Food to fuel the mind for your next meeting
Submitted by Catrin Jenkins on
When it comes to catering for meetings, there's little point in wheeling out the same old sandwiches and rubbery scotch eggs. Sure, it serves a purpose - but it certainly won't enthuse or inspire your guests.
Catering for office meetings and events serves up a prime opportunity to impress your guests with thoughtful fare. Good food not only tastes delicious but also creates common ground, helping delegates trigger conversation and open the door for collaboration. Plus, nutritious foods fuel the mind and play a major part in enhancing all-important productivity.
Ron Friedman Ph.D., an award-winning psychologist and author, has long studied the science of workplace excellence. In this insightful article for Harvard Business Review, he explains to what extent the food we eat determines our productivity:
Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon... Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach.
Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.
Most of us are well aware that high-carb foods make us feel drowsy. So why do we still insist on sandwiches, filled rolls and sweet cakes?
The reason is because it's easy, fast and convenient. This is especially true during busy workdays when time is short, but as Friedman chides, "we save 10 minutes now and pay for it with weaker performance the rest of the day." Sound familiar?
Where meetings are concerned however, there's no excuse for taking the easy route. Catering for meetings should be planned well in advance, which not only ensures your caterers are available but also gives you plenty of time to plan appropriate menus.
With that in mind, take a look at these suggestions for nutritious working lunches and snacks:
Team Meetings and Socials
The occasional box of doughnuts or brownies may be well-received, but don't turn it into a frequent habit. If you have regular team meetings and socials, try switching out high-sugar treats for healthy snacks like fruit and berries, yoghurt, unsalted nuts, vegetable sticks and hummus, wholegrain bread and crackers, and light granola bars.
Board Meetings and VIP Guests
For board meetings and appointments that are expected to last several hours, so-called 'superfoods' will help to keep your guests awake and focused. Avoid highly-processed carbohydrates and sugar -- usually found in white bread, potatoes, cookies, and cakes -- as they tend to create a spike in blood sugar followed immediately by a sleepy crash.
Instead, plan a menu that fuels the brain with long-lasting nourishment throughout the day. High on the list is wholegrain: unlike processed foods made with refined flour such as white bread and rice, wholegrain varieties still contain the bran and germ, which are rich in nutrients. They are digested more slowly than the refined version, which means we can utilise its energy over longer periods of time. These include dishes such as quinoa, salads, wholegrain pasta or bread, and lentils.
Cocktails & Canapés
Well, an evening of cocktails and canapés is rarely associated with carrot sticks and salad leaves. Yet for those who may be hunkering after satisfying yet healthy nibbles, you'll be astonished at some of the mouthwatering temptations caterers can whip up for a corporate party. Think mango and carpaccio delicately folded inside lettuce leaves; marinated scallops and skewered king prawns; butternut squash frittata; smoked salmon and caviar blinis; and more.
For those who choose to throw low-calorie caution to the winds, treat guests with delicious platters such as asparagus and truffle tarts; mini Yorkshire puddings with beef fillet; spiced Thai fish cakes; toasted English muffins topped with smoked salmon and quails egg; and the traditional favourite, fish and chips in a miniature newspaper roll.
Best of all, if you're planning a board meeting or an after-hours corporate event at one of Landmark Plc's business centres, we can help organise your event from start to finish, in one of our boardrooms or our atrium space at 110 Bishopsgate.
We have a selection of in-house menus to suit any event, or we'll happily work with your own choice of caterer. Simply speak to your client liaison manager or contact us at email@example.com to get started.