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Health & Wellness Meetings Take Center Stage

June 14, 2018

Health and wellness is taking center stage. In fact so much so that the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) created Healthy Meeting Guidelines designed to foster a culture of health and wellness in meetings and conferences. The primary areas of focus are offering healthy food and beverage choices, providing physical activity opportunities, requiring a tobacco-free environment, and promoting sustainability.

To help meeting planners in their ongoing efforts to deliver health conscious meetings, NANA offers a toolkit along with its recommendations for healthy meetings. Among some of the more common suggestions such as serving fruits, vegetables and whole grains at all day meetings, the organization also lists several not so obvious ideas to help boost health and wellness.

Ideas to up the health factor at your next meeting

• Consider not serving food at breaks that are not mealtimes; instead provide physical activity.

• Offer physical activity opportunities that are relevant to the audience and environment to help people achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

•Place healthier foods and beverages in prominent positions, where they are most likely to be seen and more likely to be chosen.

• Ensure healthier options are attractively presented, appealing, and taste good.

In addition to its Healthy Meeting Guidelines, NANA developed the Healthy Meeting Pledge with two levels, Standard and Superior, outlining what it considers to be the key components of a healthy meeting. The pledge is designed to make it easier for meeting planners to host healthy meetings.

Guidelines to deliver health conscious meetings

Standard Healthy Meeting
• Make water the default beverage.
• Serve 100% juice diluted with water, low-fat or non-fat milk, soymilk.

Superior Healthy Meeting
Includes all Standard Healthy Meeting recommendations, plus the following:
• Eliminate all sugar-sweetened beverages

Standard Healthy Meeting
• Offer fruits and/or vegetables every time food is served.
• Offer reasonable portion sizes.
• In buffet lines or self-service, support sensible portions by offering reasonably-sized entrees and appropriately-sized serving utensils and plates.
• Serve healthier condiments and dressings and offer them on the side.
• Make the majority of the meat options poultry, fish, shellfish, or lean (unprocessed) meat. • Eliminate fried foods.
• Provide a vegetarian option.
• Cut desserts in half or serve small portions.
• Eliminate candy in the meeting space.

Superior Healthy Meeting
Includes all Standard Healthy Meeting recommendations, plus:
• Eliminate fried foods. Offer foods grilled, baked, poached, roasted, braised, or broiled.
• All grains must be whole grain-rich.
• Serve ONLY poultry, fish, shellfish, or on occasion lean (unprocessed) meat options; NO processed and red meats.

Physical Activity
Standard Healthy Meeting
• Allow room for standing and stretching within meeting space. Add exercise balls in place of some chairs, raised tables for standing.
• Periodically break up sitting time.
• For conferences or all-day meetings, incorporate physical activity before, during, and after the meeting.

Superior Healthy Meeting
Includes all Standard Healthy Meeting recommendations, plus the following:
• Choose meeting or conference destination with walkable locations, venues and attractions. Provide walking, or biking running maps.
• Contract with hotels that have a fitness facility available at no cost to attendees. If the hotel does not have a fitness facility, contract with a local exercise facility.
• Provide exercise stations in the hall or within the meeting room.
• Implement walking meetings when possible.

Healthy meetings, conferences, and events help create an environment that supports employees, thus reducing stress, which in turn boosts creativity and productivity.

When your looking for natural ways to incorporate health and well-being into your next group program, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this coastal paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources that ease the planning process.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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