Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - Host Healthier Meetings: A How To Guide 1175

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - Host Healthier Meetings: A How To Guide


Give meetings and conferences a health boost with these tips. 

b11ed85b4b8278d43027e07d522c9c33-huge-luWhen you consider how much time nurses spend at work, it makes sense that there’s a strong link between our work environment and our health. Nearly half of most people’s waking hours are in the workplace, and many of those hours are spent in meetings and conferences. Unfortunately, even in the world of health care, it’s not uncommon for the foods and beverages served at meetings and conferences to be loaded with fat, sugar, or salt. Plus, meetings and conferences tend to be sedentary events. 
Check out the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity Healthy Meeting Toolkit. It’s packed with ideas for stepping up your healthy meeting strategy. The toolkit suggests four key areas to focus on when trying to make meetings and conferences better for participants, including: 
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Sustainability
  • Non-smoking
Why is it that meetings and baked goods seem to go hand in hand? Or that the midday snacks at conferences tend to be pastries? Instead, suggest some of these healthy alternatives for your next work event:
  • Make water the main beverage, but if other beverages are offered, consider unsweetened iced tea, flavored waters, or seltzers instead of sugary sodas
  • Offer skim milk with coffee in addition to or instead of creamer
  • Skip white breads or pastries and serve whole grain varieties
  • Offer salad dressings or healthy condiments on the side
  • Keep a bowl of fruit or a fruit salad available during meetings and conference breaks
  • For dinner events, keep plate and portion sizes reasonable
  • Stick to lean meats, fish, poultry and vegetarian options when possible 
Physical activity
A day filled with meetings or a typical-three-day conference can be draining. It’s not necessarily because of the workload or that the events themselves aren’t interesting. Often times, the exhaustion you feel comes from sitting for hours at a time. Incorporating some form of physical activity into your day, or the events themselves, may help you feel more energized and excited about your work. Consider incorporating these ideas:
  • Let attendees know it’s okay to move or stretch during a meeting
  • Try walking meetings
  • Provide stretch or activity breaks during conferences or all-day meetings
  • Lead a mini-workout in between sessions
  • When booking hotels for conferences, ensure attendees can use the on-site or local gym free of charge
  • Let employees wear comfortable clothing and shoes so they can be active when they have the opportunity
If it’s your job to host or plan meetings, consider the health of the environment. A few thoughts: 
  • Reduce waste and excess packaging at every opportunity
  • Keep recycling bins handy
  • Use locally-sourced and sustainably-produced food 
  • Instead of providing handouts, make important papers available online to reduce waste
And, of course, provide a safe, tobacco-free environment for all participants. You might not be able to check off every item on this list, but keeping these ideas in mind and letting workplace leadership know about them can help you to begin implementing changes. 
What else would you add to this list?  Let us know in our discussion or post in our Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Facebook group. Don't forget to show us your photos. Tag us and a nurse you know with #HealthyNurse. 

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National alliance for nutrition and activity healthy meeting toolkit. (n.d.).

This content is made possible in part by the generosity of Sodexo, supporting Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ in Quality of Life and Nutrition.  

Links updated 12/14/22

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Blog Nutrition 03/01/2018 7:26pm CST

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