How to Survive Business Lunches Nutritionally

I have a very good friend who is beyond amazing at networking and fundraising. It’s what she does for a living. Part of this requires her to attend 3 to 4 breakfasts or lunches per week. This week, she posed an important question to me. Is it possible to eat nutritiously or even eat clean at workplace meetings? Especially considering that not eating could offend the host? I really was unsure. So I had her write down the menus for the last 3 luncheons and 3 breakfasts that she had attended. Here are the menus:

Breakfasts:

1. Cream cheese blintz with fruit topping, water, fruit, (buffet: muffins, danish, fruit, sausage, bacon, ham, french toast made with texas toast, hash browns, scrambled eggs that possibly had cream or butter in the them, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice)

2. Baked Crossiant french toast with buttermilk syrup, bacon, fruit- all plated with orange juice to drink

3. Buffet: Fruit buffet, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew; pancakes and scrambled eggs, orange juice, apple juice, milk, hot chocolate

Lunches:

1. Chicken, cheesy potato casserole, green beans, salad with dressing and feta cheese, rolls with butter, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

2. Pork Salad with dressing on the side

3. Chicken fajitas: tortilla, with chicken and vegetables; rice and refried beans; flan

My answer is probably no to the clean eating since she isn’t preparing the food herself. I do believe some of the food can be nutritionally beneficial, so I suggested following these 4 tips:

1. Be extremely selective, examining each dish before you partake. Can you identify the ingredients? If no, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

2. Load up on the whole foods that are available. If there is a fresh green salad served, omit the dressing and eat the vegetables. If there is a fruit medley served, definitely eat that.

3. Now, I may get people that don’t agree with me on this. If you are concerned about offending the host and something is served that you know is a definite no, cut it up, separate it, but don’t eat it.

4. Look for the grilled foods and steer clear of any empty-calorie breads or desserts.

I would also venture to say that if your coworkers and associates know that you like to eat a clean diet, they won’t be offended or pressure you to eat things that may go against your particular diet. Many people advocate “watching what you eat” and aren’t offended by others who have a certain way of eating. Let it be known that you only eat whole foods. Casually mention it to those you work with. Who knows, it may inspire someone else to do the same!

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