The Right Food for Your Meeting Purpose

Get brains heated (or cooled down, if that’s the goal) with these power foods

As any seasoned even planner knows all too well, mapping out an event menu is no easy feat. And whether it’s ingredients that don’t account for particular cultural nuances or dietary preferences, a menu mishap can put a damper on an otherwise flawless event. But while our senses can tell us whether we like or dislike the taste or smell of a dish almost immediately, how that food makes us feel isn’t so apparent. As Harvard Health emphasized, what we consume (and subsequently digest) can play a significant role in our emotions and energy levels throughout the day. 

When trying to manage the energy level of a whole group, culinary offerings become a crucial component of maintaining the desired vibe. The food you’ll want to serve up will hinge on the hoped-for outcome of your event––be it an idea-intensive Produce meeting, deep-thinking Ideate meeting or high-stakes Decide gathering. Here, we outline our favorites. 

Decide

The fuel: Bananas 
What the fuel will do: Reduce tension and elicit a calming effect 

In comparison to other types of meetings, Decide gatherings tend to be the most serious and high-stakes. And with such a critical decision on the line, you’ll need to ensure your guests are entirely Zen throughout. 

Potassium-rich bananas will be your best bet. As Health Extremist highlighted, the yellow fruit contains natural beta blockers, which prevent adrenaline from binding to beta receptors. And in layman’s terms, means bananas can help take the edge off. What’s more, potassium itself helps to steady your heartbeat and increases the flow of oxygen to your brain––which is especially helpful for performing complex tasks. 

Ideate

The fuel: Berries, oranges and apples
What the fuel will do: Inspire creativity

Steve Jobs once swore by the creativity-boosting power of being a “fruitarian,” and his claim is backed up by science. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information noted that fruit (from berries to citrusy varieties like oranges and lemons) is high in tyrosine, an amino acid that synthesizes protein and subsequently helps to keep our creative juices flowing. As the study goes on to state, foods with tyrosine help you think more deeply. 

As far as serving up the fruits for your own guests, no need to gild the lily––offer to guests as is. The color will undoubtedly play a role in energizing your attendees, too, as we’ve reported before. 

Produce

The fuel: Chocolate 
What the fuel will do: A burst in cognitive skills

In a typical Produce meeting, attendees work collaboratively to achieve a common goal––meaning that strong cognitive skills are essential. One study from the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that eating high amounts of flavanols helps to boost short-term cognitive skills, which translates to good news for your sweet-toothed attendees––and chocolate is packed with the stuff. As the study highlights, consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa was associated with increased gray matter for two to three hours. 

Naturally, there are a multitude of ways to serve up chocolate during your event. But in a particularly productive Produce meeting (where noshing on ooey, gooey cakes and cookies could detract from actually getting work done), consider having mini candy bars or dark chocolate chunks handy for attendees to snack on. But to avoid crashing on a choco-binge, consider having some healthier treats on hand, too, like a vegetable tray or almonds.  

Educate

The fuel: Avocados
What the fuel will do: Improve memory

On top of being packed with monounsaturated fats (aka the “good” kind), avocados are known to keep blood sugar levels steady and provide glowing hair and skin. But more to the point for an Educate meeting, the green, creamy fruit is also responsible for helping to retain information and improve memory. What’s more, avocados are high in protein,––a necessary molecule for keeping energy levels stable. 

From smoothies to sandwiches, the options for incorporating avocado into your meeting menu are endless. Take some cues from one of our recent posts

Celebrate & Network

The fuel: Clams
What the fuel will do: Ensure guests are “happy as a…” (you get the idea)

Although the occasion will vary from meeting to meeting, the primary goal behind any Celebrate or Network meeting is fairly similar: socialize, socialize, socialize. While the circumstances in which any one person might feel more social at an event tend to vary as well, being happy (as opposed to morose) certainly helps. Fun cocktails or confectionary treats might seem like the most logical choice for “happy” foods and beverages—but the scientific choice is a bit less predictable. 

As Prevention mentions, clams are heavy in vitamin B-12, which is responsible for creating dopamine and serotonin in the brain. A lack of which, as the article goes on to state, is associated with depression. And while clams contain the highest amount of B-12, you can also get a hefty amount of the mood-boosting vitamin in salmon and trout.

Good news: Not only will seafood boost attendees’ moods, but the setup is a conversation-starter, too. Allow guests to pick and choose from a seafood sampler tray in the center of the room.