JNR Spotlight: Brain Foods for Meetings

Not only should foods be wholesome and nutritious in everyday life, but when it comes to feeding the crowds at a meeting or conference they should also boost concentration and learning ability. This category of food has been labeled “Brain Food” and is used to improve mood, motivation and intellectual performance.

When learning is an important aspect of an event, maintaining steady blood sugar levels through complex carbohydrates and consumption of foods with low glycemic indexes can improve concentration and ultimately, ROI of the meeting.

“Brain Foods” improve brain function and increase alertness.  What we find though is foods that are traditionally served by caterers produce chemicals in the body that make participants unfocused and tired and should be avoided.

So what should you be serving at your next meeting to get the most out of your participants and see a higher ROI?


  • Avoid sugary foods and those made with white flour such as doughnuts, Danishes and bagels (unless it is whole grain).
  • Offer meal options that are high in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and whole grains.
  • Fresh juices, antioxidant yogurt bars, hard-boiled eggs and cereals are great options.


  • Avoid meats that produce tryptophan in the brain, such as red meats and turkey.
  • Try to stay away from highly processed foods and replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid fatty foods that require more energy to break down. Ever felt tired or had a “food coma” after a big meal? This could be due to your body using a large amount of energy to break down the fat in the foods you just consumed.
  • Offer smaller options with proteins such as chicken and fish over a bed of quinoa, brown rice or whole-grain pasta.


  • Most of the day’s learnings will have been achieved by dinner so this is a meal where participants can enjoy traditional options including red meats.
  • Smaller portions are still a good option.


The following list was compiled by The National Conference Center and released in their paper The Science of Food for Thoughts: Enhancing Meetings Through Food.

  • H2O
  • Granola
  • Nuts
  • Blueberries
  • Yogurt
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Whole Grain Breads
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Energy Bars

It is easy to see the benefit that a healthy and nutritious menu can have on participant experiences at meetings and conferences.  With hotels such as Omni Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Westin Hotels & Resorts introducing “Brain Food” options to their catering menus, the change can be easy.

If you would like to learn more about how you can increase the ROI of your meetings and conference through the introduction of “Brain Foods” please contact JNR. We would love to set up a time to talk about your organization’s needs. Give us a call at 800.343.4546, or email us at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Food is for eating and good food is to be enjoyed.” by Gloria Garcia  is licensed by CC by 2.0

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