While it’s hard to turn over a new leaf and embrace a healthier lifestyle it becomes easier to do when it feels like more of a social norm. Studies show that a growing number of conference attendees don't just enjoy healthy options at an event - they're demanding them. What does that mean? It simply means if you have attendees sitting all day and then you feed them cold cuts, chips, sugary beverages and a big piece of chocolate cake for lunch you're not talking rave reviews - you're going to get poor marks. Attendees are enjoying conferences that offer options to stay on track with healthy lifestyles and those that aren't already focused on being healthy often enjoy the nudge.
"I was struggling to make the move to a healthier lifestyle because eating junk and not exercising was faster and cheaper and allowed me to get back to work sooner," said conference attendee Penelope Green. "I recently attended a conference with a big health emphasis for attendees and it was a great push for me. Other attendees were in the spirit, so I felt some support and without the option for junk food and some people to walk with, I felt like I was brought into a healthier space. The healthy component made the conference a really positive experience."
Make the next conference you plan a healthier experience and not just with the food and beverage options. Follow these tips to really move the needle for a healthier conference and find many of your attendees applauding your vision. Below are some ways to make your event healthier for attendees and the earth. Strongly consider the good suggestions and strive for the great!
Good: Water as the default beverage with sugar-sweetened beverages for those that ask.
Great: Offer no sugar-sweetened beverages but offer water and a signature healthy drink like green iced tea.
Good: Healthier condiments and dressings and serve them on the side. Desserts cut into smaller portions. Dessert at dinner only, serve fruit to finish at lunch. no candy bowls in the meeting space. No fried foods served.
Great: Whole grains only in all breads. Offer alternative dishes to processed foods and red meat. Only fruit at dessert, even at dinner.
Good: Encourage standing and stretching within meeting space. Replace some chairs with exercise balls. Offer raised tables for those who prefer to stand. Break up sitting time. Lead some short physical activity breaks.
Great: Only choose meeting locations with walkable destinations. Choose hotel venues with a free workout facility and give attendees "points" for getting a workout in. Have exercise stations in or near the meeting space. Take a session out on the road and walk and talk, if possible. Is your venue near a river or other natural waterway? Work with a local vendor like River Town Adventures in Lansing to get conference attendees out on the river!
Good: reduce waste and packaging. Have recycling bins readily available. Do handouts on flash drives or online only.
Great: Have a zero-waste meeting. Only use locally sourced and sustainably produced food and SWAG giveaways.
Good: Smoke-free meeting facilities only.
Great: Entire venue is tobacco-free. Choose a city that has comprehensive smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars.
For more information about green meetings and suggestions for healthy options at conferences visit lansing.org, or contact one of our dedicated sales managers today!