Food and Refreshments

There is scientific proof to substantiate the saying "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Starting in childhood, many people are taught the importance of eating a balanced diet made up of the major food groups. They are also often warned of the results of using or abusing drugs, alcohol, and caffeine. Even so, these early lessons are often overlooked or ignored when trainers plan their sessions.

To make sure that you and your learners operate at peak potential and that effective learning occurs, you should consider various elements related to nutrition as you prepare your sessions. Many trainers provide food and refreshments for learners in the morning, at lunchtime, and for breaks. This is a great idea as long as you provide the right foods, include an assorted variety, and provide ample beaks so that learners can take advantage of whatever you provide.

Because many people fail to eat breakfast, providing food when participants arrive can be beneficial for them and you. Studies show that the brain needs complex carbohydrates found in fruits, grains, cereals, and breads to function effectively. To assist in fulfilling this need, you might want to ensure that a variety of nonsweet as well as sweet items are offered (e.g., muffins, croissants, and bagels) along with fresh fruit. Simply offering donuts and other sweet pastries often overloads learners with simple carbohydrates (e.g., sugar) that provide a spike, then a letdown as energy levels subside. On the other hand, if you want to provide a quick stimulant and pump up sugar and performance levels for a specific activity or task, consider providing candy, cookies, brownies, or other sweet treats.

If you are providing lunch, consider carefully what you will serve. Keep the meal light and healthy and ensure that you provide proteins in the form of fish, shrimp, or chicken instead of heavier red meats. Avoid turkey because it contains a natural chemical amino acid called l-tryptophan that acts as a sedative and relaxes participants after lunch. Also, provide a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.

In mid-afternoon, you may want to replenish nutrition levels by providing complex carbohydrates, such as fruit, juices, or grains. If you supply sweets, make sure that you also provide nonsweet alternatives. Also, if you provide popcorn or other snack foods, take it easy on salts and oils.

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