Maybe you’re not always what you eat but emerging studies do bolster the theory that eating the right foods can have a big impact on how your brain works. This becomes evident at corporate meetings and conferences where attendees are usually served high carb and white flour foods in breakfasts, lunches and snacks. The result? A quick sugar rush, followed by a sharp crash, often leading to unfocussed, sleepy and all-around cranky participants.
As Andrea Sullivan, president of BrainStrength Systems states, “For a long time, we’ve focused on what we should not eat. This shift is about focusing on what we should eat to produce desired results.” Rather than the traditional meeting menus, the goal should be to provide foods which aid the brain in learning and improve attention skills. In the article, Ms. Sullivan goes on to describe the benefits of a more balanced offering; “eggs are rich in choline, which aids healthy neurotransmission and enhances our ability to pay attention, form new memories, and make decisions.”
That doesn’t mean cutting out sweets altogether though. Instead, it’s about providing healthier choices with foods that enhance your program rather than work against it. Dark chocolate, for example, has been proven to have a positive effect on cognitive performance even for hours after consumption. Although the lower costs of the sugar-laden foods are attractive for keeping within your budgets, when you look at the overall cost of its effects, are you really getting such a good deal? After all, what good does it do to fly someone in, pay for their lodging and participation, only to have them zone out after a sugar buzz, and subsequent crash?
Instead of pastries and cinnamon rolls, try serving quiche, whole grain breads and some fresh berries. High protein salads with light vinaigrettes are a great alternative for lunch. So are salmon and mackerel, both of which contain the fatty acid, omega 3, proven to rev up your thinking power. For snacks, serving nuts, yogurt, and fruits will prove more effective than a sugary cookie or cake.
Although it’s not anything we don’t already know in our personal lives, carrying that thinking into the business meeting arena may show returns much greater than a snazzy presentation or a captivating guest speaker can ever provide. Besides, how likely will it be that your attendees will remember your message if they’re too busy trying to stay awake?
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