Archive for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reader seeks healthy food ideas for meetings

June 17, 2009


Q: Do you have any guidelines on healthy options for food at meetings?

A: Here are several suggestions that I have adapted from various resources, including the “Healthy Meetings Handbook” from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Office of Health Promotion.


• Fresh fruit

• Yogurt, low- or nonfat

• Whole-grain cereals or oatmeal offered with skim milk, dried fruit and nuts

• Low-fat breakfast burrito using small, whole-grain tortillas

• Hard-cooked or scrambled eggs

• Whole-grain mini-bagels (or cut regular whole-grain bagels into small pieces)

• Whole-grain small pancakes or waffles served with fruit sauces

• Small muffins (2 to 2 1/2 inches or smaller), bran, oatmeal or whole grain

• Fruit quick breads (i.e., banana, pumpkin), cut into small pieces

• Whole-grain toast or English muffins

• Offer low-fat cheese, low-fat cream cheese, peanut butter, jam or jelly

• Low-fat granola bars (5 grams of fat or less per bar)

• Low-fat granola


• Fresh fruit

• Raw vegetables with nonfat or low-fat dips, salsa or hummus

• Baked tortilla chips with salsa

• Pretzels, hot pretzels cut in pieces or baked chips (7 grams of fat or less per ounce)

• Low-fat cheese, string cheese

• Plain or roasted nuts

• “Light” popcorn (lightly salted)

• Low-fat granola bars (5 grams of fat or less per bar)

• Whole-grain crackers

• Dried fruit or trail mix


• Avoid fried foods

• Salad with dark greens and low-fat or fat-free dressing on the side

• Soups: vegetarian broth-based or skim milk-based (not cream)

• Pasta salad with low-fat dressing

• Sandwiches made with whole-grain breads or wraps made with lean meats, low-fat cheese and low-fat condiments

• Two- to 3-ounce servings of lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu (3 grams or less fat per ounce)

• Steamed vegetables with herbs/lemon

• Whole-grain rolls

• Dishes using whole-grain couscous, quinoa, brown rice, pearled barley or bulgur

• Fresh fruit, frozen fruit (thawed) or canned fruit in fruit juice or light syrup

• Include at least two vegetables: fresh or cooked (avoid cream sauces)

• Baked potatoes with low-fat toppings (i.e., low-fat sour cream, low-fat plain yogurt or salsa)

• Whole-grain pasta dishes with low-fat cheese served with tomato or other vegetable-based sauces

• Thin-crust pizza with low-fat cheese and vegetable toppings

• Boxed lunches/dinners: Whole-grain bread, pita or wraps prepared with low-fat mayonnaise, dark greens, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup; low-fat meats, poultry or marinated tofu (3 grams or less fat per ounce); low-fat cheese (3 grams or less fat per ounce); request fruit or veggies instead of chips or, if including chips, request baked chips or pretzels (7 grams or less fat per ounce)

• When serving desserts, offer small serving sizes. Consider angel food cake topped with fresh fruit, low-fat ice cream, low-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet.


• Ice water with sliced lemons, oranges and/or limes

• Bottled water: plain or sparkling with no added sugar or sugar substitute

• 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice (4-ounce portions)

• Skim or 1 percent milk

• Coffee and flavored coffees, regular and decaffeinated

• Tea, regular and herb teas, hot and cold

• Coffee/tea creamer of skim milk, 1 percent milk or fat-free half & half.

— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.


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