So you’re in charge of planning a business meeting, and you want it all to run perfectly. You have the agenda down pat, the location is set, and all that’s left is to decide what snacks to offer.
This used to be an easy part of the planning process, but today, we want each person to feel included.
Gluten-free? Vegetarian? Vegan? Everyone should have something they can eat. However, including every dietary restriction without breaking the budget isn’t always simple.
Or is it? When you add these snacks to the meeting table, you’ll find that most of your attendees will be satisfied. And your hosting abilities will be raved about after everyone leaves, too!
1. Fresh Fruit
This one hits all the checkmarks. Fresh fruit is tasty, gluten-free, and vegan. It’s healthy and energizing, too. Unlike the sugar from junk food, your guests won’t have their “crash” while your meeting is still going.
The key is to include an assortment of fruit options. Apples, bananas, sliced watermelon, and grapes are universally popular and not overly expensive. Or, you can aim for making an impression by offering unusual superfruits, such as kiwi or pomegranate.
How will you be serving the fruit? If it’s a “snack-as-you-go” setup, and you don’t plan on offering plates, stick with grapes or cut-up cantaloupe, honeydew, and seedless watermelon. That way, clean-up isn’t an issue.
A simple make-your-own type of snack is a parfait. Pour a tub of plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt into a bowl, then add an assortment of toppings for everyone to choose from.
Granola, sliced fruit, shaved almonds, and chopped walnuts should get you started. For an extra impressive parfait bar, include a shaker of cinnamon and powdered sugar, as well as a jar of honey and maple syrup.
The perfect parfait for each person is waiting to be made!
3. A Charcuterie Board
The newest trend in fine dining and fancy meals is a charcuterie board. But it’s so easy, anyone can put one together.
Start with a non-porous board to serve your snacks on, like bamboo, teak, or marble. It doesn’t have to have any dividers; the foods you’ll put on there will keep everything in place or be served in bowls.
Putting Your Board Together
So what goes on the charcuterie board? Anything you want to serve!
Cheese is an excellent place to start. Who doesn’t love a tasty slice or cube? If you’re concerned about the vegans in your group, include vegan cheddar or gouda as options. Keep anything vegan or gluten-free away from its counterpart, so it doesn’t touch.
In addition to the cheese, consider adding these items to your tray, depending on your guests’ tastes:
- Sliced sandwich meats, pepperoni, and sausage
- Fresh veggies on skewers
- An assortment of jams
- Cut fruit
Whatever you decide to put on your charcuterie board, make sure there’s enough for everyone. If you have a lot of guests attending, you may need more than one tray.
Instead of making two or more of the same boards, you could make one for the average eater and another that’s strictly vegan/gluten-free/etc.
4. Low-Fat Snacking
A junk food buffet full of the most delectable sweets is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, but the side effects aren’t helpful. The carb and sugar crash after a cake and doughnut overload will keep everyone from being at their best during your meeting.
Aim for low-fat snacking options that increase energy and focus without the after-effects. Set out bowls or make individual snack bags that include some or all of these healthy, popular items:
- Plain popcorn (you can always offer toppings like butter, salt, and white cheddar on the side)
- Granola or fiber bars
- Low-fat, unsalted pretzels
- Baby carrots and celery slices with dipping options like hummus and fat-free ranch
- Part-skim cheese sticks (vegan, if necessary)
- A few small dark chocolate sweets
With a variety of healthy snack fare, there should be something to please everyone’s palate.
How you serve an assortment is up to you. You can use a salad-bar type of setup, make individual grab packs, or put everything on the table in separate dishes. However, don’t forget to plan for hygiene and stay as germ-free as possible.
The hardest part of planning a business meeting shouldn’t be the menu, but it can be. If you’re trying to make sure everyone is included, no matter their dietary restrictions, it can really increase your stress, not to mention the budget.
By sticking to simple, healthy snacking fare, you’re sure to cover all the bases. These four nutritious and delicious ideas will make you the consummate host and leave your attendees satisfied.
With the food taken care of, you can focus on pulling off an incredible meeting and a me experience.