NU-TRAIN'S SURVIVAL SERIES: Help! I’m Trapped in a Meeting, Eating All Day: Tips and strategies for surviving a working breakfast, lunch and dinner…

First, some pointers to keep in mind before you enter the Board Room
  • The most important thing to remember during meeting-marathons is that you need to be able to focus on the task at hand-- work. Food should benefit your ability to think clearly and function efficiently; it should not serve as a distraction or a detriment.
  • “Eating to work” means that you are making choices that will best maintain your hunger levels and stress levels. You’ll notice that your overall mood will improve if your body is working efficiently. Eventually you’ll realize that by removing the stress associated with bad food choices your work day becomes a bit easier to manage.
  • Do not let yourself get too hungry throughout the work day, this only leads to bad decisions, insatiability and an inability to focus. It is okay to have a snack if you need one, even one in the morning and afternoon. Tackling a conference table full of cookies and pastries is a lot easier if you are not famished
  • “Sneaking” a Pria® Bar between meetings may just get you through. So, if possible, keep a “survivor pack” (see below) full of healthful “go-to’s” for those times when you are in a pinch.
  • Do not let yourself get too full at any meal. Your body will have to work overtime to digest and stay attentive at the same. Remember, you’ll eat again soon, you do not need to “load up for the day” at breakfast.
  • When in a meeting over lunch or dinner, remember to eat slowly; the meal is not a race. The “business” part of the meeting will probably last over an hour, so should the food.
  • Sometimes it is important not to draw attention to your diet and your food choices. It can serve as a distraction to you and those who are compelled to stare at your plate. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to be subtle and healthful at the same time.
  • Often times the only way to handle the all-day-buffet- type conference is to focus on your daily caloric intake as opposed to balancing carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This approach is necessary when there is only one food option provided at a meal and it’s simply time for lunch -- you just have to work with what’s on your plate.
The Endless “Meet & Eat”: Best Bets for the Worst Days THE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST Top Items to Avoid: Muffins, scones, pastries and cinnamon buns all together (in other words, do not try to pick the nuts or fruit out of the muffin; you’ll finish half of it before you know it) Best Bets: Fruit – and if you some with you, pair it with any cheese from your “survivor pack”. Half of a bagel- preferably whole wheat if available, seeded if not. If you’ve got your laughing cow light in your “survivor pack” spread it over the bagel, with a little bit of jam. Use a little cream cheese if there is nothing else available. Cereal- If you are lucky oatmeal, or whole grain, high fiber cereal may be available. Milk- If skim or 1% milk is available, give it a shot. It is one of you the best options you could choose. Hot tea with milk ORDER-IN PIZZA LUNCH Avoid: eating “just the cheese” or just the meat” or having more than one slice of any kind Best Bet: Simply have one piece of pizza, the whole piece, and choose vegetable slice if it’s available. Load up on salad, but keep the dressing on the side. THE TYPICAL SANDWICH AND SALAD CONFERENCE TABLE Top Items to Avoid: Pasta salad, any creamy looking salad/sandwich including tuna and chicken, chips, anything drenched in dressing, grilled vegetables soaked in oil, cookies and other obviously bad dessert items. Best Bets: Sandwich- Choose any lean meat and cheese, preferably on whole wheat bread, eat it with a knife and fork, and skip one slice of bread (preferably the side with mayo on it). Green Salad- If it’s available, fill half of your plate with the salad, and take only half of the sandwich mentioned above Fruit and decaf coffee for dessert THE MID-DAY SNACK TRAY Avoid: Just about every baked good. Although you think you NEED a cookie to get through the end of the meeting, you don’t. Best Bet: Most likely there is no good choice on that tray, now is the time to reach into the “survivor pack” THE ENDLESS MEAL AT THE STEAKHOUSE A few tips:
  • Because you will probably be able to order yourself, this meal may not be as difficult as other “Meeting & Eating” situations.
  • Follow the same rules below for lunch and dinner, except skip wine all together at lunch, no one will think it is strange.
  • Another lunch rule of thumb, try ordering fish for lunch instead of an entrée salad modified a million different ways. Simply saying, “I’ll have the grilled salmon with only vegetables” is much easier than “I’ll have the cobb salad, dressing on the side, no blue cheese, no bacon and extra chicken…..”
  • If having “real” dessert is an absolute must, really try to savor three slow bites and then move it away from your direct line of vision.
Avoid: The bread basket; anything fried or breaded (including calamari); more than one glass of wine; creamy sides; rich meats including duck, ribs, game meat and sausages; and pastas. Best Bets: Appetizer: Grilled, chilled or raw seafood leafy green salads (not the iceberg wedge with blue cheese), gazpacho, prosciutto. Entrée: Grilled fish (avoid cream-based sauces), roasted or grilled chicken, filet mignon. Sides: any steamed or lightly sautéed vegetable, half of a baked potato Dessert: By the end of this day, consider what you’ve already had, hopefully you’ll find that all you need is a cup a tea or decaf cappuccino and a good night’s sleep. THE “SURVIVOR PACK “(your ammunition pack of small, not-too-crunchy, sort-of- innocuous, no-refrigeration-necessary items) Kraft 2% string cheese Laughing Cow light Bon Bell light Pria Bar Balance Bar Kashi GoLean Crunchy Bar Orange or apple 2 oz. VitaMuffins FiberRich crackers Bag of 15 almonds Remember: a little nutrition prep work along with your “real” prep work will make the marathon day much easier to manage.



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