Take the Healthy Meeting Pledge

Health & WellnessMeeting Planning

This is the month to resolve to add ‘healthy’ to your checklist

Health clubs are busiest in January. It’s the month we start with shiny, new resolutions to mold our over-holidayed selves into the lean, fit Olympians we know have always been lurking inside us somewhere. (Come out, come out, come out wherever you are!) From past experience, we also know how fragile our conviction to do better can be. That’s why health clubs in February are less full.

Meetings are a lot like that, too. We design them for Olympians, but… things happen. The good news is that help is at hand. It’s the start of a brand-new year, so what better time to take the Healthy Meeting Pledge?

It’s a real pledge, created by National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, and dozens of organizations have taken it, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and American Diabetes Association. It’s divided into two levels—standard and superior healthy meetings. (Superior is defined as doing all the standard things, and more.) For complete details, go to healthymeeting.org.

Here are highlights.

Physical Activity

Standard

  • Encourage standing and stretching within the meeting space
  • Replace some chairs with exercise balls
  • Offer raised tables for standing
  • Break up sitting time periodically
  • Lead short physical activity breaks

Superior

  • Meeting locations with walkable destinations (provide walking/running maps)
  • Hotel with a free fitness facility
  • Exercise stations in or near the meeting space
  • Walking meetings when practical

Beverages

Standard

  • Water is the default beverage
  • No full-calorie, sugar-sweetened drinks

Superior

  • No sugar-sweetened beverages

Food

Standard

  • Healthier condiments and dressings, and serve them on the side
  • Desserts cut into small portions at dinner; only fruit to finish at lunch
  • No candy bowls in the meeting space
  • Avoid fried foods

Superior

  • Whole grains only (51 percent by weight or whole grain as the first ingredient)
  • Alternatives to processed and red meats
  • Only fruit or other healthful desserts

Sustainability

Standard

  • Reduce waste and packaging
  • Recycling bins available
  • Handouts on flash drives or online only

Superior

  • Zero-waste meeting
  • Locally sourced and sustainably produced food and giveaways

Tobacco-free

Standard

  • Smoke-free meeting facilities only

Superior

  • Entire venue is tobacco-free
  • City has comprehensive smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars