Lunch Matters: Learn More at Conferences with What You Eat

Topics: Wellness and Health

I’ve been preparing for a very exciting conference next week in Baltimore with CIGNA and Johns Hopkins.  I’m giving a keynote: The Food Rx:  Your Body’s Own Culinary Medicine for Healthy Aging.healthy conference buffet

The meeting planner has also asked me to work with the executive chef and catering manager at the Hyatt to design healthy conference meals.  Can you think of anything more fun?  I love doing this.

Attendees may be unaware that some food served at meetings impairs learning, and that some can improve it.

So, I looked it up. A medium carb/medium fat/modest protein lunch improves mood, performance on memory and cognitive tests, and reduces drowsiness.  Compared with either a high carb lunch or a low carb one.

The wrong lunch means mid-afternoon mental task slowing, poorer attention and memory…not revived until a late snack.

Ten years ago, 100% of planned medical meeting meals were starchy and sugary. Mostly, they still are. And we’re not as productive or sharp because of it.

Small changes can improve the quality of food and beverages, without increased cost–if you know what and how to ask. It just takes a good menu, and speaking the language of the kitchen so you get what you really need.

Lunch is an opportunity for health-conscious organizations to practice what we preach, in a painless, tasty way.

Attendees should have the option of flavorful, healthful food, and these will!

  • John,
    Have fun with your keynote presentation. I hope you can work in some kale to the lunch menu, not just as decoration on the plate or the salad bar! In addition, I hope the hotel chef is working with local farmers to source and serve as much locally grown organic foods as possible. It can be done!

  • Thanks, Diana: I’m thrilled to give the talk and consult on meals. I can’t wait.
    The hotel (the Hyatt) Chef and catering chef have been receptive: hospitality folks are always happy to accommodate, in my experience.

    And meeting planners too–they just don’t speak the same language as kitchen people, and are so overbusy they don’t have time to investigate what goes into each dish.

    I’ll write about it later in the month or next.