Tracey Chappell, the National Sales Manager at Venuelior, talks to H&E North about ‘brain food’ and making healthy corporate catering choices.
As the caterer of choice for around 4.4 million guests every day, at Venuelior we get to observe food trends up close. ‘Brain food’ is a popular request from event organisers, based on a growing body of scientific research that suggests mood, motivation and intellectual performance are all impacted by nutrition. This has a clear implication for the events industry, suggesting that catering can play a significant role in the success and productivity of meetings or events.
Venuelior, the event management company, benefits from the expertise of nearly 500 nutritionists who not only work on creating recipes but also on an operations level across the Elior portfolio. With that in mind, here are our five top tips for serving your delegates better brain food…
Balance your menu
Eating ‘high-energy’ sugary foods raises blood-glucose levels quickly, which is then followed by a huge drop. This can end up making your delegates lose concentration in a post-lunch slump.
Our ethos is that food can have a significant impact on a meeting’s productivity and results, so we serve up a carefully curated menu of lean meats and seafood, fresh salads, vegetables, whole grains and good fats to keep delegates energised for longer. Innovation is key to encouraging clients to enjoy healthy choices so we continuously try to surprise delegates and refresh their interest in their diet, reflecting the best food on the high street while optimising nutritional value and promoting the benefits of healthy eating.
Little and often
Instead of letting your glucose levels bottom out before lunch time, you might find you perform better by grazing throughout the day. Smaller, more frequent meals maintain your glucose level consistency. Long meetings require frequent breaks for attendees to remain fresh and productive and allow everyone to refuel. We always ensure a regular healthy food fix is available for on-the-go breaks.
Be careful not to overload your plate because digestion takes a lot of physical resource. Digesting a lot of food can leave less blood for the rest of the body and can cause some people to feel a bit light-headed or tired. Add a lighter lunch option to your meeting menu to keep event-goers on the ball all day long.
Just as important as the food you serve, is proper hydration. Drinking is critical to staying full of energy and keeping concentration levels high throughout the day. According to Natural Health News, the brain is made up of 85% water, so when you’re not properly hydrated the effects can be felt with symptoms such as headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory.
Reach for the rainbow
Fruit and vegetable consumption is said to boost mental productivity, mood, and overall well-being. We offer a variety of local, in-season fruits and vegetables to help delegates stay more alert, remain energised and perform better throughout the day. Any foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help with blood flow to the brain, which will supply the brain cells with more oxygen. These are also anti-inflammatory, so they help the brain function optimally.
Choose better brain food
Reach for nutritional powerhouses: any foods high in omega-3, such as oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts. These are great for improving concentration and motivation as they improve cognitive function, which means they help with the brain’s ability to think and process.
Here at Venuelior, we are committed to sourcing food regionally and locally wherever possible and we give preference to fresh ingredients in season. Both measures enable us to make the most of British food and also minimise the energy used in its production, transport and refrigeration.
Moderate amounts of caffeine are also good for concentration and motivation. Green tea and dark chocolate are the best sources, as these contain specific antioxidants called polyphenols, which improve brain function and decrease cell death.