other oily fish. Salmon can be served with spinach or brown rice, both healthy and energising options.
Sandwiches are still a good option for non-messy desks and easy finger food. Get imaginative with the fillings, such as using avocado instead of butter and roasted peppers to go with cold meats. Instead of white bread use rye or multigrain to avoid the white flour.
Consider how to maintain blood sugar levels and avoid that energy crash after eating too much sugar. It’s nice to have desserts and sweet food but consider lighter and healthier dessert options. Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients and are always popular. Perhaps blueberries and yoghurt or light chocolate mousse. A fruit platter and dark chocolate could be enough to satisfy the sweet tooths without risking those sugar rush energy crashes. Chocolate is a good idea as it improves cognition and lifts the mood.
What to drink? Stay hydrated with water as slight dehydration will affect brain function. Remember coffee is great for a short term energy boost but for longer meetings green tea could be a better option. It’s known as a healthier option but did you know it also improves brain function? You may not get as wired as you do on coffee as it has less caffeine and a more calming effect, but it can boost memory, learning and your mood.
So next time you are set for that long meeting over lunch and are reaching for the crisps and cakes take a moment to consider the consequences. Avoid those feelings of lethargy and meeting fatigue, by choosing foods like nuts, fruit and salmon instead. If you’re the one providing the food consider what best to order in not only according to taste, but also what will help stimulate brain function and lift energy levels to keep everyone alert throughout the meeting.