Cut The Carbs, Save Your Conference

Dear Event Planners,

For that morning meeting, the lunch in the middle of the training, or the dinner buffet for the evening networking event, please stop the madness. This "all carbs, all the time" approach must stop.

Eating healthy and taking care of ourselves is a lead story daily. HR departments offer information and incentives to employees for losing weight and taking up exercise.

Then, you blow all efforts by offering bagels and pastries for breakfast, sandwiches with mayonnaise and pasta salad for lunch, and pasta with cream sauce and potatoes for dinner. Let’s not forget the cream salad dressing, sugary desserts, and the ever-present bread basket with butter.

Again, let me repeat—your food offerings suck. There. I’ve said it. I’ve taken the bullet for speakers, panelists, participants, attendees, trainees and trainers everywhere.  

Just stop it.

I spoke to a great group of people at a local networking event last night. The buffet consisted of pasta with a heavy cream sauce, two kinds of pizza, a basket of garlic bread, and corn with potatoes. Really? I was starving. So, I ate the meat off the top of the pizza and picked some corn out of the potatoes.

PLEASE offer low-fat, high-protein items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only will the world thank you at these events but you will also have a more focused, alert audience. For every carb and sugar gram you put into these people, the more you lose them. Isn’t the whole point to get your message across to your audience? How can you do that when the entire audience is either starving or taking a carb- and sugar-induced nap?

Grilled chicken, a scrambled egg burrito (corn tortilla, no potatoes), steamed vegetables, a vegetable platter, light yogurt, fresh fruit—these items may cost a little more for your event, but your audience will walk away with your message intact instead of leaving in a coma with no idea what they just heard.

You're welcome,


Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur, author and skinny speaker who creates rock stars with her Rock Star Principles of Success.  Follow her on Twitter @daynasteele.

[Image: Flickr user HatM]

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  • djbressler

    Hey Dayna!

    Thank you for saying this. I'm known as being pretty opinionated, which causes my feedback to often be overlooked ("Oh, what, David has an opinion again? Shocker").

    I started eating healthy a few years ago, and the benefits were DRAMATIC. (

    I can't go back.

    I also really like your point about HR trying to work on our health, but then marketing feeds us to kills us!

    I'm certain it's a cost thing (have you ever tried to steam veggies for 500?). The thing that I wonder about most though...

    As the younger generation enters the work-force, I wonder what's going to happen? This is the group of children whose parents have conditioned them to be like "You're milk isn't from cows who were allowed to walk around the lake in the moonlight? I can't have that kind of milk." They're used to having their micro-requirements catered too very specifically, and I wonder how that's going to play out with mass-food conference situations.

    As for me, I just suck it up, and buy my own food. Though, when you're trapped at a "resort" it's still pretty limited. I was definitely under-energized, but feel better now that I'm home.

    I didn't have a single pastry at this week's show, so that was a win.

    Nice to meet you. Great job!


  • Kara Kehe

    As demonstrated time after time, the mind-body connection can be enhanced with sound nutritional choices. More ideas for power foods at meetings are summarized on a fact sheet at, thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

  • Guy Parker

    Absolutely! A lot of us are forced to either pick at the food they offer or go hungry. I've found myself drinking A LOT of water just to fill the void. This advice is also great advice for everyone at work in the office. Once we hit the magic age of 40 we need to cut the carbs overall. Cut the soft drinks when they're toddlers ;·]