To Your Health

The connections between food, physical activity, good health, and employee productivity are indisputable. For this reason, meeting planners are increasingly "thinking wellness” and eschewing long, sedentary meetings spent snacking on high-fat and sugar-laden junk foods.  

Planners may think that hosting a health-conscious meeting could be time-consuming and expensive, but this is not necessarily the case. Because of more innovative culinary practices, as well as many corporate wellness and spa programs available at hotels and resorts, planning a healthy event can be a fairly simple and ultimately cost-effective process.

Interaction Is Key to Productivity
Meeting breaks are essential — and can actually help people maintain focus. Fun, interactive meeting breaks take the monotony out of a day of meetings, giving attendees a much-needed boost. 

Because groups are increasingly focused on hands-on, interactive experiences, a great alternative for a meeting break is a value-priced spa workshop. While planners realize the value of incorporating health and wellness into meetings and retreats, full-service resort spa services can be cost prohibitive. For health-minded yet cost-conscious events, energizing options like skincare sessions or group Pilates classes can offer an inexpensive and engaging alternative to full spa treatments. 

At The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, a hands-on organic skin care workshop is offered to meeting groups. An instructor educates the group with tips for healthy skin and explains the differences between organic and chemical skincare, demonstrating healthy skin care ingredients and techniques. Together, the group makes its own scrubs and masks. This is a simple and informative workshop that takes about an hour and can easily be conducted in the same room as a meeting. 

Quick Pick-Me Ups
Active breaks or quick pick-me ups, such as brief power hikes, a mini fitness session, or an abbreviated meditation session, provide a refreshing alternative to the traditional afternoon snack break.  

As an example, offer short stretching activities, mini yoga classes, quick spa treatments, chair massages, or hand/chair reflexology treatments to give guests a much-needed break and a taste of the on-site spa. These fairly simple services can be offered at a registration desk, during coffee breaks, at breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as at casual cocktail receptions.

For both health and productivity — especially during all-day meetings — people need to get up and move in order to rejuvenate themselves and to relieve stress.

Eat Right
Gone are the days when meeting goers fill up on energy-zapping, high-fat, and sugary foods like doughnuts and pastries. Meetings can be much more productive when attendees are alert, motivated, and engaged, which means eating healthy nutritional fare.

Meeting planners realize this, and are increasingly becoming more discerning about event menus, often requiring locally sourced, nutritious meals versus packaged food that is filled with empty calories. Event attendees are also more health conscious and those who have improved their daily diets want to stick to a program while traveling.

Healthy snack options for meetings can be fairly simple and include vegetable trays, specialty fruit-infused beverages, fresh fruit, and mixed nuts. 

At The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, the culinary team has devised healthy meeting break options. Once, called “All About Fruit,” offers attendees fresh fruit kabobs, yogurt dip, and a fresh fruit basket, while another, called the “Make your Own Trail Mix Break,” comes with salted peanuts, roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, spiced pecans, granola, wasabi peas, mini pretzels, yogurt-covered raisins, dried cranberries, and more.

We also offer are fresh “Smoothie Breaks,” with flavors that include anything from pineapple-mint and strawberry-basil to orange-banana, as well as gluten-free and vegan menu options. 

The bottom line? Health-oriented meetings are a wise investment and a win-win for all involved. Meeting participants recognize their company is investing into their well-being, which will ultimately be reflected in a good work ethic, increased productivity, and a positive attitude. 

Sherrie Huebner is the spa director of the Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, an award-winning, 27,600-square-foot wellness facility where she oversees all spa operations, including a staff of 45 employees, a fitness facility, an indoor spa pool, a spa salon and boutique and a spa menu with more than 90 treatments, including unique water-themed therapies. With more than 15 years of spa and wellness industry experience, she previously served as the director of spa services for Natural Wellness USA, a retail, spa and movement space based in Arlington, TX; as well as the spa director for Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin and the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix.