Little else derails a productive meeting like growling stomachs. Smart snack and meal planning is one of the main effective facilitation skills required for executing all-day meetings.

In charge of planning a long-running meeting? Here are some DO’s and DONT’s on food planning.

Do avoid foods that commonly cause allergic reactions.

Peanuts, shell fish, peppers and onions should be marked off the list up front. There’s no reason to risk an attendee’s allergic reaction by having these foods on hand.

Don’t offer high fat, low energy foods.

Pizza and barbecue are easy go-to foods, but will end up causing the meeting members to long for a nap instead of thinking up the next totally brilliant idea. Avoid high fat foods that make people overeat. Grilled chicken skewers, turkey wraps and vegetable soup are great high energy options.

Do choose foods that are low maintenance.

Messy foods like chili and burgers take attendees’ attention off the meeting and onto the food they are trying to get to their mouths. Choose easy to manage foods, and the best are bite size choices.

Don’t choose crunchy foods.

Striving to stay focused while “Pete from Accounting” chomps on carrot sticks is a lost cause. “Quiet” foods such as grapes, muffins, cheese, hummus and pita squares are great alternatives.

Do put a priority on hydration.

Coffee is a staple at most company meetings, with good reason. It’s essential to also offer water in bottles or pitchers, as staying hydrated is one of the best ways to stay alert and productive.

Don’t forget the side stuff.

Utensils, napkins, salt, pepper and condiments are must-haves at most meal times. Make certain to provide ample amounts of these items to all attendees.

Planning and executing a productive meeting takes effective facilitation skills on many levels. By giving thoughtful consideration to the food options, the menu prepares the participants to bring their freshest ideas and most alert minds.

Want to know more ways to combat the challenges of managing productive meetings? Contact us today for a consultation.

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