Is healthy still healthy? From smoothies to vegan lunches for your meetings<br />

Events only seem to have two sides when it comes to catering. Very healthy or very unhealthy. But the truth lies somewhere in between. We inform you on the most important trends and recommendations for fit, motivated participants with nutrition expert Rosemarie Haider.

I'm sure you've heard this before: After a lunch break, participants often fall into a so-called ‘food coma’. What a challenge for the next speakers who will be on right after! Not necessarily though, says Rosemarie Haider, a gastrophile who specialises in the ‘wisdom of food’.



As an event planner, what do I have to pay special attention to when organising catering?

Rosemarie Haider: “Catering at events is, in addition to perfect organisation, a crucial factor in ensuring that everything runs smoothly. After all, an extraordinary meal served at an event is always remembered by visitors and keeps them happy.

As an organiser, I need to consider a variety of factors:

Essentially, one has to stand out from the crowd and bring something different onto the serving trays, which go around during breaks, other than sandwiches and puff pastries. Shifting from white bread to sourdough bread and adding some appetising spreads is always an option. Homemade pastries with seasonal fruit, low in carbohydrates. Yoghurt with fruit or just fruit is a sustainable choice too and keeps the brain fit.

Lunch should be light and digestible. Tasty salads with high-quality oils, nuts and seeds as toppings, vegetable dishes in all variations, fish and just a little bit of meat can fight the afternoon slump.

For the evening meal, soups in all possible variations are recommended – once again, keep it light. There are numerous options for extraordinary catering at an event regarding healthy, light and balanced food, also in consideration of gastrosophical aspects. Bringing variety and colour to the menu – that’s the motto. This will stimulate guests’ taste buds and will be savoured by their eyes as well, and the lasting impression of a good meal is guaranteed.”


Coffee breaks: How much and what should serious conference participants drink?

“Adults should drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of liquid, or even more depending on their physique and performance.

When selecting drinks, regular water and non-carbonated juices are preferable. Be careful with sugary drinks as these unnecessarily deprive the body of energy when carbohydrates are being broken down. Unsweetened herbal teas, natural fruit juices, a little bit of coffee and water are highly recommended. One can also drink a glass of Oxymel (a herbal drink with honey) in between. This will boost metabolism and concentration.”


How do I find out whether a restaurant or caterer is truly suitable and cooks wholesome food?

“Quite simply, this lies in the appreciation of the products they use and the sustainable handling of these products. Also, the local and seasonal processing and preparation of food.”

You can find out more about “green” certified conference hotels and event locations as well as congress centres in our article BioTop – Sustainable days in the Salzburger Land.



Locally grown versus organic? How important is this? How to decide in case of doubt?

“Locally grown is not the same as organic. But organic is certainly an important aspect for serious conference participants. Organic is preferable, depending on availability. If I know where my food comes from, if I have a connection to it and can trust the producers, local food is a win for any dish.”

Salzburg top tip: The province of Salzburg is a pioneer when it comes to organic products. No other place has such a high density of organic farming as here. This puts us at the forefront of all the regions of the European Union.


Should participants prepare the food themselves – for the sake of team building?

“Refining good, high-quality food is a delightful idea. Additionally, providing background information for the guest in the form of food stories is something I always find interesting and enriching.

Using healthy fats and oils is a must, and I naturally consider butter to be one of these. Engaging guests in a healthy diet goes beyond taste and enjoyment. All good foods are delicious and it is up to the creativity of the kitchen to refine food so that it is both ‘healthy’ and tasty.”


Can you actually ‘eat yourself smart’?

“Our brain thinks biochemically and consumes 20% of the total energy we metabolise from the food we eat. For proper concentration and task execution, our brains need food.

A wholesome breakfast, e.g., in the form of oatmeal, fruit and yoghurt, is particularly important to be able to start into a day full of meetings being highly focused and efficient.

Real ‘brainfoods’ exist to maintain a high level of concentration during the day.

Power food for conferences

A stable blood sugar level promotes concentration. Dextrose is not actually suitable, as it only raises blood sugar levels in the short term and is not an ideal long-term brain stimulant. But the most important element of all is water.”

About Rosemarie Haider:

Nutrition expert Rosemarie Haider grew up on an organic farm. From the very beginning of her childhood, access to high-quality food was therefore guaranteed. The gastrophile sees herself as an ambassador of a healthy and above all enjoyable diet, holds lectures and workshops and also offers cooking courses in the Gastrosophische Praxis.

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