Like many people at the start of a New Year, I was committed to keeping my health in focus for 2018. After an indulgent holiday season, I decided to do a round of Whole30. The Whole30 Program is a diet that eliminates processed foods, sugars, alcohol, and other known triggers of inflammation. There were a few components of the program I liked, specifically that you're not allowed to weigh yourself, and instead just focus on how your body feels once you’ve eliminated inflammatory foods.
Was it easy? Absolutely not! It involved an entire lifestyle change. My traditional happy-hour social time had to be adjusted. I had to plan my meals in advance, instead of letting my hungry stomach make decisions for me. What made it even harder was following the program while having to be on-site at events.
Working as a Client Solutions Manager at Evia, I'm not typically on-site, but part of my onboarding training involved working a client’s event. The purpose of the training was to gain first-hand knowledge of our services so I can speak to the value of what we do. This meant 10-hour days running around the Washington State Convention Center, performing the tasks of an In-Room Technician. And man, do they do a lot of work! I'm sure anyone reading this with event experience is nodding in agreement. My training was slightly complicated by the fact I committed to Whole30 during this two-week event.
As event professionals know trying to eat a restrictive diet while on-site at an event is tough. I was able to do it by following three crucial steps:
Prep in advance!
Communicate with your team
Make the food provided by the in-house caterer work for you
STEP 1: PREP IN ADVANCE
I went to my local market and stocked up on easy-to-transport, non-perishable, utensil-free treats. Some of my favorites:
Cashews (be sure to check the ingredients- it was hard to find Cashews that were not drenched in Peanut Oil!)
Almond Butter Packets + Bananas
·Prunes (yes, I'm an old lady- but I love them!)
It does require a little pre-planning, but taking an hour or so to prep my snacks for the week is what kept me on track and stopped me from slipping when I was on site.
STEP 2: COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM
I would have failed if I didn't have the encouragement and support of the people around me. I made sure my Venue Lead and Project Manager knew I was doing Whole30 in advance and was pleased to find that they were more than helpful accommodating me, specifically not stocking the room with donuts and candy! I was lucky that my team ended up buying a fresh fruit platter each morning and leaving it in the room for me (or anyone else!) to munch on during breaks.
STEP 3: MAKE THE FOOD PREPARED BY THE IN-HOUSE CATERER WORK FOR YOU
I want to give a huge shout-out to the Washington State Convention Center in-house caterer, Aramark, who made Whole30 on-site a lot easier. Aramark did an excellent job of offering freshly hardboiled eggs and bacon each morning, as well as a salad bar each afternoon. Plus, the kitchen offered several meals that were lactose-free and grain-free, which opened up a lot of eating options for me. I was thankful they were so accommodating! I was able to stay full and happy at each meal and stay healthy.
Eating healthy while at an event isn’t easy, but I hope some of these tips can help. I’d love to hear about your challenges and advice. Please join the conversation by commenting on this article.
Want to make your next event more inclusive? Let's chat! Send me a message firstname.lastname@example.org