A Healthy Menu for Your Next Event

Ah, summer. A favorite season for many, but not without it’s own set of flaws. Though some of us love soaking up the glowing sunshine rays, the warm weather, crowded meeting space and not-so-healthy event food can also leave us feeling a little sluggish.

If you’re like me, once 12 pm hits, you’re heading to Starbucks for a deliciously over-engineered cup of coffee.

I’ll be the first admit that I start dragging around lunchtime. And if you’re anything like me, once 12pm hits, you’re heading to Starbucks for a deliciously over-engineered cup of coffee. And while I don’t plan on giving up my pretentious vanilla-frappuccino-2-shots-of-espresso-no-whip beverage any time soon, I invite us all to think about some healthier alternatives when we’re looking for a little boost.

We all want our event attendees to be energetic, productive and feeling excited to be there. Here’s a quick rundown of some super healthy foods that naturally reinforce focus, memory, energy and help our moods. Add these ingredients to your next event menu and see the energy and focus increase before your very eyes. (I’d make a food for thought joke, but I respect you too much.)

Food You Should Serve:

Some days you eat a salad, hit the gym and beat the steps on your fit bit. Other times, you reach for the chocolate and watch one or twelve episodes of anything Netflix. But hey, life’s about balance, right?

Avocado
Avocado is a monosaturated fat and promotes healthy blood flow. The delicious, pitted veggie helps us think, improves cognitive function and also contains vitamin K, folate and potassium—other nutrients known to improve brainpower.

Berries, oranges, apples, bananas
Gimme some sugar. Natural sugar, that is. All fruit contains natural sugar famous for curbing cravings and boosting stamina. Oranges and apples, the power couple of the fruit world, can improve short-term memory and aid in preventing memory loss. Bananas are teeming with potassium which increases nerve cell response and blueberries are full of antioxidants which establish healthy connections among millions of teeny-tiny brain cells.

Dark chocolate
Some days you eat a salad, hit the gym and beat the steps on your fit bit. Other times, you reach for the dark chocolate and watch one or twelve episodes of anything Netflix. But hey, life’s about balance, right? As with all of life’s yummy treats, dark chocolate is super healthy when eaten in moderation. It’s got the proper amount of sugar for a quick boost, but not as much as its saccharin-filled counterpart, milk chocolate. The oh-so tempting treat also contains compounds that boost memory, attention span, reaction time and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate also eases stress, a helpful side effect for the high-strung, overworked planners out there and makes for the perfect dessert to wrap up any great event. Just be sure not to overindulge.

Try hard-boiling them and tossing them on a bed of greens for a protein-packed salad or get whisking for a fun breakfast station!

Eggs

Besides being super rich in protein, eggs also have a ton of vitamin D, B12, riboflavin, selenium and lutein. Our yolked friends are also a great source of choline, which is believed to increase the cognitive process. Tip: Try hard-boiling them and tossing them on a bed of greens for a protein-packed salad or get whisking for a fun breakfast station!

Fermented foods
Okay, hear me out. Fermented foods, like miso, pickled veggies, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and sauerkraut, are actually chock-full of probiotics (the good bacteria that aids digestion). These little microbes work wonders on our immune systems, so eat up!

Nuts
High in protein, full of healthy fat and versatile en la cocina, nuts are a triple threat in the food world. Macadamia nuts are great for normal brain function, almonds work to restore memory and walnuts support memory retention and contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Oily fish
Yes, oily fish. Salmon, mackerel and kippers are very high in omega-3 fats, which give us all a major cognitive boost!

Quinoa, it’s not just fun to say—it’s fun (and healthy!) to eat.

Quinoa
The tiny grain contains more protein than any other grain and is drenched in amino acids. Tip: substitute quinoa for rice and enjoy a healthier alternative to all of your favorite dishes.

Food to Avoid:

Though they may be tasty and satisfying at the time, eating sugary foods and white flour-filled eats takes a serious toll on our glucose levels and overall health. Here’s a quick list of what foods you should avoid serving at your events:

Fats
Our bodies have a difficult time digesting fats. The pesky nutrient can make us feel drowsy and sluggish, the opposite of how we want to feel at an event.

Turkey and red meat
You know that tired feeling that creeps over you after Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey contains tryptophan, a chemical which increases serotonin in our brains, causing us to feel sleepy. “But wait, isn’t serotonin good for you?” Yes, absolutely. However, the “happy chemical” which puts us in such a great mood can also be a little relaxing, causing us to feel sleepy and often results in low energy.

Soda
Sure, the carbonated, fizzing aluminum can quenches our thirst and offers a quick caffeine-induced pick-me-up, but these chemical-filled drinks leave you feeling drained, and sometimes hungry. Regular soda contains a ton of added sugar, and the fake sugar found in diet soda has been regarded as even worse for your health. These calorie-reduced artificial sweeteners often contain aspartame, a controversial chemical that may cause a litany of health concerns.

High-processed sodium
High-processed sodium is typically found in salty snacks like chips and pretzels.

Processed Meat
Think hot dogs, hamburgers, cold cuts and bacon. These meats are notoriously high in sodium, hormones, preservatives and antibiotics. This is the perfect combination for lethargy, reduced energy and long term damage to our overall health.

For more examples of F&B goodies you can serve up at your next event, check out 5 Fresh F&B Ideas for Summer Events and Interactive Food is the Hottest New Event F&B Trend.

Molly Morris

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