So, what’s on the menu at your meetings?... Does a full sugar high and bloated belly sound familiar? Traditional conference offerings usually include simple carbs slathered in sugar or weighty snooze inducing lunches. Either way, its not a winning look for your event.
So what’s the deal?
We all know that food plays a major role in our mood and manner - hangry is a real thing after all! That means to get the most out of the attendees, it's time to start introducing meals at your meetings or events that promote concentration, lift mood, increase energy and are, of course, still delectable.
Have a look at our list below to see the kinds of food that are considered “brain food” for their focus and energy expanding properties. These are the powerhouses that we have included in our own specially designed brain food conference menu at Brahman Hills, and they are champs.
Let’s introduce you to vitamin K - kung-fu concentration master and all round brain booster. You can find this in leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach. With a little help from side kicks - folic acid, fibre, vitamin C and beta carotene - these leafy greens are powerful super foods. Add them to your menu and let the brain saving begin.
Did you know that there is something in berries that gives them that vibrant, tempting hue? And did you know that this natural plant pigment, called flavonoid, also improves memory? Well, if you keep eating your colourful berries, you’ll never forget it! That’s right, delicious blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and strawberries (yes, we are calling this one a berry) are packed with nutrients and vitamins that’ll enhance brain function. As an added bonus, blackcurrants - through their potent source of vitamin C - are believed to reduce anxiety and stress and blueberries are hailed for their short term memory boosting powers. Also, berries are delicious so there is always that.
What do fatty fish have that we don’t? Ah, that’s right essential fatty acids, like the famous Omega 3, which our bodies can’t produce. Found in salmon, halibut, tuna and trout, these essential unsaturated fats help promote brain power and play a role in making serotonin - the good mood chemical. Although chicken or beef might have been your first instinct, why not consider a fishy option? Your brain will thank you for it.
Ditch those simple carbs - sugary cereals, giant choc chip muffins, bagels and pastries. We know this might hurt in the beginning. They'll give you a brief rush of energy, but you’ll be crashing by the time the first meeting kicks off. So opt instead for equally delicious choices involving wholegrain cereals, bread, rice and pasta. Unlike their white, over-refined counterparts, these guys will slowly and steadily release energy, keeping your attendees focussing and feeling satiated for longer. This means they will be more productive during the seminars or meetings and they’ll avoid the sugar crash grump session. Whatever meals you choose, be sure to base them around wholegrain foods.
Nuts might be small, but they are the giants of the snacking world. Great sources of protein and healthy fats, nuts can keep delegates going without any pesky sugar lows to contend with. In fact, some nuts, like the impressive walnut, have been shown to improve memory. High in vitamin E, nuts are a handful of healthy brain power and they are very more-ish. Perfect for a meeting snack.
Another snacking winner, also seen around the wholegrain department and sprinkled over the leafy greens, are the ever versatile seeds. How about those pumpkin seeds? High in zinc which elevates concentration and cognitive skills and also packed with tryptophan - an amino acid part of the chemical reaction that produces the “happy hormone” serotonin. Want cheerful, thinking attendees? Put some seeds on the table - some great ideas might sprout…
We would never dream of doing away with coffee breaks. That’d be unethical. In fact, research done by people in white lab coats has shown that caffeine not only enhances short term memory, but it also promotes brain function and may help inculcate new memories. Of course, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and too much caffeine is, well, not so good. In fact, in very rare cases, people can experience caffeine overdose. But seeing as this is only a coffee/tea station and not a vat of pure caffeine, we think it’s safe enough to encourage the much loved coffee break. Grab yourself a well-deserved cuppa concentration and network while you’re at it.
Have a look at the Brahman Hills conference menu tailored around super foods to see how scrumptious this kind of conference food can be. Onwaba Maholwana - Assistant Manager at Brahman Hills - has a final few words to help you on your way to cooking up a conference high on concentration and low on lag time:
“When choosing your menu – include light, fresh and wholesome brain food so that delegates remain energised throughout the conference. Replace the conference mints with healthy options: mixed nuts/droewors/biltong/dried fruits/spiced nuts.”
We think Onwaba is a multi-talented genius (and we are not at all biased!) so best do what the lady says and then you’ll have yourself a hugely successful conference.