While we have had those moments — as we all do — where we wouldn’t mind grabbing a doughnut from those massive pink cardboard boxes (or the green and white ones if you are a Krispy Kreme lover), or tuck into that third slice of pizza from the center of the conference room table, we know these are not the right choices.
Sure, those snacks were the diet of choice of our college days, but they don’t give you the fuel you need to work around the clock nor do they add years to your life (though they do add unwanted inches to your waist line!).
This is an issue we have to deal with, because we are always on the go. Whether the event is a lunch or dinner meeting with a potential customer or partner, we rarely eat a “normal” lunch.
Nevertheless, learning to eat healthy at those lunch meetings, and trying to help others make better choices, too. Here’s how you can maintain a healthier lifestyle while at work and on the go:
- Bring healthy snacks with you when you can’t be sure there will be anything healthy available. There are many healthy snacks that come in snack-size bags or in standard containers, such as nuts, apples, bananas and grapes.
- Carry water wherever you go, to stay hydrated. This helps you avoid the sodas and sugary juices that might be offered. The water tends to fill you up faster, so you generally eat less and keep the cravings at bay. Add cranberry juice to the water or another flavor, like lemon, to mix it up a bit.
- Choose the healthiest items at a meeting or at least shrink your portions. You don’t want to offend your hosts, but we need to keep our diet on track. If there are just bagels and doughnuts for breakfast, opt for half of a bagel. It’s one day, and it’s not going to blow your whole regimen as long as you stick to moderation.
- Sometimes, you are asked ahead what you would like to have at a meeting. That’s when you can request healthy items, especially fruit and vegetable platters, which are refreshing and provide a natural energy source to stay awake through all-day meetings. Additionally, you might suggest low-calorie, low-fat sandwiches or hot entrees, including vegetarian options. At longer meetings, where three meals and snacks are provided, try to ensure that you can get healthy options across the day because they’ll help keep us all more alert rather than falling victim to the afternoon carb crash.
- When selecting a restaurant for a lunch or dinner meeting, choose someplace with only healthy choices. You may hate the choice because it lacks those amazing burritos you love to devour, but it helps you to stay healthier.
One thing learned while focusing on healthier choices at meetings and at your desk is that your actions tend to influence others. When they see you picking out healthy items or bringing your own, there is a positive effect on their behavior.
As a result, you will see new levels of energy and alertness even hours into a meeting — plus you are all a few pounds lighter. The next step will be an exercise component to meetings for team building and idea generation.
I think everyone would agree that will make meetings healthier and more fun.